This clip isn’t in the reel. Man, are you missing something.
Well, it’s an old but decent reel that’s been re-stuffed with my CBS stuff and some Shark Tank tidbits. Solid upholstery given a new fabric.
Video editing is not my forte but apparently being a camera hog is, because I had hours of stuff I rejected to boil my media appearances into this fast-paced somethin’ that covers live network stuff, live IFB hits, location shoots, and hosting.
I am sort of stunned by the amount of stuff I have done, actually. And I thought this kind of thing made me nervous. Guess not.
I have permanently embedded this sucker in the sidebar to the right, so if you don’t watch it now just feel free to ignore it there.
Since mid-December, I’ve been appearing on CBS’s The Early Show more or less weekly. Strangely, I find it easier than my weekly segment on Fox Philly partly because at CBS, I can actually have a conversation with the person sitting across from me. Part of the reason is because the staff is truly nice, and I’m always at ease there. But it’s also because for the other kinds of interviews I do, which are satellite interviews, I stare into a camera and listen intently to the voice in my ear, so all the action is in my brain. For these live on-set interviews, I can read the face of the person talking to me — even if they’re lucky enough to have a script, IFB, and TelePrompTer. It’s more of an interaction, which brings out the best in me.
Here’s a weird thing that’s come out of my appearances: Two weeks ago, my brother, who lives in Florida, called me early in the morning. He was totally wigged out. He’d been filling up his car at a Shell station after dawn that morning, when, unexpectedly he heard his brother’s voice coming from the gas pump. “All of a sudden, I heard my brother’s voice talking to me!” he told me. It was like I was a ghost or something. Well, that’ll wake you up in a hurry!
He looked up, and there I was, on a little TV screen, giving him a few minutes of consumer advice while he filled his tank. Since then, reports have been filing in. I was last seen by a colleague dispensing consumer advice at Mobil station in Virginia, too.
Vaudeville may be dead, but I found an unexpected new venue: I’m a big star at gas stations nationwide.
Anyway, here are a few of my recent segments.
If you sit through this next one (you can do it– I had to walk through it and navigate a lawn mower while I was at it), you’ll hear the host call me “John” at the very end. She must have been thinking of the esteemed former NBC reporter, John Cochran. I’ll take it.
New light bulbs are coming! But not even the fanciest new TV could have picked up the fact that for this one, I was wearing cuff links shaped like little light bulbs. A web site that purports to be dedicated to combating media bias took me to task for, um, not complaining that the government was forcing people to adopt new bulb technology. Yes, criticized by an anti-bias site for not showing a bias. America!:
I was kinda proud of this next one, as silly as the topic is (“tree-mendous deals”??). That’s not only because it was the first time I appeared on The Early Show, but also because I was lucky enough to be one of the last people that Harry Smith interviewed in his final weeks on the show.
I’ll get some more up later. I don’t like doing it because it means I have to watch myself here and there.
No one likes listening to the answering machine and realizing what they sound like. So can you imagine facing yourself on national TV?
Hold me down! I’m big-time digging Jeff Schroeder’s Around the World for Free on CBS.com. Some of it has been slightly canned, like the plugs for American Airlines (a sponsor), but the majority of it is killer stuff. Anyone who backpacks will recognize what he’s going through right now as he tries to make it around the world without spending any money, instead relying on the generosity of the people who are following the trip online, like an open-palmed version of the Travel Channel’s dearly departed 5 Takes. Although the series’ conceit seems like a stunt, it takes a special traveler not to make an actual stunt out of it.
Jeff on 'Big Brother'
As a not-so-closet fan of Big Brother, I watched Schroeder last summer, and I grew to appreciate his demeanor, his almost childlike joy for seemingly trivial stuff, and the respect he has for other people. Reality television players can be unabashedly self-serving, but Jeff wasn’t. He was the frat boy who cared. I watched the Big Brother live feeds, which expose players every minute of the day, and his character held up — when he had momentary lapses, he instantly recognized his failings and made up for them.
This summer, as he does this trip, I have grown to appreciate him even more. He’s bushy-tailed and peppy, and what he lacks in eloquence (most stuff is either “amazing” or “awesome”) he makes up for in enthusiasm and empathy. He’s unfailingly polite, hungry to learn, and is good at anticipating his audience’s questions. Two weeks ago, Schroeder served for a day with a People for Care and Learning, a humanitarian group that delivers water purification devices to floating villages in one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia.
In this segment, from a week ago, he’s stranded in Pakse, Laos. He’s not allowed to spend money, but he needs $18 for a bus fare. Begging for cash in a poor place like Laos would be highly unsavory. I seem to remember another show from about 10 years ago that was built on just such a premise — strand the players, see how they get home — and it turned me off. But that’s not how Schroeder is handling things. He’d rather go thirsty than be a burden on the locals.
This clip brings me a flood of powerful travel memories: the heat of a Southeast Asian village’s streets, the benign language barrier, that unique feeling of wandering aimlessness paired with the traveler’s faith that everything will turn out just fine. And what backpacker hasn’t found himself struggling to find a Wi-Fi signal, peering in the windows of the fancy hotels?
“I don’t want to mooch off anybody. That’s not why I signed up,” Schroeder says.
He doesn’t have a production team to put words like that in his mouth.
He made it out. Today, he’s in Bangkok battling some tummy trouble, and he appears to have been reunited with the prodigiously talented videographer and editor named Zsolt Luka (I wouldn’t give Luka’s daily edit-and-recharge demands to a monkey on a rock) who accompanies him much of the time and whom I have to assume is equally responsible for the spirit of this endeavor.
Schroeder is making this odyssey not about himself, but about the people he meets, and that’s clearly by design and not by accident. So many other mass-media travel diary projects are about the ego of the traveler, but against the odds and the currents of the genre, Schroeder always puts the spotlight on the people he meets. He’s both amazing and awesome. You can follow Schroeder’s adventure (videos, photos, tweets), throw him tips, or offer him help on his next leg by going to CBSAroundtheWorld.com. There are also videos on YouTube.
Major praise to CBS for accomplishing this series with so much sensitivity. And since it’s the sponsor, I guess I should tip my hat to American Airlines, too.