TJ Careers at Travel Channel

Meet Tiffany Burnett.

She came to our attention when she sent us a video she had shot and edited herself.

We took her with us on 5Takes Pacific Rim where she continued to make content for us.

Now, she has been signed to a 1-year contract with The Travel Channel to travel the world with a video camera shooting and producing stories for the network.

This is not a bad ‘gig’ for a 24-year old whose only previous experience had been working in a PR firm. Where does the ‘democratization’ of video lead?

For Tiffany, it leads to the opportunity of a lifetime…paid.

17 responses to “TJ Careers at Travel Channel

  1. “Meet Tiffany Burnett.
    She came to our attention when she sent us a video she had shot and edited herself”.

    Michael, let me intervene on behalf of Tiffany, as expected you’ve been a little deceiving again. Her video is a typical demo reel for someone looking to be an on camera talent, not a camera operator. I’m sure it wasn’t made exclusively for the Travel Channel, it was a generic demo reel and that most likely was the only material she had. Over the years I got them by the hundreds from aspiring on camera talents.

    “Now, she has been signed to a 1-year contract with The Travel Channel to travel the world with a video camera shooting and producing stories for the network”.

    Evidently Tiffany did not shoot that piece, maybe edit it; both shooting and editing however sucks big time and that piece doesn’t do justice to her talent not to her appearance, actually for the long run it will do her more harm than good. Her strength is in front of the camera so obviously on the next 12 months working for the Travel Channel she will have a VJ with her, and putting her career in the hands of bad photography will be a stumbling block for her talent and her career. I know this is something foreign to you but among the many DP’s responsibility, bringing the best out of the talents, both in performance and look is one of the most important duty that we have to do. So I don’t cause any more controversy here, she is welcome to write me directly and I’ll explain to her why. I hate to see good talent go to waste. For many years ESPN and other networks has been sending me first timers as well as veterans who needs help because the best thing for their career is the coaching of an experienced DP.

    Tiffany has a great on camera presence and she has a bright future in front of the camera, that’s where the money and fame is, not behind the camera. She looks good, she knows how to play the camera, she moves and speaks well and she knows how to act; she has all the qualities necessary to be in front of a camera, she needs good coaching and she ain’t gonna get it from VJs that’s for sure.

    “This is not a bad ‘gig’ for a 24-year old whose only previous experience had been working in a PR firm. Where does the ‘democratization’ of video lead?”

    Well Michael….. here we go again.

    Born in Manhattan Beach, CA., Burnett grew up exposed to the theatre and arts. Her father, managed backstage production at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, and her mother was the head of technology at a local elementary school. She grew up a performer, studying ballet for 12 years while performing onstage in COD & West Coast Theatre League musicals including Annie, Gypsy, Music Man, Briggadoon, Carousel, Cinderella, Kismet, Paliaci, and Oklahoma. By age 16, she began considering professional ballet companies.

    Burnetts first attraction to film and technology developed in High School. As a self-taught web-designer, she now develops small scale websites as means for additional income. She also co-partners with a retail company, Chicblvd, and manages a devision of the business”ChicBuds”. Tiffany has also had her hand in designing her own line of Jewlery, Due Vita. She moved to Newport Beach after graduating from Cathedral City High School. She studied at the University of London and transferred to California State University, Long Beach in the Spring of 2005 pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Film.

  2. Ah Nino
    I can see you are not a regular viewer of 5takes. I am disappointed.

    Had you been following the show you would have known that Tiffany was one of our 5 TJs in season 2, 5Takes Pacific Rim.

    We conducted open applications for the five slots and held auditions across the country. All of this we shot, of course, and posted on the website as ‘webisodes’. We also posted all of ‘finalists’ candidates. Each was required to shoot and cut their own video to get into consideration.

    That, in fact, was how we found Tiffany.

    Before we sent her to spend 13 weeks travelling the pacific rim with four other discoveries, she had no prior tv experience.

    Each week whilst on the show she, (along with the other four) made and uploaded their own original video vlog – they shot and cut themselves.

    Based on those, the Travel Channel then hired her for the one year contract.

    We have just completed season four of 5Takes (Latin America). I hope you have been watching that one. Who do you think of the five there should be hired as part of the new team to travel the world? Take a look at their videos….

  3. Michael, are you replying to my post or to someone else, what you just said has nothing to do with what I said. How do you manage to do these things?

