After almost three years of building an impossible dream, the Me Ra Koh Travel Show is LIVE! With our partners, Disney and Scripps Network, we were able to air a select number of episodes through Scripps Network.
(Update: You can now see ALL our episodes on our YouTube channel Adventure Family!)
So many of you have walked this intense road with us. You’ve cheered us on, believed in us, supported us financially to get off the ground, and I’ve got tears as I type “The Me Ra Koh Travel Show is LIVE!” We’re keeping the name Adventure Family until the deal with the network is finalized.
In 2013, we presented the concept of a family travel show to Disney, and they introduced us to Scripps Network (the network that owns Travel Channel, Food Channel, HGTV, Ulive.com and more). Everyone liked the idea of partnering together, but contracts can take forever. So with your support through a Kickstarter campaign and all our savings, we took the leap of faith and bought one way tickets to New Zealand in March 2014. You don’t have to worry about traveling abroad! We got you here.
Brian, myself, the kids, and Kevin Lee (our other camera man that we meet when filming our Disney Jr show) filmed as much content as we could. Through divine provision, like people offering to let you live in their jungle home in Thailand for over a month, or offering to fly you to Israel to film content for them, we somehow circumnavigated the globe for over five months!
We came home with $15 to our name.
And the first morning we were home, we got an email from Disney and Scripps Network, offering to contract Me Ra Koh Media for 10 webisodes and a twenty-two minute Pilot that would highlight New Zealand, Israel and Thailand. The editing began.
With the help of Covenant Church’s editing team, we came to Dallas and created our vision for this show. Working through hundreds of hours of footage, we put together a show that Brian and I are super proud of! I’ve learned so much through this process, and one of the biggest things is that you can’t launch a vision like this without a team of excellent partners.
Jeremy did all the Animation/Graphics and is the ultimate “cut it down” editor. Covenant’s editing team is beyond EXCELLENT! We loved that they weren’t in the entertainment industry, but a church in Dallas with the most creative people you’ve met.
(Belinda is one of the best Story Producers ever! When you work long hours, you start to do the same hairstyles. LOL!)
They worked with Brian and I for MONTHS so we could create a show that didn’t feel like everything else out there. We didn’t want any negativity or forced conflict. Cheap drama isn’t why we risked everything. No, we wanted a show that left viewers feeling good inside. That entertained both parents and kids, while educating you at the same time. It was a HUGE ask, and they helped make it possible. They also introduced us to a philanthropic investor in Dallas who partnered with all of us to film Israel. You’ll get to see this philanthropist’s special work in an upcoming Israel webisode! I love it when an executive of a network or corporation says “Now where did you find your editors? From a church in Dallas?” Yep. No better place! LOL!
BEST THEME SONG
One more fun fact, we also had David and Nicole Binion (two amazing songwriter/performers, worship leaders at Covenant, and dearest friends) help us write the show’s theme song “Take the World”. You get to hear a short version in these webisodes. Wait till you hear the whole song! Your family will be singing it in the car ALL the time!
Yes, the technology in the Sony Alpha a99 and a7 series is more than good enough for broadcast quality. It’s phenomenal. As board members, networks, and more have reviewed this show, they all say the same thing “The filming is so beautiful. It’s visually appealing to look at not to mention everything else.” You need talented cameramen like Brian and Kevin, but you also need GREAT camera gear that can go from humid jungle temperatures in Thailand to the dry deserts in Israel.
It Takes a Team
Kevin Lee, our Director of Photography, was a complete gift.
He knew all the risks up front, and he lept with us. With Brian, he helped us film a show that exemplifies the fact that we started as photographers and want the show to visually inspire you with breathtaking b-roll, and more. Whether we were river rafting underground through caves in New Zealand (an upcoming webisode you get to see) or doing a homestay in a Muslim village in Thailand (you get to see that too!), he was all in! He did the work of three cameraman, and we will always be so thankful for him.
Before we pitched this show to the networks, we met with our business mentor of ten plus years, Jeff Jochum.
We flew to his home in Denver, CO and practice pitched our concept. If you know Jeff, you know he took it all apart–finding every hole in it–and helped us put it back together. The Photo Mom, Me Ra Koh brand would not be where it is today without his wisdom and counsel all these years.
And Margie. Just typing her name makes we want to cry. If there was ever a champion, it’s Margie. Behind the big corporate names like Disney, Scripps and Sony (love you Kayla) are individuals who dedicate their life to help you move mountains. They don’t expect any recognition because this is their job, it’s why they get up every morning. And yet, to find champions that believe in you–will go to bat for you again and again…Margie is one of the best.
She was the VP at Disney Interactive for years. As we finalized the Pilot, she moved on to a wonderful opportunity. But for the last four years, Margie has championed Brian and I at Disney. She has believed in us with a fierceness. Margie championed our current show on the Disney Jr channel, and I know there are thousands of moms with toddlers and preschoolers who love her for it. (love you Margie!)
Unexpected (Divine) Support
Most of all, we are so thankful for the people we met along the way and all of you! We would literally get off the plane in a foreign country and have no idea of where to go. We wanted the show to be organic and form as we went. We met amazing individuals in New Zealand, who you’ll meet in upcoming webisodes. And we had amazing friends help us in Thailand and Israel. We felt all of you cheering us on, especially when we were stuck in Thailand’s jungle with no money to fly anywhere. LOL! Our family, friends and network never gave up on us. Thank YOU!!!
Brian and I have never created something more challenging and rewarding. The project almost broke us at times, and yet, it shaped us into a stronger family, bolder visionaries, and a desire to keep fighting for this concept until we see it on broadcasted TV.
What’s the Next Step
The next step needs your prayers! An incredible network is reviewing our Pilot right now!! Yes, for real! The Pilot includes Egypt and footage/stories that these ten webisodes don’t share. The Pilot is amazing! We’ve already had AWE-mazing, God-like breakthrough with finding a company to finance our show. More on that miracle partnership when we can share. But we need a network to air the show, and not just any network. This network would be an incredible fit! We hope they take it! Please keep this specific next step in your prayers.
What about the title “Adventure Family”?
We still may use it for the TV show, but we’ve learned that show titles involve a lot of legal work. The Me Ra Koh Travel Show was a name that Disney and Scripps were able to use without to many legal issues.
(Update: You can now see ALL our episodes on our YouTube channel Adventure Family!)
How Can You Help?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel ADVENTURE FAMILY by clicking here.
You can also help by forwarding this post to as many friends and family as possible. The more people who watch the webisodes on YouTube channel ADVENTURE FAMILY, the better for our case that this is programming families want! This show is all about unplugging and having adventures as a family. Who doesn’t need that message in today’s world of noise?
Visit New Zealand, Thailand and Israel and more! And if you think our story of “going for the impossible” would encourage your friends and family, share this blog post too! We are still out here, running after what is the impossible, and if you’re doing the same you’re not alone!
Me Ra, Brian, Pascaline and Blaze
Adventure with Us!
Grab your camera and join us for a Portrait of the World Photography Workshop and Tour! We take you to all our favorite countries like Thailand, Greece, Italy and Egypt, along with beautiful destinations in the Americas. CLICK HERE for more details!