OAC Programs 2 Great Canadian Television
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Documentary Innovations - Outdoor Adventure Canada - Pt 2

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Program Innovations 2: Outdoor Adventure Canada
Filmmaking Behind the Scenes: Program Innovations - To try to make their television programs more interesting for the viewer, the best filmmakers are constantly trying to create new elements and approaches in storytelling so that their programs will have more appeal for television viewers. Below are some ways we have departed from the standard conventions of documentary creation, and how viewers have responded to our innovations in past programs.
Program Innovatios: Part 2

A Television Pioneer: "Outdoor Adventure Canada" - A 2008 DVD Release

6 - Carrying innovation still further, we recorded people talking to us with a moving camera while in the midst of their activities - instead of asking them to sit or stand still for a minute to share their thoughts with the producer and the camera man, the standard "interview" technique everyone else was using.

In the multi-award winning "Go Fly a Kite", Michele Forget, left, of Repentigny, Quebec, keeps right on flying her kite as she talks to the camera and complains about rough-housing male kiters who used unfair tactics to bring her kite Snoopy to a crashing end during a kite battle at Verdun, Quebec.

One million television viewers have seen our half-hour cable program "Go Fly a Kite."

"Goldi Productions did such a wonderful job! The pictures were amazing. You truly capture the feeling of kiting!" 
- Program Manager, Verdun Rendez-Vous Mondial, Quebec.


(For his work in this program, John Goldi csc, won a Silver Plaque for Cinematography at the prestigious Chicago International Television Festival.)


"Words can't describe my appreciation to Goldi Productions for the flawless work in producing the "Highland Heavies" episode on "Outdoor Adventure Canada".... The wonderful footage was breath-taking. Works such as this are invaluable in helping us to preserve our rich cultural heritage!"
- Deb Dalziel, Scottish Highland Festival Board, Fergus, ON

Overall Scottish champion is Who?? Why Ryan Vierra, of Portuguese background, of course, caught sizing up his caber.

Highland Heavies" was honoured with 8 major international awards.

7 - Our program also innovated in the use of interviews. Rather than the usual combination - a few people with long interviews - we featured many people, but used only interview highlights. And we always pumped up our interviewees, to give high-spirited, enthusiastic voice clips that became the trademark of the series, and gave the programs an energy level previously unmatched in Canadian television.

"I just had to write to tell you how very much we enjoyed your series "Outdoor Adventure Canada." How wonderful to finally see on my T.V. screen something so worthwhile watching. I myself am not a big TV fan but your shows had me seated and kept me seated! Such a refreshing change to be able to watch shows not only interesting but educational and with ordinary everyday folk instead of some 'Hollywood type' show full of actors and fake scenery."
- Carolann Williams, Hope, BC

Alana Brooks Robb-Douglas is passionate about digging up dinosaurs.

We continued our innovation with our interviews as well, by never allowing a "talking head" to be on for more than five seconds. Then the interview was covered over with great scenic photography of Canada or Canadians in action. So in spite of the hundreds of interview clips, "Outdoor Adventure Canada" was universally praised as an outstanding showcase for wonderful photography of Canada and Canadians.
"The videography was spectacular..... You captured the magnificent beauty of the Yukon with your cameras. Thanks for doing such a great job!!!"
- on "Ho for the Klondike" by Jennifer Christin, Ottawa, ON

"The cinematography was outstanding and it brought back some fond memories of my visit to that beautiful province. Please continue to portray Canada with your quality productions."
-
on "Whale of a Tail" by Carol Sadler, Calgary, AB

8 - Editing Innovations: Carrying innovation still further, we used a brisk editing style which resulted in our 24 minute shows having more cuts, and more pictures, than most one-hour television documentaries. And continuing our break with tradition, never was a single picture used twice. (The CBC, in its multi-million dollar heritage series, often used the same video pictures over and over, two, three, and four times, in the same program.)

The Script Supervisor on our series was Joan Goldi, who also created the title animations. The Chief Editor was John Goldi who directed the editing teams who assembled the off-line edits for the rough cuts. He then exercised rights of final cut - replacing sequences, pictures, interview clips, and re-arranging the presentation or changing the pacing of the material - and then did the fine cut. He also did the all audio, FX, and music editing, and then did the on-line audio and video edits for all the shows.

An Edmontonian Then & Now: Edmontosaurus, a herbivorous dinosaur, as it once looked, and as found in the Badlands of Alberta, and now on show at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, AB. (As featured in our international Gold Medal winning program, "In Search of the Colossal Fossil." 
We had three different Atlantis line producers who liaised with us in the production of the series, all of whom really liked the shows we submitted for broadcast approval from "Outdoor Adventure Canada." Said one, "You can't imagine what a pleasure it is to have a series in such capable hands like yours, compared to the nightmare I have with so many other producers." Enthused one of our senior "off-line" editors, after one studio visit from an Atlantis rep, "It sure is nice working on a series where the broadcast reps really genuinely like the shows!"

