Saturday, December 22, 2007

TV's Loss is the web's gain

You could call Claudio Von Planta the Jedi Master of actor Ewan Mcgregor and Charly Boorman's trip across the plains of Africa to South Africa, in Long Way Down.

Claudio is one of the people in TV that makes it happen.

Talk about the project as much as you will:

  • Hey we'd like to film Iraq
  • Can we film up the Himalayas?
  • We were thinking of going to these jungles to film this rare tribe.
  • Is it humanly possible to film some guys who have this hairbrain idea to circumnavigate the world?

    And then as the suits head of home, glass of wine at the ready, extoling their latest acquisition and how it will get their names into the awards lists, Claudio goes home, methodically packs, says his bye byes and with equipment you'd likely laugh at saying: "Is that all", gets to work.

    But Claudio is tired of TV.

    To be frank we've been tired with it for a while.

    We would spend quality time trying to rationalise how it is, with the number of good stories around, commissioning editors would still be so prescriptive, absurdelly sometimes so, in what they wanted, which made you look for the nearest bar.

    Commissioner: "OK what we're looking for is the world's uggliest person who's married to one of the most beautiful people you'll ever see.

    There is merit in the above.

    I'm not a complete killjoy.

    But in the face of where we are now, this prescriptive model needs a facelift.

    But then you look at Dave, the UK cable channel and think, nope they've got it right and there's the audience.

    Dave is the success story of the year, a cable channel produced for men, showing the best of Top Gear, Survival stories and so on.

    I might add Claudio's stuff would look good in there as well.

    Old Ways

    If you ever produced UK TV current affairs in the 80s you'll remember this scenario well.

    It's the one where the programme producer writes the script for the report you should come back with, and inside his script it says somewhere, "Rats emerging from grubby dustbin, looks at lens, then scurries away".

    I'm being honest here.

    The producer would literally act the factual film.

    It's what they identified as the winning formulae.

    Truth we've moved away from that level of prescriptiveness, but not that far.

    New Ways

    Claudio's new project was accompanying a charity from England to Sierra Leone with landrovers they inteneded to give a charity.

    Despite his pedigree, there were no TV -takers.

    TV had already done emancipation and slavery in 2005, so Claudio did what most are now doing, he went of and did it himself and the results?

    Well you've seen the short above on the web.

    He tells me he had to put the confessionl elements of the story together very quickly - an hour - as sunset was around and b7 6.30 it was pitch dark.

    And for the first time Claudio also lens his narrative, authorship to the film.

    What next?

    Claudio may well pick up another TV project, but he's not chasing.

    He has a bold plan, an amazing one, which he'll let me talk about in the new year.

    But in a climate where the world's problems are our own, where one of the most powerful media in the word, Television, could be used to resolve, rather than conflict; where this amazing canvas is inordinately being used as a crayon tray ( by adults) to titilate, then you have to welcome what he has in mind.

    Here for the charity
    Here for Claudio talking how he works to David

    This is the card he sent his friends

    Dear friends,

    I have seen a lot of Africa this year and I thought I will send you a Xmas card with a purpose:

    (david says: Picture here, but have not posted out of courtesy)

    Giving a voice to people who make the world a better place

    This video sequence is part of an anti-slavery documentary which I shot in November. I hope you will find the message inspirational and forward the above link to friends.

    Merry Xmas and all the best wishes for 2007

    Claudio von Planta


    Cliff said...

    I sat down to drink my morning tea and watch this. My life challenges seem trite compared to what these children have suffered.

    Claudio is a force to reckon with in this new Solo VJ paradigm - Thanks for sharing David. Claudio is another role model in my personal goals as a Solo VJ.

    Powerful stuff, mate.

    Cliff Etzel - Solo Video Journalist

    Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...

    oh he is, he is, he is

    Happy Christmas