    Because you wrote:
    “She came to our attention when she sent us a video she had shot and edited herself”.
    I said that her reel wasn’t about photography was about her on camera, it was somebody else photography and real bad photography on top of that. If I want to demonstrate my photography then I show my photography, if I want to show myself then I show myself, If I want to show both then I show both; her reel was about Tiffany on camera, considering that there was no photography present on her reel then we must assume that she was hired because of her “on camera” talent. This isn’t brain surgery Michael.

    “I can see you are not a regular viewer of 5takes. I am disappointed”.
    I bet you are. Actually I was thinking with my dentist to have the shows run in his office, we figured that the pain of watching those shows will make the pains of the drills insignificant by comparison.

    But you’ll be glad to know that I didn’t just watch it, I actually recorded it, and for a very good reason. Next year I will start a series of lectures on “quality” photography in video productions, not just lighting but the entire aesthetic of creating images. Most likely it will be free or very affordable because several sponsors will pick up most of the tab. I need bad quality photography to show comparison and Michael, you are a dream, you have no idea of how much time I saved by not having to look anywhere else.

    “And by the way Nino, just because women are aggressive and pursue a variety of interests – ie, pilots license, acting, jewelery making… we don’t exclude them from shooting video as well. All fits together pretty well actually…”

    I’m glad you feel this way Michael because you are the first person in my very long career to ever mention the genders issue. Actually, if this will make you feel more at ease, I wanted my daughter to pursue a video career and follow in my footsteps considering that both of my boys smartly decided to pursue other careers. But my daughter also being a very smart kid opted for a career in teaching instead.
    But typical of you in attempting to create negative issues for no reason, like they say, those with guilt inside are the ones who speak-up first. Didn’t we just have an e-mail exchange about something similar?

  4. Dear Nino
    At first I was tempted to censor your comments above, as they are for the most part just childish insults. I let them stand however, as they pretty much speak for themselves. I have seen your own work for Travel Channel in your website. It is certainly workmanlike but I would not show it to anyone. It is rather tedious and static. This is perhaps not your fault. You do as you are instructed by the producers. Never the less, I think you should show 5Takes at your lectures and when you have them, I will be more than happy to attend to defend my work. Just let me know where and when. I will gladly cover my own expenses.

    Note to readers: After posting my retort to Nino about Tiffany, he sent me a PM commenting that my comments on his views of women were out of line. I agree. In keeping with our policy, I have, according to his wishes, deleted the comment and want to make clear that nothing derogatory was intended here.

  5. I’m sorry that this debate often seems a bit “heated,” but I guess that is usually the result of two people who believe passionately in what they do.

    I am in one of those “twilight zone” positions. My wife just returned last week from an 8 week journey throughout Latin America, a place for which she has extreme passion. During that time, she spent many hours each day as on-camera talent (apparently they are sometimes called “The Meat” in this business), and a much smaller time creating her own video blogs, which she shot, edited, etc.

    She does not appear in the camera on her video blogs, because she is shooting them. Likewise, she is not shooting when she is in front of the camera. All of this falls into the realm of the easily discovered.

    But here’s where things get weird. Mary had never really used a camera since she did the amateur “zoom and pan” stuff 10 years ago when we built our house together (I learned how from watching PBS and that’s it). She had only used Windows Movie Maker creating her 3-minute demo “reel” (a real “reel” would have included clips from all her work, of which there was none), which I showed her how to do.

    I, on the other hand, love technology of all kinds. As soon as I found out about VJ, I embraced it wholeheartedly, because it was something *I* could do with stuff I already owned, and I could do it while my wife was off being “The Meat.” I fell in love with video production, and have spent countless (really countless) hours at sites about editing, stock music, lighting (guess which site), and so forth. I even switched forever from Windows to Mac.

    I think that the “VJ Paradigm” is so in its infancy, that we can’t really give it any sort of realistic “negative” assessment yet.

    When I hear criticism of Michael’s classes as a way to “rip off” the poor sap with stars in his eyes (Nino has certainly not been the only detractor), it sounds kinda legit at first – they have nothing but hope, and after the class they have hope + training. But did they get ripped off?

    Most big towns and every major city now has “Magnet” schools for fine arts. Every high school has a football team. Do any of these students really believe that they will be the next Nick Nolte (I loved the terrible movie “The Deep,”) or Refrigerator Perry? No, but they get the training and have hope that their talent will combine with the training and that they will maybe get a shot.