In fact, during the two years the series ran, never even once did any Atlantis rep ever request or suggest a single change to a cut of picture, audio, or a sequence in any program. Out of 26 rough cuts for 26 shows we submitted for approval, involving some 26,000 video and audio cuts in all, in not a single case was a change of any kind on any of our shows ever requested by any broadcast staffer. Said one of our senior "off-line" editors, with years of editing experience, "Wow! I've never worked on a show before, or even heard of a show, where the broadcaster did not request lots of changes to every rough cut that was sent in!"

9 - MADE IN CANADA Innovations - And we broke convention in another way; every one of our multi-award-winning programs was shot entirely in Canada, dealt only with Canadian places and subject matter, and featured - horrors ! - ordinary Canadians enjoying doing wholesome Canadian things ..... in Canada.

Close to our hearts is the show we did celebrating Ontario farmers having fun ploughing. Who could have guessed that you could mine international Gold in Barrie, ON?

"Feedback received was excellent from anyone who saw the production ..... We were impressed with your professionalism and the high quality of your production."
- Don Bell, Pres., Ontario Plowman's Association, Barrie ON


"Many poignant moments stand out in these programs. I was particularly touched by the heartfelt tribute to Stan Rogers at the end of "The Field Behind the Plow"... Please accept my sincere congratulations for producing a vastly superior television series..."
- Carl Gary Baker, Toronto, ON

Kathleen MacRobbie (left) says her father handed down the plowing tradition in her family, and she and all her brothers do it. "Preserve the heritage. That's why I keep coming back year after year," she says.

"The Field Behind the Plow" was honoured with 3 international medals: 2 Gold & 1 Silver.

And we did all 26 international award-winning programs in the series without once resorting to the customary stand-bys used by many TV producers to attract ratings: featuring "American celebrity" hosts or interviews, showcasing criminal types and their activities, shooting in exotic foreign locations, or focusing on sensationalism, or sex.

"We wanted to get this letter out to you to express our excitement at what was truly a first-rate show of the highest quality."

- on "Sailing into the Past" by Bill Brodeur, Director, Discovery Harbour historic site, Penetang, ON

"Sailing Into the Past" was honoured with 3 international medals: 1 Gold & 2 Silver

10 - Ratings Innovations: Our innovative program style entranced millions of television viewers; our shows won outstanding cable channel ratings.

When Atlantis Broadcasting Magazine, ABI announced that its ratings share (the proportion of viewers watching its shows) surpassed virtually all of the dozens of other cable television broadcasters, proudly noting "ABI's collective share was surpassed only by TSN and Space."

The highest rated Atlantis Broadcasting show that week was Outdoor Adventure Canada's "A Whale of a Tail," which was starting its second showing - its first repeat cycle - and still won 237,000 viewers, an astonishing achievement for a half-hour cable television show. And yes, our ratings eclipsed those of "Nature Walk", "Horse Tales", "Martha Stewart", and "National Geographic" on the same network.

"A Whale of a Tail"

 

 

 

 

 






"My Dear People. Please accept my Admiration and Praise on your film on whales.
- Mildred Carter, Petty Harbour, NF

"I am writing to express how pleased I was with the show you recently aired as part of the "Outdoor Adventure Canada" series entitled "Whale of a Tail." The show highlighted Newfoundland in an informative way and was beautifully filmed."
- Sandra C. Kelly, Minister of Tourism, NF

"Whale of a Tail" was honoured with 4 international medals: 1 Gold and 3 Silver

Other shows with astonishing ratings were: "The Trent-Severn Waterway" (244,000), "Go Fly a Kite" (242,000), "Go Fly a Kite" repeat (232,000), "Ho for the Klondike" (216,000), "The Field Behind the Plow" (208,000), "Go Fly a Kite" 3rd repeat (207,000), "Westward Ho the Wagons" (193,000), "Panning for Klondike Gold" 179,000).

(For comparison, Playback quoted CEO Trina McQueen, on The Discovery Channel's flagship show: "We have a hit with "Champions of the Wild" getting 100,000 viewers." And Playback quoted Life Network President Juris Silkans: "We're pleased with our best show ("What's for Dinner") averaging 100,000.")

"Thank you for finally producing a documentary on Newfoundland that is worth watching. You guys did a tremendous job of letting the world know about Canada's best kept secret. I really enjoyed the camera work. Not very often will you find such fine quality work on TV."
- Terry Bath, Jocelyn Blake, Vancouver, BC
"The content, presentation and photography were all superb, and this piece will serve as excellent promotion for Newfoundland for many years to come. You have shown it in a glorious light. I congratulate you on your efforts."
- on "Whale of a Tail" by Ella Heneghan, St. John's, NF
11 - Website Innovations - In 1996 we launched of www.goldiproductions.com becoming one of the very first Canadian television producers to harness the power of the web to promote a television series.

12 - Viewer Mail Innovations: We received heart-warming viewer mail from across Canada - which you can read on our Viewer Mail page - and from the USA.

