How I came up with the idea for Culture Shock TV

Step One: The love for culture and travel is born

During my Senior year of college I realized quickly that I wasn’t ready to settle into a career just yet.  I did know that I was in love with learning, traveling and having adventures.  So I decided to move to London for graduate school while I tried to figure out what to do next with my life.

While I was there I traveled every chance I had.  I went to as many festivals as I could possibly afford and I fell in love with immersing myself into other cultures.  I tried new foods and met tons of new people.  I learned what it was to run with the bulls and clink steins in a beer hall at Oktoberfest.  I discovered that if you attempt and fail to blow up a government building in the UK, they will make a holiday just for you where they have thousands of fireworks to light up the night sky.  It was an experience of a lifetime and one I shall never forget.

As part of my graduate program, I moved to Thailand for the final semester.  It was a real eye-opening culture shock that made me fall in love with travelling all over again.  I spent the next two years working and traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia.

Step Two: the vision

Still unsure of my life direction I head back to the US to help my father with his company.  As I unravel my epic voyages to my friends and family, I can’t help but notice how their eyes widen and their mouths drop open.  I feel like they think I’m crazy, but they also long to have adventures like mine.  They don’t understand how I am able to afford all of it and I have to explain that I did what I could to make my dreams come true and it’s not as hard as one might think.

While home in the US I continued to search for a career that would make me happy and while deeply immersed in thought I realized that I wanted to travel and learn for the rest of my life!  But how could I continue to travel and learn? The answer seemed so obvious, make a TV Show about traveling and learning about cultures!  The entertainment business had always drawn me in through the thousands of movies I’ve watched over the years and the hundreds of plays my family attended together.  I even wrote my dissertation on the Thai film industry!  My vision was clear that in order to do what I love I would have to marry the idea of traveling and learning about culture with the entertainment industry.

Step Three: the show

In late 2010 the original idea for the show came about and it was called “Gap year”. I spent the next 12 months recruiting a team of friends to help me develop the idea further. I continued to refine the next year and in 2012 the show was pitched in LA to five major production companies. It unfortunately did not do as well as I had hoped because I didn’t know enough about the industry to make the show successful.

Over the past 3 years I moved to LA and worked as a producer at NATPE as well as at a branded entertainment company so that I could gain valuable experience to help launch the show.  I made connections with all the movers and shakers and am again ready to pitch the show with bigger ideas and better direction.

Step Four: the pitch

The time is now…  We have put together a Sizzle Reel that we are in the process of finalizing before we will again hit the road and try and get it picked up and produced.

– Max Heavenrich-Vassilos

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