    Unfortunately for them, there is no “YouTube ” for football or ballet or painting. You might wait years to be discovered and it might cost you thousands in money you could have made if you’d given up and gotten a “real job.” Even getting your BS in RTF doesn’t guarantee a job in the industry.

    But video, and especially VJ, is now giving people like me a creative outlet that is the right fit. Maybe half of the folks going to VJ school get a paying gig, maybe only a few will, but the demand is growing, so there will be time slots to fill.

    But nobody put a gun to their heads. Sure the class is sold with promises that you’ll meet Travel Channel execs, which it delivers. But when there are 19 people in the seats next to you (you find this out before you pay your money) you know that this is merely training in practical VJ matters, and some exposure to execs. This is *a* shot. In little league you get a couple of shots to be the “Star Pitcher”. When you were a bag boy or a McDonalds employee, you had a shot at being a manager. That’s just how life is. I really don’t believe that these folks are coming to the classes with stars in their eyes.

    My wife swore that she’d never be “The Meat” again, but she values her time at VJ bootcamp and her time on the show immensely.

    She and I are going to marry her passion for Latin America with my passion for VJ and do something even newer than the solo VJ – we’re going to do team VJ. We will both shoot, be on camera (some – being on camera is not terribly VJ), edit, etc. and we have hope that our product – a series about Latin American culture – will attract a buyer. We know that this is mostly dreaming, but with VJ it *IS* possible. If I had a job pulling cable all day I could certainly make a living, but could never have video be an artform. And video has become my media for expression.

    Finally, must production quality be there? You bet. My work now is on the order of a painter learning to sketch work first. But it is my favorite (so far – thanks Michael) expressive media, and I’m not giving it up. I wouldn’t watch “Lost” if the lighting was bad, the editing was terrible, etc. But the VJ world is still getting there (for most VJs), though I’ve seen other work done by the VJs on 5 Takes that is truly wonderful. Doug Bachman, a 5 Takes VJ did a short about a Filipino old man teaching another, younger, Filipino how to play a game. It was marvelous work. It had everything: Perfect sound, great editing, spectacular lighting.

    People will buy homogenized prints at K-Mart, and some will go see Jackson P. at the National Gallery. There is room for both in the world, and the market wants both.

    Off the soapbox,
    Jim

  6. Thank you

    Michael, not to show any disrespect for your shows, but I’m sure that the Travel Channel has a good explanation and I’m sure I’m going to hear one from you. Last week there were 25 of the “static” Samantha Brown episodes on the channel including many on prime time, and then on the graveyard shift of programming there it was, the 5Takes at 10pm on Saturday night and 1am Sunday morning, that’s just one hour before the Paid Programming infomercials start kicking in, probably the best slot was at 10am on Sunday. And absolutely no re-broadcasting at any other time.

    You know well how this business works. If advertisers like the show they’ll pay for spots on it and the show will run frequently and at more profitable times. If advertisers feel for whatever reason that the program has no significant number of viewers to justify their advertising investment then they’ll choose something else and the rejected show ends up in the least expensive portion of the clock. The more that a broadcaster can repeat that show on the air the better the return is on their investment (production). That’s the reality of the business of broadcasting. Programming is inventory; the better ones will get the best display.

    So Michael, don’t ask me to respect those shows, respect should start from within.

    And don’t worry, my lectures will not start until next year, I’m sure my people will find something worse before then.

  7. I realized after re-reading my comment that I used the phrase “merely training in practical VJ matters.” That is inaccurate.

    My wife Mary, did, in fact get training on practical VJ matters, however I meant to include things like the screening of the rush footage in front of everybody, and the detailed screening of the final product along with detailed critique of each.

    This sort of immediate feedback with peers and instructors, along with the methodology taught in the class is more important than the “practical VJ stuff” that I lumped it in with. I’ve not been to the class myself, but I have read the training manual and, of course, my wife went and took notes.

    I am pleased with the work she produced, especially as it allowed her to write the narrative that she thought was very important and then use images to match.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  8. “I have seen your own work for Travel Channel in your website. It is certainly workmanlike but I would not show it to anyone. It is rather tedious and static. This is perhaps not your fault. You do as you are instructed by the producers.”

    I didn’t think I had to explain this to someone who has been in the business for long time, but looks like I do. I don’t have a shooting style. Shooting styles come and go just like fashion, I couldn’t’ even begin to tell you of how many time I had to adapt my “shooting styles”. Sometime I have to change them from day to day. This week I have to shoot for 3 days a feature in HD of a retired sport personality, the producer mentioned “My Crib” style. I had to go on MTV and find the show so I knew what he was talking about it. When I asked if that was the exact style that he was looking for he told me “not exactly like that but something similar”. As a freelance DP in order to be in demand I have to be like a camelion, I have to adapt to whatever the client wants me to. On the other hand the producer also has to adapt to whatever the public wants. Neither one of us would be so stupid nor selfish to force our styles on others just because we believe that this is what they should be watching, we are the servants of the viewing public and unless we give them what they want our work would also end up on the graveyard shift of television and for the benefits of our careers we are all trying very hard to avoid that.

    Again as I said before, if I was wealthy and did not need the work I would certainly pick and choose whatever I want, but because I love to get paid well for my services I will give my clients the best that they want or need.

  9. “I’m sure that the Travel Channel has a good explanation and I’m sure I’m going to hear one from you. Last week there were 25 of the “static” Samantha Brown episodes on the channel including many on prime time, and then on the graveyard shift of programming there it was, the 5Takes at 10pm on Saturday night and 1am Sunday morning, that’s just one hour before the Paid Programming infomercials start kicking in, probably the best slot was at 10am on Sunday. And absolutely no re-broadcasting at any other time.”
    Well Michael, I guess I was wrong. You are not going to give us an explanation. But this is typical of your, when you don’t have a satisfactory answer you just go silent hoping that it’ll go away. But you know me, I have to live up to the label of “persistently annoying” that you have pinned on me.
    I do have a theory of what’s happening, and you know that in five years I haven’t been wrong yet. I’m not going to post it here because you have editing power, I will post it in the next few days on B-roll where there’s no censorship. Nothing offensive or personal attacks, just the truth.

  10. As someone who has spent roughly a hundred hours watching the Travel Channel looking for even one 5 Takes promo and trying to figure out why 5 Takes got the Saturday night “death slot,” I can tell you that 5 takes is easily the best show the network offers.

    You can accuse me of being biased, but the current season of 5 Takes keeps me from snoozing when the TC is on. 5 fresh personalities, cool locations, fun things to do.

    Sam Brown is cute, but the show is about what a wealthy person could do if a very wealthy person were traveling.

    The show about the guy eating gross food is fun as far as it goes.

    Only 5 Takes gives a traveler a look at what he might do if he went to Bogota, for example, and gives him a solid reason to go to Colombia in the first place.

    5 Takes has life and energy. As an untrained *viewer* of TV, I thought the production value was good enough so I didn’t even notice it – the show just flowed along (that is to say that the production must have been pretty good, since I got immersed into the show).

    I will go to my grave wondering why it was put in the Saturday night death slot and with not a single promo on the network. However, that has not one thing to do with the quality of the show or with the dollars of sponsors.

    I noticed that as the season went on, the kind of sponsors started changing to big names besides Sony. As one example, Tempurpedic ran an ad that must have gone for 2 minutes. Obviously the sponsors wanted to get in on this show regardless of the “death slot” issue. Nino, I love you, man, but the Travel Channel seems to have had a stroke or something, and logic and common sense got dropped here.

    I truly, honestly believe that this show would have done *extremely* well if it hadn’t been put where it was on the schedule, and if it had ever had even one promo.

    In this case, the time slot choice and the promo placement are truly divorced from reality. ABC did this exact same thing when it wanted to kill Star Trek, though the show had a huge fan base. I have no idea what Travel Channel is thinking.

    My humble opinion as someone who grew up watching way too much TV,

    Jim

  11. Jim, I would hate to se you go to your grave carrying such silly problem, so I let me explain how things work on the business side of the broadcasting business.
    Let me start by telling you that everything is wrong with that show, the concept is good and it could be a smashing success but it’s very poorly executed, there’s no leadership and no experience working on that show, any trained eye can see that after the first minute. People in show business do not look at things in the way they are but rather in the way they could have been. The missed opportunity is what gives bad rating in motion pictures as well as in television.

    I could spend an hour telling you what the problems are and another hour on how to fix it, but I would prefer to help you with your personal video rather that to give away what took me 37 years to acquire to someone who is making a ton of money producing crappy work.

    Everything goes back to what I’ve been saying to Michael for the last five years but he just doesn’t get it. WE HAVE TO SATISFY THE VIEWING PUBLIC and according to Michael that along with rating is insignificant, rating according to him is overrated, not to advertisers it isn’t. Before they put money into a program the cable company has to show viewers and apparently it’s not happening with the 5 take series. The biggest mistakes ever made in business history were made by companies who did not take into serious consideration the buying public. To avoid repeating those financial disasters companies today spend billions in research, market testing and focus groups before launching any new products. A television program is a product.

    Remember that Michael’s objective was never to produce quality shows, his original goal with his VJ thing was to fill the clock of cable networks with cheap programming, and that’s exactly what he is doing with the 5 Take series. I believe that’s the only show on that channel that is stretched to an hour, it could easily be edited down to a regular 30 minutes show without loosing anything but they need to fill time and that’s the purpose of that show.

    It was a novelty with the 5 Take Europe and that run on various times of the day but apparently it did not brought in advertisers and that’s why the graveyard shift. I have not seen or heard of the 5 Take Asia or any other 5 Take series so I don’t know exactly at what point did the channel decided that it wasn’t making money.

    Also remember that most advertisers do not pay for shows that are on the graveyard shift. There’s something called the “saturation package”. Advertisers buy a block of spots and as incentive the cable companies give away free spots on less popular times just in case there are potential buyers with insomnia. That’s what in business is referred to as a loss leader, also very important for business; companies actually intentionally create products only as giveaway to entice the marketing of more profitable inventory. I know this is not what you want to hear but this is the cruel reality of this business, or any business.

    So in reality it has nothing to do with decision made by the Travel Channel, the public decide what they would prefer to watch because that translate into money for both the channel and for advertisers.

    I will tell you on B-roll what the purpose of the 5take series is. It’s written all over the place if you know where to look for, if I say it here Michael will delete it as fast as I can post it.

    And BTW “Meat” must be closely associated to some VJ language because in nearly four decades I have never heard anyone referring to the on camera talent like that, believe or not there’s a code of respect and camaraderie among professional crews.

    “When I hear criticism of Michael’s classes as a way to “rip off” the poor sap with stars in his eyes (Nino has certainly not been the only detractor), it sounds kinda legit at first – they have nothing but hope, and after the class they have hope + training. But did they get ripped off?”

    Jim, I always look at what’s best for the public, and yes, it is a rip off when you compare of what else you can get for your money. For the same amount of money you can get two weeks of training at the Maine Photographic Workshop, http://www.theworkshops.com/ one of the oldest and most respected learning institutions in the world where you can get the best fully qualified (not self-proclaimed) instructors for any level of productions that you select and Apple or Avid factory trained and certified instructors. Those are actually official training centers. I know because even after I completed my formal education I spent many and many weeks there. It was unquestionably the most rewarding learning experience I ever had. Without even mentioning how incredible it is to spend time in enchanting Rockport Maine.

  12. The travel channel has become the broadcast youtube of vacation video.

    How many of us have been bored to tears by someone else’s poorly shot slides and vacation videos. Now there is an entire show for it.

    The the ratings.

  13. Nino
    Rarely have I ever seen such a pile of misinformed garbage. What you actually know about the ad revenues for my shows or the internal workings of the travel channel actually amounts to zero. however, you sure do love to write.
    By the way, what shows have you actually Executive Produced.. not been the hired help for? Just out of curiousity.
    And speaking of the Maine Photographic Workshops, this link should give you a laugh. It sure gives me one:
    http://www.theworkshops.com/catalog/faculty/index.asp?FacultyID=957

  14. Michael, I’m not in question here, I don’t know a thing about the Travel Channel but I know a lot about the business and marketing of television programming.

    Don’t try to turn things around, if my theory is incorrect why don’t you just tell these good people why the 5Take is in the graveyard, wouldn’t that be easier?

  15. And speaking of the Maine Photographic Workshops, this link should give you a laugh. It sure gives me one:

    Actually Michael it will be very interesting to see the difference in tuition between the Workshop and the Travel Channel Academy. We definitely have to follow up this one.

    With all those impressive credential does this means that we can actually see some of your own elusive work?

    And BTW, as an executive producer you are fully responsible if the program ends up in the graveyard.

  16. I have a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and work as a news VJ at a major-market TV station. I’ve also worked behind the scenes for a Discovery channel show. How do you become a Travle Channel VJ WITHOUT going to this academy?

  17. You should simply submit your work directly to Whats Your Trip, the TV show we produce using TV content. Happy to take a look.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s