This weeks interview is with fellow travel video blogger Mehdy Ghannad of www.TheHostelLife.com . Mehdy and is site and online travel TV show are a true inspiration for me. He also has a unique spin on his idea for a show as he focuses on cheap budgets and staying in some of the best hostels around the world. If you haven’t heard of him yet you have definitely been hiding under s rock. Continue reading to learn more about Mehdy and The Hostel Life. To check out more interviews from other awesome travel video bloggers click HERE.
Who: Mehdy Ghannad
You should watch: Pilot – Colombia Part 4 of 4: San Gil Mehdy eats ants! Intentionally! haha
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your website and what got you motivated to start traveling? How did you get the travel bug?
I was lucky enough to be born to parents who immigrated to the United States, so I was always aware that the world was a bigger place. Then my dad got transferred with his company to Italy where I attended High School in Rome and that’s where the travel bug began. I was lucky enough to actually live, work, and study in places as well so it just wasn’t a few weeks here and there, I really got to understand the culture and custom and it forever changed me.
As for The Hostel Life, I always felt that there was gap especially here in the United States and I remembered emailing my friends before Facebook and Blogs about my travels. I had up to a 1000 people on my email distribution list sending my friends the stories of my travels. Fast forward a few years on TV and other media channels I never saw an everyman travel show. It’s all older men talking about food. Yes food is great everywhere you go, but what else can you do there. And lets have someone who is actually of some ethnic background showing the world as well.
2. Why did you decide to make travel videos and have them be your main focus?
Going back on the last question, I always had and hidden passion for the media. I come from an IT and Audit background ( Yuck Right) and wanted to tap into this artistic talent I thought I had to see where it lead me. As for the Videos, with new technology why not show people cultures and countries instead of sending them written emails and maybe fill that void that is lacking on the travel related channels. Mostly educate people of the world, showing them that taking a risk can take you on an amazing adventure, and people and things are not always how they appear.
3. How big of a crew do you travel with?
Depends on the length of the trip. I have done a crew of 2 including myself, 3 people including myself, and at the most 4.
4. Aside from yourself, do you have any favourite people that make travel videos? Anyone that has inspired you or whom you just enjoy good content from?
I actually like Rick Steves, I think he does it in a responsible way. I love the simplicity of it and he is an actual traveler. He also did a show on Iran, which is awesome.
5. What has been your favourite travel video that you have made to date?
It has to be my trip to Jordan and getting an insight look on how the Bedouin’s live. So this would be my favorite;
6. Did you have any previous filmmaking experience?
None what’s so ever.
7. Do you have any tips for other people who are wanting to start making travel videos?
Just do it, and you will figure things out. The best things in life happen organically.
8. What equipment do you use? Camera? Editing program? Type of computer?
MacBook Pro, Final Cut 7.0 ,and cannon HD30 and HD40 and sometimes the 5 D.
9. Vimeo or YouTube?
YouTube cause most people live there for their video stuff.
10. How do you go about promoting your videos? Do you have any suggestions for other people to promote theirs?
I connect with Travel bloggers, travel sites, tourism boards, airlines.
11. How long do you suggest a video should be 2min? 10min? A good length to keep people watching but not bore them?
I do videos form 4 min to 7, since I am trying to make a proper TV show I try to follow that format. I don’t stay on one topic too long and you have got to keep the camera moving for the viewer.
12. Is there a method behind your madness to making most of your videos a 4 part series?
To be honest just standard commercial breaks for media and then it worked out so I can release a total show over the course of a month.
13. How much advanced planning do you put into your videos?
Pre-production a couple of weeks. Post probably about 2 weeks. My shows come together organically I film from 4 hours to 13 hours and trying to make that into a 22 min show…is tough but the fun part.
14. How have you been able to fund/support Hostel Life and all of the trips that you have gone on?
I work with the tourism boards, volunteer organizations, sponsors, but mostly self-funded from my past working life.
15. What key ingredients make a good travel video personality?
You got to be real! I like to think viewers are smarter then people lead on to be. Be you on camera. I tend to think I am better at engaging other people on camera then actually being the center of attention. So play into your strengths. Find those great story lines, find locals, and show people something new to get them excited about traveling.
16. Do you have any crazy stories from the road? Things getting stolen? Ideas not working out as planned? Crazy people that you have met?
Lots of Colorful people I have met. Never had anything stolen from any of the shoots for The Hostel Life. But I did get harassed from the security in Israel for being Brown…… 5 hours! While the rest of my crew breezed through in minutes…….
Thanks for the great interview Mehdy! Be sure to remember us when you are rich and famous! :)