Diary of a Foodie Follow-Up
Monday, October 16, 2006 | posted by Mike
If you haven't had a chance to check out my review of Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, do it now and come back. If you have read it, I think you’ll be interested in a comment that we got from Rob Tate, a Producer on the show. His comment:
I'm not sure what you mean by "... amount of production that went into it." The location crew for Diary of a Foodie is only 3 people (less than Bourdain, which travels with at least 5). There were no sets, no extra lighting, no makeup... It looks good, because we shot it well. Period. I might add that the approach to Diary was to have VERY LITTLE production manipulation. Thus you have real people talking in real situations about real food. Perhaps the reason you didn't connect with all the characters is because they did NOT go through the corporate mill for being charismatic on TV. They are featured because they love food and have something interesting to say about it. The decision to have beautiful closeups and such was because we wanted to show the food in all its glory. You could do this with your instamatic if you so chose. It was not a corporate decision at all, but an artistic one. In fact, many of the decisions on the show are quite anti-corporate. They pledge allegiance to the small grower and the local/indigenous foods, and the sustainable farms and restaurants around the world. I don't want to give the impression that we don't take the comments to heart. Perhaps we need to find a way to be more transparent in our desires. I don't know. I hope you continue watching. Sincerely, Rob Tate ProducerFirst, let me start by saying that we truly appreciate Rob taking the time to share his thoughts with us.
I’m sorry that he took exception to my comments about the appearance of the show and I do want to reiterate that I did not use the term “corporate” in a pejorative sense. I actually have a tremendous amount of exposure to corporate video features and the good ones are dynamic, visually interesting and professionally and artistically shot and edited, just like Diary. The fact that the show is shot with such a small crew is a testament to their skill and to the skill of the post-production team. If I didn’t state it enough in the original review, I’ll say it again: this is a very good looking show.
They also feature authentic individuals telling their stories in a way that hired talking heads never can, just like Diary. No reader of TVFF.com would ever think that I’m in favor of “dumbing down” food programming.
For me, the problem that I had was the juxtaposition of the pace of the show with the timeless, ancient Chinese culture it depicts. Add to that interviewees with whom you are only now becoming acquainted, and it can be a bit of a challenge to keep up, especially if it is your first time with the show. Hopefully, repeated viewing will result in being able to get into the “flow” of the show a bit better.
As I said, I’m interested in how Diary addresses some of the topics listed among the future episodes. Not many shows would focus on food from a “neo-Luddite” standpoint. Those are ambitious topics and this is an ambitious show. Diary gets points for that, but I’m still not sure it’s 100% there yet. I stand by my original review, but I’ll absolutely keep watching and look forward to everything falling into line. If and when it does, Diary has a chance to be quite good.
Labels: Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie