For the just-concluded Top Gear magazine conference held in Hong Kong, our principals at BBC Magazines asked us to prepare a video presentation introducing ourselves to our international colleagues. Of the magazine's 23 editions, only two other teams had been asked to produce a video--Australia and the Netherlands. The UK team also made its own video.
I was actually apprehensive about the prospect, knowing that the Australian group also produces its version of the TV show. They'd definitely put to shame whatever we'd come up with, I thought. But we did our video nevertheless. We simply made fun of ourselves and didn't care what our colleagues might think of us. I asked the team to whip up a concept, which they did while having a quick snack.
The first part basically just introduced each member of the full-time staff (which explains why Botchi isn’t in the video), while the second part was devoted to our associate publisher Chad Rosario, who did a swell job of doing the serious talking. When we had filmed everything, we asked our excellent video editor Antonio Ongchap Jr. to polish and splice it up. I only asked that he use 'Hard-Knock Life' by Jay-Z as soundtrack.
Below is the seven-and-a-half-minute finished product--two and a half minutes too long, to be honest. But James Hewes, BBC Magazines' head of international development, told me not to worry when I e-mailed him a low-resolution version. "We'll make time for something that good," he said.
Indeed, during the conference, our video was the only one that actually received a round of applause! The videos from the UK, Australia and the Netherlands were all good, and they all elicited a few laughs. But for some reason, no one bothered to clap--something they did in unison for our short documentary. Then again, maybe the applause was for some FHM girl's surprise appearance.
Speaking of which, we’d like to thank JobStreet’s Lindsay Querubin, FHM girl Jahziel Manabat, and K-Zone magazine’s Ramona Gonzales (who, by the way, makes coming to work really awesome) for their pro bono appearance in the video.
"Your video was the best," said guest speaker Stuart Dyble, the former communications boss of Ford of Europe and Ford's Premier Automotive Group. "It was the best thing that happened in the last two days," assessed Simon Carrington, the publisher of Top Gear UK. "Your video was really funny!" exclaimed Diana Grandi, the publisher of Top Gear Italy.
We're not entirely sure what they saw in our video. We keep watching it over and over again, and all we see is some really horrible acting. Watch it for yourself and see if you'll agree with our kind international colleagues.