The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Romania

A few days ago I was out in town with a number of “foreigners”, all of whom live in Romania full-time and love it here. They were all laughing and dancing and having a good time, and it reminded me of this Facebook status I saw a few days ago:

If you live in Cluj, you probably know who that guy is. He’s been living here longer than I have. He’s traveled all over the world, as have all of the people whom I was partying with the other day. And he was posting this after coming back from Western Europe.

In short, the message remains the same – I never have to do anything to convince foreigners that Romania is a wonderful place. Speaking of which, the book continues to sell extremely well (about 150 copies a month! wow!) and so thanks to all of you who have purchased it and found this website that way.

And now I have some great news to report! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might remember this post back from January 3, 2011:

It’s obvious that the most effective way to change the wider world’s perspective on Romania is through English-language footage. What do I mean? I mean a TV show (Rom: film serial) in English (or primarily in English) that’s about Romania. No starving orphans, no gymnastics – something entirely new.

Many years ago I had the good fortune to study film and television, up to and including how to storyboard, how to frame camera angles, how to rig sound and lights and how to edit. A local television station allowed us to use their equipment and we shot and produced several pieces.

I understand what makes “good television”. I know that there’s an incredible gulf between a Romanian who has seen images and footage of America (and England, etc) for years and an American who literally has never seen a single image from Romania. The field is wide open.

When the weather gets warmer, I plan on shooting some good television. Depending on resources, it may be a rather simple affair that ends up getting broadcast on YouTube (or something similar). I’m an ambitious SOB so I’d like to produce a “real” television show for a major network but hey, one step at a time.

With the right software, a decent camera (or two) and sites like YouTube, it is possible for ordinary people to get footage “out there” in the public’s eye. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Yesterday we spent four hours working on the shooting script for this project and we’ll begin doing some taping starting next week! Yes. I have found the perfect guy to help assist me and the weather is warm and so everything is ready to go for this.

The guy who is going to be doing this project with me is my friend Mitchell Bourne, whom you can see in the video below (along with yours truly).

He has an interesting back story, which I’ll set aside from now, but he’s exactly the guy I’ve been looking for since January to help me with this project. He speaks English, he lives in Romania full-time and he’s incredibly enthusiastic about this country. Like me, he has friends and family “back home” or around the world who know little to nothing about Romania, except that their son or friend is “over there” and who knows whether people even have running water or electricity, etcetera, etcetera.

He and I have spent many hours talking about this country and how to promote it and how to do it in a fun, cool way and neither be boring nor condescendingly snobbish about our lives here in this country. I am excited about this project and I know we were laughing like two loons at all of the fun things we’re going to do with it (sorry, has to remain a secret for now but you’ll see soon!) and I have a really, really, really good feeling about this.

Quite simply put, we’re going to blow Her Royal Highness Elena Udrea and the incompetent paper shuffling bureaucrats of the Ministry of Tourism out of the water. So watch out because here we come! :)

Mitch is a super cool guy so be sure to check out his other videos as well.


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