Wednesday, 24 September 2008

#24 - Film-related travel stories

Or taking advantage of the set-jetters.

Filming locations
One excellent source of story ideas is the cinema. If a big movie is slated to come out soon, you can bet your bottom dollar that will be a market for a story on the filming locations used in it.
This is especially true if it’s been filmed somewhere exotic.

James Bond
I’ve now lost count of how many stories I’ve sold that have a tenuous link to James Bond. I once made the decision that I was going to watch all of the films, make notes of what happened in particularly interesting destinations, and then research where those destinations are.

Multiple articles
It was a real bugger of a task – at one point I never wanted to watch a Bond film again – but it paid off. I’ve sold multiple articles based on that research, and the material is timeless. Every two years or so, when a new Bond movie is released, I can re-package it and sell it on again.
It may be as the cities of James Bond, it may be as Bond’s beaches, it may be as the lairs of Bond villains. Either way, most of the work is done.

Quantum of Solace
Quantum of Solace – the latest in the Bond series - is out in November. Which reminds me – I should really start pitching the Bond material out again, especially given that I’m actually in the film*. It’s practically guaranteed that there will be a glut of Bond-related travel articles out there at the time.
I’m already doing two pieces on places featured in the new film (Panama and Siena, Italy), and I’m sure others will be doing more.

Pirates of the Caribbean
It’s not just Bond of course – most big films lead to a bit of a travel boom. There was Pirates of the Caribbean in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, and all manner of plodding costume dramas in England.
I’ve ended up trotting out travel articles on Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, The Italian Job, Star Wars, Roman Holiday, Mad Max, The Matrix and probably many more.

Internet Movie Database
But how do you find out about where these locations are and which movies are coming up? Well the Internet Movie Database is a fabulous resource, but can be scant on the details. Otherwise, tourist boards are always keen to promote anything filmed in their area. They’ll almost certainly have a list of films that have visited in the past, and ones that are due to arrive.

Apocalypse Now
Then there’s searching on the internet. Want to find out where the river from Apocalypse Now** is? Just do an internet search. The results may not be accurate, but at least they’re a starting point.


*I was in Siena while the crew were filming Il Palio, the famous horse race held in the city centre. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to pick myself out in the crowd in a wide shot. And I’m telling everyone that I’m the star until they can prove otherwise.

** It’s the Pagsanjan River in the Philippines, if you must know.

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