This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rochow, the creator and producer of Gardenfork.tv, his “internet show” or “videoblog”.
What is Gardenfork?
Gardenfork is an internet video show – iTunes video podcast about cooking, gardening, and other stuff. Other stuff can include car repair, or how to drop tree with a chainsaw. Its very eclectic; for example I’ve been doing a series of shows on BBQ, stopping at places whenever I can and interviewing BBQ experts, but then I’m also working on a show about how to repair cracks in your basement walls.
Why do you do your show?
I’ve always been one of those people who wants to tell people about a neat thing I’ve learned, an interesting fact, a cool gizmo I just read about. This stuff swirls in my head and I’m just driven to want to share what I’ve discovered. Gardenfork is a great outlet for this desire to share information that our viewers, for some reason, like to watch.
And, its just a total blast to do. The viewer feedback is just amazing, and almost instant. Once we post a new episode, we start getting viewers emailing us with comments. The connection I have with the viewers is something you can’t buy.
Here’s a review on viewer posted on the gardenfork page on iTunes:
“Eric Rochow is not a self-promoting, self-congratulatory, larger-than-life celebrity chef. He’s the average guy doing an exceptionally good job putting together a podcast that entertains, informs, and encourages.
From the homey feel of his kitchen to the cutaways to watch the dog chew up a stick or yawn to the occasional multiple retakes as he flubs his lines, you can’t help but to love the show. Eric doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t and that is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of highly processed entertainment”
I think what appeals to people is that while I can talk in ‘Web 2.0 speak’ with the best of them, I can also talk about the benefits of a big block Chevy, ( FYI: that’s a specific type of engine produced by GM with dual quad carbs ) or how to keep flea beetles off your lettuce.
“Down to earth” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot when people describe the show. Its me doing a project, and that project may or may not come out they way I intended. I leave in the mistakes, because we’re all human, we make mistakes every day.
How did you get started doing Gardenfork?
I’ve worked in creative fields all my life: video, film, photography, design; and I had pitched several cooking-gardening shows to the lifestyle cable channels. The show ideas were always well received, but because no well known personality was attached to the shows, they weren’t picked up.
Last year I was on the web and ran across a video blog, crashtestkitchen, and the lightbulb went off in my head – I could produce and distribute my own cooking-gardening show – and I didn’t need the cable networks to do it.
Then we had our friends over for dinner one night, and I handed my friend Bill my video camera and said, “We’re shooting a cooking show tonight”. I made puttanesca, which is a favorite of mine, we had fun doing it, and that energy came through on the video. I had forgotten to turn on all the lights in the kitchen, so the video is pretty dark, so I called that episode “Puttanesca In The Dark with Bill”
How do you choose what to videoblog about?
Basically, whatever I’m doing on the weekend, I try to make a show about it. Last weekend I made Rhubarb Jam and tried my hand at canning, so we shot that. It was great. Sometimes I plan ahead, sometimes its just whatever project needs doing that weekend. Now we get viewer mail asking for shows on specific topics, like building a grape arbor, so I’ll do that as well.
I have to replace the clutch in my truck soon, so that will be the subject of a two part show. You can’t show how to change out a clutch in 8 minutes.
What’s your background? How do you know how to do all this stuff? :)
My parents are born and bred New Yorkers, my grandfather was a buliding super in the Bronx, but I grew up mainly in Wisconsin. We did a lot of hiking, fishing, hunting. When something broke, we didn’t call the repairman, we figured out how to fix it.
When I was 14, my father bought my brother and I a 1949 Ford Pickup. It was in pieces. We learned about cars by putting one back together. At the same time I started gardening, and when I moved back to NY, I started cooking.
I now divide my time between Northwest Connecticut and New York City, both of which are fertile ground for many episodes of gardenfork.
Is producing Gardenfork.tv paying your bills?
Not yet, but in the future that is a very real possibility. More and more advertisers are moving to the web, and gardenfork viewers are a niche audience that certain advertisers very much want to connect with. The advertising wont be obtrusive, it will be along the lines of how PBS thanks its sponsors, with short pre-roll and post-roll clips.
In the very near future, your TV and your computer will be one appliance, its the ‘convergence’ everyone has been talking about, its finally happening. Gardenfork is part of this convergence of traditional TV and the Web. I wear the “media disruptor” label proudly.
Gardenfork has also helped me in business, as my multimedia company, choplogic, is now helping corporations create their own internal and external video blogs, text blogs, and community sites. My wife calls me “Husband 2.0″
Going forward, we are also in pre-production on a new internet video show, Real World Green http://realworldgreen.com, which is about practical things you can do to lower your impact on the earth. The goal is to appeal to viewers who may not relate to the current crop of ‘green’ programming that’s out there, our emphasis is on practical; less talk, more about things you can do.
Thanks Eric, and good luck with Gardenfork / RealWorldGreen! :D
Bill Cammack â€¢ New York City â€¢ Freelance Video Editor â€¢ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack