"It felt like we had come to the end of the road after exhausting all of our options to get the show made... but my family and closest friends urged me to not give up on this crazy dream." - Andrew Fognani
What inspired you to create “The Forking Truth”?
When you look into it our current food system, it’s a mess. I began researching and came to realize that current food practices are not only damaging our health, but the environment as well. We have a lack of nutrients in our food due to soil depletion, poison is being put into our food supply through the use of pesticides, herbicides and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), a horrific life for the factory farmed animals, and many other issues. I even began to be able to taste the chemicals in the food and thought to myself, there has to be a better way.
So I started eating a more organic diet, incorporating cleaner foods and using natural products. I noticed how my body reacted and how much better I felt. Stomach issues I had for years began to correct themselves and I was left with more energy. I'm passionate about the farm to table movement because of all the health and environmental benefits, a better life for the animals, not to mention the benefits for local farms and restaurants. I knew I wanted to bring this revolution to people who want to be pro-active in knowing where their their food comes from, and The Forking Truth is a vehicle that allows me to do that.
"Some of the largest production companies and agents were all interested in the two shows we created so I knew we had something."
At what point did you decide that you wanted to shoot with your iPhone and a GoPro and why?
I shot the pilot with a small crackerjack team for a fraction of the cost of what most pilots are shot for and then the workload fell on my business partner/editor of the project, Simon Carmody and myself for the next year to dial in the format of the show. I went to the Realscreen Summit in Washington DC per the recommendation of another mentor. It was an intimidating and exhilarating experience. The response to our shows was tremendous. Distribution companies, some of the largest production companies and agents were interested in the two shows we created so I knew we had something. We came very close to putting a deal together, but the right collaboration has not presented itself yet.
At this point it was three years since I came up with the concept and I felt like I was banging my head against a wall. I did not know how we were going to get this thing “off the ground”. I had an amazing team, but I couldn’t self-finance a crew, no matter how skeleton it might be. It felt like we had come to the end of the road after exhausting all of our options to get the show made. I contemplated getting out of the business, but my family and closest friends urged me to not give up on this crazy dream. After about two weeks of my mini midlife crisis I decided I wanted to put the show on YouTube to raise a flag, so to speak. I got to thinking maybe I can shoot this thing on my phone.
I began to do research on gear, lighting, and phone apps to help achieve a cinematic look, etc. etc. The initial outlay stung a bit, but relatively, it was probably the equivalent of paying a small crew for a couple of day’s production. So I bit the bullet and I bought the necessary equipment to make it happen. Once it all arrived I sat and just stared at it occupying my bedroom floor for a few days. I would walk into the room and have panic attacks looking at all the equipment. At one time I had a team to help do everything and now I was facing doing the entire production workflow all alone. Granted I had Simon, my brother and a few others giving me advice, but there was not going to be anyone else to help me in the field. Honestly, it was intimidating.
I smacked myself, laced up my boots and set off. Except for episode one, I have shot almost two full seasons of The Forking Truth by myself. What an experience it was! I contacted the establishments and showed up looking like a Sherpa, loaded down with equipment bags. Some of the establishments I visited thought I was crazy when they asked me where my team was and I said, “it’s just me.” I think a few of them were a little concerned at first until I showed them the footage I was getting. I felt like I was finally in my groove. I had a blast the entire time and continually told myself to just enjoy the journey, because this opportunity may not come around again.
"I think what we are doing is more real and raw than a lot of other shows that are currently out there."
What kind of challenges did you have with creating this show, and how did you overcome them?
It was all a challenge. The biggest challenge is budget and how to work around it. I feel when you are working with a smaller budget you are forced to find creative ways to get the product you want without incurring all of the costs typically associated with a production.
The other challenge was actually taking the leap of faith to shoot this myself and know that I could get quality footage. I have made a ton of mistakes, but I think people will respect it a little more when they know one person is taking on the production workflow and two for post-production compared to a team. I think what we are doing is real and raw. It took us three years to get to where we are right now and I don’t believe we have even scratched the surface of what were are capable of.
Walk us through the gear you use and your workflow to get your videos shot and edited.
The gear I use are the iPhone 7 running the FilmicPro app, GoPro Hero5 Black, Beastgrip Pro, Beastgrip BGS100 - Camera Grip/Action Grip, DJI Osmo Mobile, an old Manfrotto tripod (from my brother who is a genius photographer) with a Sirui head, the Moment case and lenses, Rode Video Micro, Sennheiser wireless lav kit, and a compact lighting kit.
My workflow began with researching and contacting various businesses that fit into the show. Once I arrive at a location, I set up the Beastgrip with the Moment case and depending on what I am filming I will use various Moment lenses. My next purchase is going to be the Beastgrip DOF Adapter to be able to add more versatile lenses to the phone. I will usually begin by getting the establishing shots using the Manfrotto, DJI Osmo Mobile, or just go handheld. I will then lock off and do a walk up to introduce the business and use the Sennheiser lav kit along with the Rode Micro to pick up ambient sound. I do a couple test shots to see what I am getting and where I am in frame and then I will slate the shot and go for it.
From there I get B Roll until the owners, chefs, or the like can get away for an interview. Then I will set up sound, lighting, iPhone and the GoPro for the interviews depending on the current environment. I use the GoPro as B Cam. If I had another smartphone I would definitely use that. (Hint Hint Apple, Samsung, or Google Pixel! Let’s do this thing!)
Once I am done for the day I will go back to the hotel and transfer all of the footage and sound onto drives. At this point each day I was completely wiped out, while at the same time feeling invigorated because of what I just accomplished. When there is enough footage on a drive I will send it to Simon in LA to begin to cut the episodes together. Once I am done with a travel period I will head out to LA and work on the post production to get the shows where they need to be. I really need to take my hat off to Simon for all of the work and tremendous editing he has done.
Would you do anything differently if you had to start over from scratch?
Absolutely! I would have shot the show with my smartphone from the start. I would have started sooner and I would have never pitched the shows to anyone else. Coming from a production background I thought you had to have a team in place and your distribution figured out before you began shooting. What I now realize is that these assumptions get in the way of just going out and doing what you love, or what you believe in.
"Technology is at the point where you can shoot a feature film on your phone and make it look unbelievable."
We do want to work with other production companies and with sponsorship companies, but I think I should have gone the YouTube route much earlier and saved myself a lot of heartache. I believe the right companies will see what we are doing and will want to collaborate with us. I do not regret the path I took at the beginning, because I didn’t have a clue what the hell to do, but anyone that is reading this or thinking about doing something themselves, GO DO IT!! Don’t wait for anyone else to give it to you.
Technology is at the point where you can shoot a feature film on your phone and make it look unbelievable. It does not have to be polished. Believe in yourself and take the risk, because no matter what it will be worth it. You will gain the knowledge to go off and do whatever you wish in the production world once you have a grasp on how to do it on your own. It teaches you how to use a fraction of the budget that traditional production companies are spending.
Is there any call to action that you’d like for us to include in the blog post, such as subscribe to your channel, visit a website, etc.?
First off, I would like to thank everyone for all their love and support thus far! It means the world to us and just makes us hungrier to continue with what we are doing. If everyone that visits the YouTube channel can like, subscribe, share and get involved in the comment section that would be huge. Also, visit our website and social media platforms, like, share and comment. It will help us continue to grow. We want to open up a community to problem solve current food industry issues this country is facing and eventually the world. I am on this adventure along with the viewers of The Forking Truth and welcome any feedback or suggestions for future episodes. I’m hoping to continue to work alongside this amazing community that is creating the food revolution movement and sharing what I experience along the way.
I also want to let other production companies know that we are completely open to collaborating on projects and the show if it is the right fit. We are currently talking with sponsorship companies and welcome the chance to speak with other like-minded companies that are interested in working together with Unfiltered Productions. I would also like to take this opportunity to submit a call to action to Apple, Samsung, Google Pixel, etc. to collaborate with us. We’re ready!
Thanks Beastgrip! You make outstanding products and you have a user for life. I can’t wait to incorporate other Beastgrip equipment into our arsenal. I highly recommend Beastgrip to anyone looking to add quality equipment to their smartphone production gear.
Much love to all! See ya on the battlefield…..
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