Don and I were thrilled to have the chance to audition for a TV show, and we jumped in with both feet. Some prospective hosts were willing to give super-producer Matt two hours to tape their talent reel, but Don and I were willing to go the distance to make it the best we could. We gave him two days.
We worked with Matt to find a place in the northeast to shoot our demo. It had to be within driving distance from NYC so the crew didn’t have to fly. It came down to Victory Brewing in Downingtown PA and Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. I liked Ommegang for the whole “Belgian brewery sitting in a NY cornfield angle,” but Matt liked Victory, because he loves their beer and it was closer to his home base. So Victory it was!
Don flew in from New Orleans after he wrapped up a conference there. He had a great time in the Big Easy and ate a lot of good food. Unfortunately, he had some bad stuff too, including some crayfish (or Alien Babies as he called them) that gave him a case of the Treme Trots.
When Don arrived in NJ, I picked him up at the airport and drove directly to Liquor Outlet, where he met my beer guy Kevin and got to drool at the amazing selection there. You’re not in Idaho anymore, Dorothy!
We picked up a bunch of goodies and headed to my house for pizza, beer, whiskey and TV research, where we got our TV host juices flowing by watching Bourdain, Top Gear and Three Sheets (which has become awful lately). There were also frequent trips to the bathroom for the big guy to release the alien babies.
The next morning we woke up a bit groggy and hit the road to Victory. We filmed ourselves in the car to capture some brotherly banter and our back story. We talked about the blog, the difference in our ages, told stories from our childhood, etc., etc.
It was a long ride, made even longer by two shortcomings of Don’s that I wasn’t aware of; his phobia of technology and his inability to read a map. In retrospect, giving him my iPhone and asking him to navigate was a mistake. Regardless, it was lots of fun and gave us the chance to reconnect after many years apart.
When we got to Downingtown, we picked up super-producer Matt at the train station and headed to the brewery to get our bearings for the shoot the following day. We got to spend some time walking the place, getting to know the lay of the land and the folks there. Of course they put a beer in our hands the moment we arrived and kept them flowing until we were poured into a taxi several hours later. It was great.
While having dinner at the brewery, we got to talk TV with Matt and came to the conclusion that he was an awesome, interesting guy who saw the show exactly the same way we did. He really knows his beer and spirits, he homebrews, and he has a deep intellectual curiosity about other cultures and what makes people tick. He loved the concept of the show as much as we did. It was going to be great working with him.
That night at the hotel, Don and I chatted tipsily about what we wanted to do at the shoot the next day. Then it was time to hit the rack – we needed our beauty sleep for our big day tomorrow.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 3: Action!