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Thread: TV Road Trip

  1. #1

    Default TV Road Trip

    Hi,

    I'm doing some research for a TV show that will involve a trip on a Harley from NYC to LA.

    Can anyone recommend any interesting routes across America that would be Scenic or unusual or that would bring up some interesting encounters with American people.

    The show is about finding out what it is to be an american, so we are looking to meet hard working americans who lead interesting lives or are just interesting people in their own right, people who can help show what america is all about or places that epitomise America because they are weird or beautiful or historic.

    We have no time limit on ther journey so we don't need a direct route, in fact the less direct it is the better.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts

    SM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Basically, you are kind of asking the age old question of "how to find the real america" in which the answer is it doesn't matter which route you take. There is no fake america - or at least I haven't found it yet. Every road in this country has the kinds of generic things you are looking for - finding it just depends how you go about digging into it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Big projects don't fit on little screens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Marcus View Post
    I'm doing some research for a TV show that will involve a trip on a Harley from NYC to LA.
    I would have thought that a large detailed wall map of the USA, along with a good road atlas is the best way to start researching such a project. Depending on how much detail you want, it may even pay you to get individual maps of all the States you consider traversing. Such maps, and road atlas, show all the small towns, scenic routes, roadside attractions, history, and much more.

    You are able to glean a lot of information from forums such as these, but your trip will not materialise, until you lay it all out on a map, and see where it takes you. Something which for a project such as yours, is not able to be done within the confines of a computer monitor.

    You don't mention when this trip is to take place. But I have gathered much of the information I want for my trips, and the places I want to see, from documentaries, such as National Geographics programs and magazines, the history channel, etc. And even programs such as Mega Movers, Mega Structures, Mega Disasters show and mention many out of the way places and attractions you may not see on the internet or read about in the guides.

    When you have some dots on the map, and a good idea of what and where you want to do and go, the experts here will be able to help refine your route and fill in the blanks. But only you can design the trip.

    (BTW, if you want to see the fake America, stay home, read the tabloids and watch trashy TV shows.)

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Lifey had some good suggestions: a large USA map, individual state road maps, and some time for researching each area.

    It seems to me that Charles Kuralt used to do segments of his show with a similar theme. He traveled in an RV, however, rather than on a motorcycle. You'd probably get a whole different perspective on the saddle of a motorcycle, especially about America's weather patterns!


    Donna

  5. #5

    Default

    I obviously didn't explain myself fully, the route is irrelevant it's more about interesting places and people.

    as i am british and live in england, i don't know america very well (and that is the point of the show, a fish out of water), and i am looking for advice on places to go that might give me an insight into america.

    Yes i can look at a map, and i have, but that doesn't give me any insight into what is there except the tourist things, which i don't want to see. i want to know about people or places near where you all live, so that i have a more personal touch and can then experience real people and places, not places in the guide books.

    as an example, for our pitch we went to columbia,South Carolina and hung out with cops, firemen and paramedics, we met real biker gangs and a professional wrestler. I went to a shooting range and discovered that i am a crack marksman, i went to local diners and bars to hang out with ordinary people.

    i hope this has made it clearer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I think we all get what you are asking, but I think what you are failing to understand is that you can find those stories, those people, those places, in every city and town in the US. Understanding that point really is going to be the key to making your project a success.

    There's a not-so-original trick that writers have used for feature reports is to pick a name out of the phone book, and tell that persons story, because everyone has a story.

    You're basically asking us which names should you pick out of the phone book.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default 'Blue Highways'.

    Blue Highways was the colour on old maps [well at least Randy McNally's] that depicted the back roads of America and was also the title of a wonderful book by William Least Heat-Moon that coined the phrase. The book was based on a man who had seperated from his wife and lost his job and just decided to hit the road using these Blue Highways, the small towns and to avoid 'Chains' at all costs. The people and things he discovered along the way, just by talking to the Local's made for a great read. He would head for a town because he liked the name, 'Freedom' or 'Why', etc.

    If the point of the show is being a 'Fish out of water,' then perhaps this type of approach will work. Head down a back road and then decide left or right and away you go, slowly working across country stumbling across towns and folk as you go. The towns and Diners that have long since been passed by, by the Interstates, are where you will find the most interesting folk with a story or two and the time of day to tell them. It is they that will tell you where the real characters are and all about the little known local secrets. As has been said, you will find this all across America, finding something that has not been done before a little trickier. Take old route 66 for example and the characters and attractions along it, it makes a real interesting story, but most have been visited and it's all been done before, like Billy Connolly's recent Trike tour along this iconic US route. Of course research doesn't cost anything other than your time and it would be good to find a few leads on what to base your storyline.

    Good luck with the project and if you do start to get some dots on the map and have specific questions, just ask.

    Edit] The book. Blue Highways
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-17-2012 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Added link.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I think we all get what you are asking, but I think what you are failing to understand is that you can find those stories, those people, those places, in every city and town in the US. Understanding that point really is going to be the key to making your project a success.

    There's a not-so-original trick that writers have used for feature reports is to pick a name out of the phone book, and tell that persons story, because everyone has a story.

    You're basically asking us which names should you pick out of the phone book.
    i'm sorry Midwest Michael, i seem to have offended you in some way. i do apologise.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Blue Highways was the colour on old maps [well at least Randy McNally's] that depicted the back roads of America and was also the title of a wonderful book by William Least Heat-Moon that coined the phrase. The book was based on a man who had seperated from his wife and lost his job and just decided to hit the road using these Blue Highways, the small towns and to avoid 'Chains' at all costs. The people and things he discovered along the way, just by talking to the Local's made for a great read. He would head for a town because he liked the name, 'Freedom' or 'Why', etc.

    If the point of the show is being a 'Fish out of water,' then perhaps this type of approach will work. Head down a back road and then decide left or right and away you go, slowly working across country stumbling across towns and folk as you go. The towns and Diners that have long since been passed by, by the Interstates, are where you will find the most interesting folk with a story or two and the time of day to tell them. It is they that will tell you where the real characters are and all about the little known local secrets. As has been said, you will find this all across America, finding something that has not been done before a little trickier. Take old route 66 for example and the characters and attractions along it, it makes a real interesting story, but most have been visited and it's all been done before, like Billy Connolly's recent Trike tour along this iconic US route. Of course research doesn't cost anything other than your time and it would be good to find a few leads on what to base your storyline.

    Good luck with the project and if you do start to get some dots on the map and have specific questions, just ask.

    Edit] The book. Blue Highways
    thank you Dave, i will look at that book.

    i love the idea of just riding and deciding which direction to take but unfortunately for a TV show we need to plan where we are going so that crew can go ahead and prep locations.

    As for route 66, it's been done to death, so i am trying to avoid it as much as possible. At the moment i am looking at i-95 and i-10 and the surrounding areas but i am very much searching in the dark at the moment.

    Once again thank you.

  10. #10

    Default

    The USA is a place of extreme living standards – assume real America is more about people than the landscape which was mostly made by nature.

    New York City is one of the richest cities in the world yet it is reported up to 40% of the children live in poverty and deprivation with little hope of getting away from misery and destitution. On the other extreme I have seen at first hand in California where people spend lavish amounts of money just to pamper their dogs. Far in excess of what the poor kids in New York get to live on.

    So in between the extremes, if you look hard enough, you will find people in varying circumstances.

    The American Dream is a national ethos. Many will have worked very hard to improve their lot and others for various reasons will not have been so successful. The struggle of life.

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