Josh Marshall set off on a three-month adventure determined to make his own travel show after struggling to find work after graduating. CATHERINE MUSGROVE caught up with the adventurer about his run ins with a rodeo bull and how he managed to land a top producer’s job
“I found Americans are loud, are quite fat, their cars and roads are quite big and society is brash – but these are not all negative things.”
Josh Marshall, 24, a UCLan broadcast journalist graduate, doesn’t necessarily see things the same as everyone else.
The graduate set off on a three-month journey to examine American stereotypes after failing to find work after university and the once-in-a-lifetime trip has opened up a world of possibility for the young filmmaker.
“I was finding it difficult to get stable work after uni,” he explains. “I was doing freelance work, but to get a permanent position you really need to move to London, and I didn’t want to do that without first having a permanent position.”
So, using social networking sites, Josh set up interviews with the great and good American society, and set off with a shoestring budget borrowed from his parents to produce his own ‘video CV’.
From August to December last year, he recorded 22 small episodes of Glimpsed, the majority of which he has now uploaded to YouTube.
“I’ve done no marketing at all, but the videos have been relatively successful online, some attracting a few thousand views”, says Josh.
“One of the coolest places I went to was New York. Through contacts made on social media I got to go up tot he tallest residential apartment in the city and did some martial arts on the roof with fantastic scenery.
“Another one of my favourite episodes was when I went to spent some time with cowboys.
“I’d already done an episode on Native Indians and been to stay in a teepee in a reservation, so I wanted to look at the other side of the story.
“I was nowhere near Texas and didn’t have the money to go, but then I got talking to a guy called Rob from the Cowboy Shooting Society.
“They dress up in authentic gear and shoot replica guns, and they go cavorting around.
“While I was filming, the world champion turned up with real guns from the time of cowboys 150 years ago, and it was amazing to speak to him.”
With the help of American hospitality, Josh investigated everything from American muscle cars, diners and even spent time with the notoriously-prickly National Rifle Association (NRA).
Apart from a couple of times when he managed to rope in help from local university students, Josh filmed and produced all of the work himself.
He said: “It was very hard work, harder than people realise, and very time-consuming. You’ve got to carry everything around yourself, you put the camera on a tripod and then run round to do a piece to camera, then run back to check it, scrap it and do it again because it’s not in focus, take it off the tripod, check all the sound, and so on. It’s really, really manic!”
Josh originally intended to make 35 episodes, but had to stop at 22 when disaster struck at a rodeo show.
He said: “I was near Massachusetts and went to film at a travelling rodeo. I was filming what happened, interviewing the organiser about the history of the sport, and thought ‘what’s the point of being here if you don’t have a go?’
“I rode around on a big horse for a while doing some training, then I climbed on a bull.
“The bull won. I fell off and broke three ribs, dislocated and fractured my shoulder and damaged the nerves in my left hand, so I’ve only got half the feeling now.
“It was quite a bad injury and I ended up in hospital on morphine, but luckily it happened towards the end of the trip.”
After returning to the UK and spending some time recuperating, Josh spotted a job vacancy at London-based production company Livity, and with the help of his quirky project he got the role.
He said: “I shouldn’t be in this position really, I haven’t worked my way up being a researcher, a senior researcher, a production assistant, but I thought, sod it, I’ve single-handedly produced my own TV series in America, I’ll go for it.”
Bosses at Livity called him back 30 minutes after he submitted his application and hired him after his first visit to their offices in London.
Now he regularly works with a team of nine or 10 people in video studios, producing youth programmes such as the 4:01 show and Somewhere To.
Josh is now finishing uploading the last pieces of Glimpsed online, which he hopes will be useful for people thinking of travelling to America.
He added: “I set out wanting to look at stereotypes and actually, I found some of them were true, but not in a negative way.
“In the UK we might think some things are bad, but in the US, they’re totally normal.
“I think one of the most interesting things I’ve learned is that America is as different to Britain as Libya is.
“We think that just because they share the same language and their media proliferates our media, we’re some kind of kindred spirit, but it’s not so simple.”
Show Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BIG6mby9wpo
All The Episodes - www.youtube.com/glimpsedshow
My website - www.joshmarshall.co.uk
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Joshmarshtv