A vegan TV show about Travel and Food
On August 4th we had the opportunity to share the pilot episode with a live audience for the first time. As no stranger to the concept of performance-related jitters, I was predictably nervous in anticipation of the reaction from a large group. Comprised partially of friends who have been involved in some way or at least aware of the project from the get-go, but largely of people we hadn’t met before and were apparently coming solely out of interest in the content rather than on any promise of personal support, this audience was going to tell us quite a bit about what may arguably be the most important aspect of this show: IS IT WATCHABLE?
Try Vegan PDX hosted the event as part of their annual Try Vegan Week. We coupled the screening with a panel discussion immediately afterward where we talked with the audience about what it’s like to travel as a vegan. Having prepared very little except lining up some well-traveled friends and placing trust in the hope that people would have questions to ask, I was a little nervous about that as well.
As it happened to be one of Portland’s very, very few days that feature outdoor temperatures approaching 100 degrees, we expected the potential numbers to thin out as the event was held in one of Portland’s many, many rooms that do not feature air conditioning. Despite this, we had a turnout and reception that surpassed what we hoped for!
I’m not sure of the exact attendance, but it was somewhere between 40 and 50 (which may not seem like a lot, but in a room that size on a day like that one, I would say it qualified as a packed house!). There were chuckles at almost all of the anticipated moments and even at one that I hadn’t even realized was funny until the room reacted with a swell of genuine laughter. The reactions overall were affirming on every count.
Then the part I was really nervous about: The discussion. We were joined by our friends Stephanie and Elisabeth and then cut the room loose to ask their questions. Wow! It was ever-so-evident, even in the first moments, that the challenges and rewards of traveling with a vegan diet is something that many, MANY people encounter, think about, dream about and are excited to see addressed in a travel show. Wow. Seriously, everyone who raised their hand opened my eyes to just how much this topic is shared by so many people. I mean, I already knew it was something important, but hearing it in the voices of almost 50 friends and strangers who had stories to share, questions to ask, concerns to address, and adventures to savor was just simply awesome. Stephanie and Elisabeth provided some additional perspectives to the panel from varied experiences, unique challenges and particular discoveries they had made. I learned a lot, got a lot of ideas, and I hope some folks in the audience can say the same.
Thank you again to Try Vegan PDX for hosting, People’s Food Co-Op for providing the space, Northwest Veg for loaning equipment, and everyone who joined us. After seeming to do little but TALK about the show for over a year, SHOWING the show and hearing feedback, suggestions, requests and support popped the whole thing into a vibrant focus that is at a new level for us. We are ever more excited and committed to bringing the show to the masses and helping grow and inspire the community of intrepid herbivores worldwide.
(panel photo by Kathy Peterman!)