It’s crazy to think how time flies by, but this week marks one year since were had the incredible fortune of being followed for the day by Garvin Thomas of NBC Bay Area.
Surreal, nerve racking, inspiring – all words that would describe us that day. But Garvin and his assistant kept us at ease – they never were intrusive, yet you knew they were there. They never got in the way, yet somehow always got the shot they needed. In case you missed it, here’s the story that Garvin produced.
But Garvin didn’t just stop there. He went a step beyond. When a TV station tried to hire me away from my current gig, Garvin was more than happy to dish out advice – good advice mind you – that has served me well ever since.
The motto at my high school was “Men and Women for Others.” I must say, after meeting with and working with Garvin – he is the living epitome of that phrase. I can only hope to someday return the favor. Maybe with a mention in an Emmy speech…or how about the CreaTiVe Awards if we’re nominated?
“Lost Parks” fans – our latest episode is heading to a television near you!
Our 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition episode will be broadcast on cable channel 30 in San Jose and Campbell tonight at 8:30pm!
If you’re not in the Bay Area, or don’t have Comcast cable, you can also catch the episode here:
After filming all last summer, Indigo Films‘ “Insane Coaster Wars” debuted it’s third season last night – and I can’t help but comment on their latest “effort.”
The premise of the show, is a decent one – have people vote on specific aspects of certain rides, then rank them against other coasters around the world. Seems straightforward, right?
At issue with most coaster and park enthusiasts (who make up a large number of the viewing audience) however, is the continued downgrade in quality of the traditional summer “coaster show” over the past few years. “Insane Coaster Wars” is just the latest in a string of low budget, low quality productions from powerhouses like the Travel Channel and Discovery. Just look at some of the reactions from last night’s debut:
So what can this show do to make itself better in the eyes of it’s core audience? Read on:
1.) Stop hiring actors and talk to real “coaster enthusiasts”
SPOILER ALERT: Television isn’t what it always appears. Multiple sources have confirmed to this website that the “coaster enthusiasts” featured in each segment are actually…wait for it…local actors found on Craigslist, hired for around $300 each.
Yup, Craigslist. Home to “Casual NSA Encounters” and apparently beautiful & young roller coaster junkies. Didn’t you wonder why those featured riders always seemed to speak really good english…in the middle of Taiwan and Costa Rica?
Those “friends from college” who “visit the park all the time” – it’s usually their first trip ever to these parks. Yet, the graphic in the lower third clearly says they’re “Coaster Enthusiasts.”
Last night’s episode featured two “coaster enthusiasts” who had never been to Kennywood – and in fact, had not been to a park, “in years.” True enthusiasts don’t take years off – they rarely take months off.
What’s even more ironic – if the production company wanted to save up to $1200 per segment (and it’s obvious they do) simply stop hiring actors – just call on the local region of the American Coaster Enthusiasts – not to just fill the seats, but to TALK on camera. Not only are many of our members familiar with being interviewed – we’ll do it for FREE!
Some of the phrases that are used by these actors must also drive park managers nuts. Things like, “I felt like it was about to fly off the track,” or “I can’t believe I survived,” really make PR Managers have GREAT days. Simple rule to follow: Never mention death or dismemberment on TV when referring to amusement parks. You don’t say “bomb” at airports and on planes…
2.) Compare rides “Apples to Apples”
Outlaw Run and La Avalancha? How are those two rides even remotely similar? (They do both loop, but they’re built completely different). The best way I can describe it – it’s like comparing apples to oranges. It’s as if the people in charge took suggestions from people who actually knew what they were talking about – then threw those papers up in the air, and randomly pulled out rides.
3.) Be wary of those who make money off parks
Robb Alvey – who was once the “host” of the program – has now been relegated to a “Creative Consultant” production credit off-screen (which is a major improvement in my humble opinion). That being said, his wife was featured on the premiere show as a coaster enthusiast, along with one of their friends. I’d call them non-actors, but both he and his wife have agents.
Now, doesn’t this scream nepotism to anyone else besides me? Then again, at least us true coaster enthusiasts know she actually is quite knowledgeable about the subject. Too bad the producers edited her in a way that ensured she sounded just like any other clueless park guest.
Don’t even get me started on how his presence on the production team could directly influence his view count (and income) on his commercialized videos on YouTube…
4.) Allow park experts or bloggers to vote, not the general public
Let’s face it – most of these Craigslist actors (and indeed other park guests) don’t even know about the other rides they’re comparing, so how exactly can you compare them if you’ve never been on them…oh wait, isn’t that how the Mitch Hawker Poll runs? : )
While the show did make some minor improvements and tweaks, it’s still the same copy / paste generic “coaster show” that’s polluted the airwaves for far too long. Yes, the POV is good, but it’s everything around it that just brings the show down.
If you’re looking to support a quality roller coaster / amusement park program, consider sharing our “Great American Thrills” concept with your favorite cable channel or production company. We promise the enthusiasts we feature – will actually know what they’re talking about:
That’s right, we continue to get our cotton candy lacked, sticky little fingers all over the internet!
Come follow us on Twitter: @GreatAmThrills
Or Like us on Facebook: Great American Thrills FB
Or watch our YouTube Channel: Great American Thrills (via Kris Rowberry)
Of course, you can always keep following us here too, but why not stop there, right? ; )
Those of you who are theme park or amusement park fans know that for many years, Discovery, A&E, History and Travel Channel would produce an onslaught of roller coaster and theme park programming right at the start to the summer fun season.
As a fan of these shows for many years, I am sad to report that these shows have been in steep decline in recent years, especially considering all the upgrades to picture quality!
The worst of these examples is “Bert the Conqueror” a show based on a premise similar to “Man vs. Food.” Consider they are from the same production company (Sharp Productions) it makes logistical sense.
Sadly, while MvF can get away with some bending of facts, “Bert” deals much more with a factual information-based industry. Simply put, this show fails miserably at it.
For example, in the show’s very first episode, Bert “conquered” the Cedar Point “Fearsome Foursome Challenge.” There’s only one problem…that challenge doesn’t exist. It was a complete fabrication to “attempt” to keep the conquering motif of the show, yet show coasters in the meantime.
Too bad they didn’t expect me to stand up and say they were wrong…
To prove my point, sust watch the segment I analyzed on one of my local parks, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Imagine how many errors they’ll rack up in a whole season…(egad!)
Today is a good day – yet another step forward in the quest to see this concept go from simply blog to television show.
Ladies and gentlemen, the payments are made, and the bills processed – we officially own http://www.greatamericanthrills.net! Dare I say, this thing is looking more and more professional by the week.
Who knows, maybe some park PR personnel will actually call us back…
It should be noted, that we originally wanted the “.com” address. But at over $1600, it’s still way out of our budget.
Plus, we like .net – it has a nice feeling to it.