THE BLOG

Lights, Camera, Action - Making a Pitch to National Geographic

11/07/2013 05:02 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

I've often thought that Marathon Quest 250 would have made a great reality TV show. One man, 250 marathons, one year, attempting to raise $250,000 to help kids around the world. There would have been blood, numerous falls on trails and roads with scrapes to knees and hands; sweat, hour upon hour of pounding the pavement five marathons a week, and tears, a bad leg injury early on, would that be the end of the Quest? Would I let down the 5,000 children I had pledged to help?

Fortunately it all worked out. Marathon number 250 was completed on December 31st 2010, $320,000 was raised and over 6,000 children helped with Right To Play programs. I must admit that since then I have wondered if anyone would be interested in following the subsequent Quests. In early 2012 I met with Michael Jorgensen from Myth Merchant Films. I explained to him the concept of the 10 Quests in five year to raise $1 million for Right To Play and help 20,000 children.

Michael gave me the following equation for success, a "Great Story" equals an engaging character plus an active Quest divided by high stakes squared. Michael said that it was critical that there was a 50 / 50 chance of failure in whatever I tried. More recently I've chatted with film makers about doing a mini documentary on my footage from Kilimanjaro and my run around the South West Coast of England next summer. However so far no deals.

On Sunday November 3rd Sue and I headed up to Banff for the Banff Film and Book Festival. On the festival website I had spotted two workshops put on by National Geographic. One was on pitching stories to Nat. Geo. Television and the Channel, and the other on sharing stories on Social Media. Katy Wynn, Development and Production and Erin Krozek, Development Producer, gave an excellent overview of what Nat. Geo. TV is all about in 2013. It's a challenging market and success has been found with shows like "Brain Games" and "Life below Zero".

The second workshop focused on sharing effective techniques for telling your story digitally. Jason Orfanon is the Senior Producer and he gave a number of examples of how video can drive a story. He showed a clip of a jaguar attacking a caiman.

Nat. Geo had shown a set of photos of the attack in an earlier news story and then were approached by an individual who had videoed the attack. They added some narration and posted it. To date it's had over 35 million hits.

Katy, Erin and Jason were happy to take questions from the floor and afterwards said they would be pleased to receive an idea for a story from me. Last night I sent in my pitch to them.

Fingers crossed.

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