"Watching this particular segment, for me personally, was not only fascinating but very emotional. Your depiction of my brother was exceptional, and the ending of the show just "blew me away" - I feel that you did a wonderful job in capturing the essence of spirituality. Job well done!!!! - Please keep up the good (great, wonderful, exceptional) work."
- Lorraine Scow, Nanaimo, BC

As the HMCS Saskatchewan - with gaping holes cut out to make sure she sinks evenly - is towed to her watery grave, in "The Saskatchewan Will Never Die," Raymond Goode is aboard; his ashes - safe inside an electrical panel - will go down with the ship in which he spent the happiest years of his life.


"A terrific documentary! Just a terrific documentary! Absolutely fascinating!"
- Ron Santora, PBS Program Director, WNED Buffalo, NY

"The Saskatchewan Will Never Die" won an international Gold Medal.

13 - Awards Innovations: We can think of no other Canadian television series, that has been honoured with as many prestigious international awards during such a small time period as was "Outdoor Adventure Canada".

Our 100% "Made in Canada," Canadian heritage programs, won rave reviews from hundreds of American television festival jurists, who awarded 17 of our low budget "cable television" programs an astonishing 80 major international television awards, including 60 medals:

- 13 Gold, 16 Silver, and 31 Bronze

- 14 Finalist Nominations

- 5 Special Merit Commendations

- 10 Selections for Show, all in just over a year and a half, in competition with the best mega-budget programs from producers and broadcasters from around the world.

At three different international television festivals, our programs won both the Gold and the Silver, competing against each other and a host of other international competitors. At 8 leading American television festival competitions, Joan Goldi was the leading award winner - the most awards won - and the top Canadian at six others.

It is a singular and astonishing achievement for a Canadian television producer, especially accomplishing it with 100% entirely home-grown Canadian cable budget programs. Other Canadian producers have won important international awards, but the overwhelming proportion of those are for programs shot outside Canada, with mega budgets, at exotic or US locations, or dealing with sensational themes, and for shows where critics complain that the "Canadian tie-in" is totally absent, cleverly disguised, or the smallest you can get away with and still qualify for Canadian tax credits.

"Please accept my sincere congratulations to you both for producing a vastly superior television series such as Outdoor Adventure Canada."

P.S. Outdoor Adventure Canada is "Keeping Canadians in Touch with Canada." I am living proof of that!"
-on the series, by Carl Gary Baker, Toronto, ON

"It's the best documentary on Rodeo we've ever seen!" 
- on "No Guts, No Glory" by A. Stroud, President, Ontario Rodeo Association, Toronto, ON

"It's the best program on Hot-Air ballooning we've ever seen!  It really captures the spirit!" 
- on "Drifting Down The Wind" by K. Rosenthal, Fantasy Sky Promotions Inc., London, ON

14 - "Hands-on" Innovations: In what must be a unique accomplishement for an award-winning television series, our producer Joan Goldi and our director/cameraman John Goldi csc, were the entire field crew for all 26 programs in the series. They alone travelled the length and breadth of Canada to research and shoot every program. (It is customary, in television series work, to send out many crews to shoot programs, resulting in a talent pool of dozens of people going on location to gather the footage. To underline the norm in television series work, one producer of another series publicized that "over 200 people worked on this series.")

While many cameramen are usually involved in shooting the many different types of footage needed for a television series (archivals, interviews, action, wildlife, scenic, special effects, stock shots etc.), only one cameraman, our director, and chief editor, John Goldi csc, shot all the outdoor and archival footage for all 26 programs. All stock footage used was from his library as well. (The only exception, the underwater clips supplied by amateurs used in two shows.)

15 - Imitation is ..... We are pleased and flattered to see, that, in the years since "Outdoor Adventure Canada" first went to air, numerous creative elements of our innovative documentary style have been widely adopted by other television producers and editors when creating their science, history, and lifestyle programs and series, which have appeared on the CBC, History Television, Showcase, Life Network, OLN, and The Discovery Channel, among others.

"It is an honour for us to be associated with productions such as yours and you have every right to be thrilled with your accomplishment! Congratulations!"

- President, Canada Television Fund, Toronto, ON

" ..... warmest congratulations on the success of your Canadian television series. The episodes won the hearts of Canadians from coast-to-coast, and the numerous prestigious awards that you received were deserving of two such innovative and talented Canadians. Your dedication to ensuring that the people of Canada have access to their stories and talent is to be commended, and the Department of Canadian Heritage is proud to have participated in funding an initiative that will continue to be accessible to Canadians through schools, libraries, and public institutions.

You are a source of pride to your country and your accomplishments will serve as inspiration to your peers and all Canadians."

- from the Minister of Canadian Heritage

We were determined to use many of the techniques that viewers found so successful in "Outdoor Adventure Canada," when creating our latest long-form television history documentary and try to breathe new life into a staid old narrative form.

 
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