Getting Lost in Provence
Lance Armstrong named his book It’s Not About the Bike, yet for Ken Wallace and Bill Flanagan it was 2-wheeling that brought them together. A shared passion for cycling, backgrounds in film (Ken and Bill) and Father Son Tour (Bill’s blog) appears like the perfect set of experiential ingredients to launch a video-blog called “Lost in Provence.”
Ken and Bill originally met in Southern California, where they were living and working in demanding careers. Bill and his wife Tavi made a lifestyle choice in 2010, they pulled up roots in SoCal and moved to rural Provence. Ken and his family more recently to embraced the expat life in France.
Living in paradise is fabulous but, Ken and Bill needed a project that would exercise their skills and allow them to explore Provence and its regional traditions. Lost in Provence was the outcome of their discussions. They carved a few moments away from their filming and editing work to answer some of my questions:
How and why did you come up with the concept for Lost in Provence?
Ken: We had been discussing the idea of a project that could build upon my experience in film and Bill’s experience with his cycling blog in France. We both felt that the most interesting things in Provence were found when we ventured off the beaten path and thought it would be interesting to share those experiences with others.
Bill: Last year when Ken and his family moved to France it was great to have friends move so close. The Wallace’s were experiencing all the challenges and joys of starting an expat life here in Provence. Let the fun Begin! Once a month, or so, we would get the families together on the bikes, hiking, or just exploring. On those little “side trips,” we would bump into some pretty wild characters doing the most incredible things that you would never expect. Lost in Provence was born out of those experiences and the desire to share them with others.
Who is your target audience?
Our primary audience is an English speaking audience (mostly American). Although, we are increasingly adding more French to our content, as we have been getting feedback from French viewers who find our programs interesting. Our goal is to give our audience an experience that you would only have if you lived in France. We are intentionally creating content that is quite in depth. We are looking for an audience that is interested in experiencing more than a quick sound bite. We think (hope) that there are people looking for a richer and deeper experience, and of course persons who have a love of French culture.
Can you explain a bit about how you develop an episode?
True to the name “Lost in Provence” we often have a subject in mind, then set off to see what we can discover. So far we’ve been very lucky to happen upon some great characters and have been warmly welcomed wherever we land. Of course, we also have more planned episodes (such as the Abbey Saint André), but we try to be flexible and open to then unexpected.
Is there a script?
We do not pre-script our material though in the case of interviews with specific people that are planned we will send them a list of possible questions in advance so that they can think about the material.
Who does the filming and editing?
In general, Ken does the filming and editing, and Bill is the on-camera talent and drives the content through his discussions with the people we meet. Of course, it is always a collaboration as the episodes come together.
Can you share some “Where the locals go” tips?
Three things visitors must DISCOVER in Provence:
Ken: I would say food, wine and history.
Bill: Festivals, beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails,
Three things visitors must TASTE in Provence:
Ken: I am going to say the cheese, the fresh market produce, and the bread.
Bill: Traditional bouillabaisse, Provencal cherries when they are in season, and, of course, a great Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine
Three things visitors do to RELAX in Provence:
Ken: hike along a trail in the countryside, ride a bike on the back roads, and drink a café while people-watching.
Bill: A mid-hike dip in the sea in a remote calanque near Cassis, chilling in a café in the morning sun, taking in a beautiful sunset with family and friends over a nice glass of local rose.