Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jet-setter media entrepreneur alum

Evan Engel, an '08 Cinema and Photography alum, is a great example of the kind of creativity and entrepreurial skill that we nourish here in the Park School.

His latest project, Jet Set Zero, is a web series that follows an international group of 20-somethings as they quit their jobs in offices, skate shops, and restaurants to embark on a journey to see the world. Far from backpackers, the travelers settle into a different city every 90 days and get jobs, housing, and learn about the local culture. They fund their travels solely with the money they earn in their host countries (the original cast started in Seattle with rent and bus fare, then earned their plane tickets to Vietnam on minimum wage jobs).

So far the series has aired seasons from Tokyo, Seoul, and two seasons from Saigon (with differing casts). They are currently producing episodes in Quito, Ecuador and around Italy. (You can watch their latest episode from Quito here.)

Evan emailed me recently and says:

"I'm currently working as our lone field producer and co-editor in Ecuador. It's a lot of work, and I'm happy to say that no part of my Park education is going to waste down here. I remember in my senior year when PPECS got new H4N recorders. Phil put one in my hand and said "This is the future. Learn it." Sure enough, after 2 years of working around NYC, I'm finally using one. Park was way ahead of the game.

I'm also learning a lot about the business-side, mostly out of necessity. Our company operates on a shoestring budget and yet produces work that competes with much better-outfitted organizations (in my humble opinion). Last week we hired our first intern (we had some great applicants from Park, I'm told), and we had a brief write-up in National Geographic last March. I'm constantly amazed at what's now possible thanks to the low cost of production, the increasing quality of the technology, and my Park education.


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