Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This Is Not It

I'm always looking for ways to put my video camera to profitable use. (I'd like to make money from my still camera too but that's another story.) Unfortunately, in the freelance game, you also have to look out for people who dangle the possibility of a payday with the real aim of removing money from your pocket.

Learn. Shoot. Earn.

That's the headline on the page of the Travel Channel Academy. It's affiliated with the Travel Channel, which is an actual channel you can find on cable and satellite. I can't because I don't have cable or satellite but you can. "Give us 4 days of your time," the pitch reads. "And we'll give you the digital filmmaking toolkit to become a travel journalist."

Just four days. Wow! The Travel Channel Academy got a plug from WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C., where the course is offered. See it here. I originally had embedded the video here but couldn't get it to stop playing automatically.

Sounds like a sure-fire hit. How come not everybody is doing this? For one thing, it costs $2,000 for the four day course. Add $500 if you don't have your own camera and computer. And that puff piece interview glossed over the fact that relatively few of the "graduates" ever sell pieces to the Travel Channel — and that many of them bring as little as $50!

(Journalists are supposed to be skeptical. They're not supposed to be cheerleaders just repeating someone's news release. Don't get me started.)

Maybe if you're laid off or on furlough from your regular job, you have better options for that $2,500 you have lying around.

Besides, I'm already a travel journalist. Remember my video recollection of a trip over a Utah mountain in a Toyota Prius?

Or this classic from Key West:

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