I think I found my new calling in life. I’m going to travel the country, visiting every single NFL stadium, and focus all my attention on the consumption of BBQ. That is exactly what Mike and John Trupiano did last season – and they documented it. First I just need to outline a plan to do it.
- Step One: Get an RV
- Step Two: Dedicate your life to tailgating
The football season is 17 weeks, and in the case of Tailgate 32 you can add in an extra week for the Super Bowl. Driving around the country, hitting every single stadium in the process, and doing it all in one season is not something one can do as a hobby. Don’t forget to lineup at 8pm the night before, just to make sure you get the best spot possible to park your RV.
- Step Three: Find an amazing crew
Mike and John didn’t travel alone. They managed to convince a few people to tag along and hold the camera, edit the videos together and make sure the production did not completely collapse in on itself. Director of Photography Dustin Supencheck, shooting on the Canon 5D mark III managed to capture some of the most amazing images I’ve seen taken with the camera. The show looks so good I would watch it for the visuals alone. I was particularly impressed with the look of certain shots taken at night, or indoors under low light. There were a couple of particular sequences that stood out, as they were obviously shot inside dark bars seemingly using only available light yet they still looked good – though I didn’t get around to watching them full screen, 1080p on the big tv. The technical aspect of shooting a show like this seemed difficult, but the TG32 team made it look easy.
- Step Four: Spend six months planning
Mike and John took on the project as a full time job six months before departing on their quest. The amount of preparation really shows. Consider the scheduling first off. 17 weeks, 32 stadiums spanning the entire width of the continent, and with most games played on Sundays. Perhaps the best parts of the show involve the planning that was done for all the days that didn’t involve football. The group took the opportunity to head out into the everglades searching for alligators, climb a rock wall intoxicated at the New Belgium brewery, eat “Armageddon” flavored Buffalo wings in Buffalo (and not throw up, but maybe cry a little) among other things.
- Step Five: Buy A LOT of beer
There is one universal, sure fire way to lure out a cast of crazy football fans – bring a lot of beer. We aren’t talking kegs, or 36 packs, we are talking no place to sit on the RV because there is beer everywhere. The people that came out to the tailgates were the real reason to watch the show. Between Blackbeard and his, black beard, in Tampa Bay and Pinto with his 20 year old gallon of milk inside the back of his rusting-in-a-field-for-the-last-twenty-years Pinto, we are treated to a whole slew of characters you can only find hanging out in front of a football stadium.
- Step Six: Profit?
Like most series Tailgate 32 has found it difficult to turn their unique offering into some meaningful traction on their youtube channel. It certainly isn’t without a lack of trying. Their RV is covered with references to their show. They even started out their journey by visiting ESPN radio in New York city and going on the Dave Rothenberg radio show. Each episode features dozens of people, businesses and one gigantic sports organization. You might think that everyone who is in the show would watch, and if they had I would expect the view counts to be higher. It does raise an interesting question to me, which has a lot to do with the demographics of YouTube and ‘new media’ in general. Perhaps their audience just isn’t on YouTube, or maybe their videos are being bogged down by tons of other NFL content.
The show feels like it belongs on TV, but it lacks the full engagement of a half hour or hour show. The ten or so minutes dedicated to each city feel at times rushed, and not given the room to tell a story in the way one could in 22 or 44 minutes. Im sure the footage exists to stretch it out if needed. I know the rule of thumb is to create short content on the web, but real fans of your show always want more. Quality productions online should serve their hardcore fans first, and find other ways to bring in new ones. Of course getting the show on tv itself would go a long way towards paying the bills and sorting out my mild issues with the formating, but due to the massive power of the NFL any potential deals would require their direct approval.
What originally was just meant to be a fun trip to every football stadium in the country, became a four hour travelogue depicting what will probably go down as one of the coolest and most memorable segments in the lives of the group. While Snobby Robot has not covered too many (any?) non-scripted series TG32 shares a common thread with the rest of them. They are all great examples of determined, adventurous, creative people setting out and doing something most people would be afraid of.
You can find Tailgate 32 at their official site http://tailgate32.com