Travel Adventure Documentary Magazine
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National Geographic Live Shows On The Road

Ralph Franklin Posted by Ralph Franklin in Features February 28th, 2013

National Geographic Live Shows On the Road

By Ralph Franklin
 
 
I received an email from Ontario filmmaker Peter Rowe, producer/director of the Angry Planet television series. Attached was a flier proclaiming: National Geographic Live!—staged at the Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Canada. The series of four programs is running from last November to April 2013.
 
Some of our readers will remember when the Society presented our travel-adventure documentary (TAD) filmmakers with their shows at the Grosvenor auditorium in DC. The series ran for many years before its discontinuance. And now, the Society had put together a new program of speakers with their films and slides—going on the road this time.
 
Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto, Canada
The NG announcement read:
Captivating stories from the front lines of adventure.
 
Take the journey with us in our second season of National Geographic Live!
 
Join us at Roy Thomson Hall for four amazing evenings with National Geographic explorers, photographers, filmmakers, and scientists.
 
(The promotional piece could have been an announcement about TAD filmmakers.) I continued to read:
 
Enjoy captivating stories from the frontlines of adventure, illustrated with award-winning images and video! All events conclude with a lively Q&A between audience and speaker, as well as an opportunity to meet the speaker in the lobby.
 
TAD filmmakers, if you are not thinking what I’m thinking you are new to the business. I am sure many of you are saying, 'That’s what I do now.' (Or, in my case, that’s what I did.)
 
Sydney Opera House, Australia
This promo could have been sent out back during the TAD filmmakers’ heydays in the 70s and 80s. It could have come from—now-retired showman Dick Walter promoting his artist/film series at the beautiful Joslyn Museum, Omaha, or Liz Saunders’ World Cavalcade, at the Seattle Opera House, or even Maggie Potter’s at the famous Wilshire Ebell Theater, Los Angeles.
 
Contacting Andrew Pudvah,  manager of Speaker Bureau Events, at National Geographic, was, to say the least, a revelation, confirming how the Society had brought their speakers/photographers/ filmmakers to center stage with Live performances. And also confirming that there are profitable ways of doing this as suggested by Burton Holmes and Dick Walter.
 
The stars of National Graphic Live! are those who do the photography, make the films, write the articles and explore the world. If attendance and ticket prices have anything to do with what is considered a performing artist, they have arrived, really arrived. They are now appearing in 20 North American cities plus Sydney, Australia, and Stockholm, Sweden.
 
UCSB Cambell Hall, Santa Barbara, California

Andrew said, “We have many, many requests to bring NG Live! to cities and we have to say No.”

The NG series has a list of requirements, which have to be met before a city is selected.

The chosen cities are major ones—with a few exceptions, including Santa Barbara, California, with a population of just under 90,000—where the venue is the 860-seat Campbell Hall at UCSB. 

I had learned a great deal about the Where and When. However, the Why and What were probably the most devastating for this old filmmaker.
 
The cost of bringing a series of four NG shows to my hometown of Santa Clarita, California—if even only a single filmmaker—was hard to believe. Couple that with ticket prices, which young and old alike are paying— was an eye opener.
(To be continued.) 
 

 

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