Start Local

Lesson Details

Subject: Journalism

Title: Start Local


If you’re just starting, don’t just get on a plane to the first exotic location on your list. Save your hard-earned money until you really know what you are doing. In the meantime, here are the advantages of starting local and doing travel journalism of your hometown — someone else’s destination.


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Now when you get started in travel video making travel video I don't really recommend that the first thing you do was get on a plane and head for the Himalayas and hope you'll be able to sell this to someone. That will come later and hopefully we’ll have commissions that will pay you to go and if not we'll talk about how to do this as travel stringer. But certainly you can get started at home because the funny thing is that your location, your home is someone else's travel destination. No matter where you are, there’s somebody who would want to travel to where you are and not only that, there's somebody who would want to pay for it. Even if you live in Ohio not to denigrate Ohio or you live in North Dakota not to denigrate North Dakota, there are travel sites to see in both of those states. 

There are travel sites to see anywhere and you know what in places like that there are actually travel boards and travel bureaus and travel agencies and local hotels and local restaurants that will pay you to make the travel video that will drive people to those destinations. So that's a good place to start, right in your own backyard and how do you start? Begin by making travel videos to the locations that you find interesting. 

After all you have the local knowledge. You can tell people the best restaurant whether it's New York or Oklahoma City. You can go to that restaurant and make a short one or two minute video. You may be able to get charged the person that owns the restaurant about making the video but at least you can do is get a free meal out of it. But certainly you can begin to crank out travel related videos of all the interesting places within a twenty-mile radius of your own home. The trick here as always is the video has to be perfect as we know the editing has to be perfect. But more than that you have to find a story. 

Even if you live in Paris just pointing your camera at the Eiffel Tower is not really enough to make a video that will sell to anyone or in fact anyone will want to look at. On the other hand, finding that unusual offbeat restaurant that no one knows about except for you, that fantastic cheese shop, that amazing clothing store, that incredible music performance that only happens once a year. Reasons to go and places to visit no matter what the location is is the kind of travel material that will sell. But you have to make a story and all the rules of storytelling that we talked about before, Arc of Story, character, great shooting and keeping it rather short to a minute or two certainly for online are the way to go about this. So if you want to be in the travel video business you don't have to spend a lot of money to start travelling. 

All you really have to do is take out your camera and find a few things that you might say to a visitor called up and said, “Hey Bob I'm coming to your town, tell me five things you think I should see” and put them together. After that, put them online find outlets relevant places that are interested, whether it's local magazines that have websites, local chambers of commerce, local hotels that want to advertise, hotel chains that can put them on their in-house systems. There’s lots of places to look for this thing but you have to make the product and the product and the topic are generally right outside your door.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015