BBC Auto "Real Live Test Drive" Case Study
RLTD Compilation Final High Res
RLTD Land Rover Final
The BBC was looking for content for its new website, BBC Auto, a platform that featured, you guessed it, stories that were designed to feed the British fascination with all things automotive. Anchored by BBC staples like Top Gear, they were looking for a series that was particularly American in appeal.
Create and Produce Real Live Test Drive, a web series highlighting real life test drives of new vehicles by real (non automotive professional) people.
We were recommended to Jonathan Schultz, an editor/producer at BBC America, by some colleagues there for whom we had done projects at Food Network and Nickelodeon, among other places. Jonathan had come to the BBC from a stint as the automotive writer for the New York Times, and was charged with creating content for the BBC Auto website. He had an idea for a web series that would involve ordinary people test driving new cars from a nonprofessional, non-technical point of view. After a couple of brainstorming sessions, where we worked out things like scope, logistics, format and budget, we came up with the name, Real Live Test Drive, and a series was born.
Live action shoot
The pilot featured a mom from the New Jersey suburbs who was chosen to test drive a Buick Enclave, a large, premium SUV. This vehicle was in stark contrast to the petite driver and her two small children, but they loved the roomy feel of the car as they drove around town and on the highway. The pilot went over very well and we were given an order for five more episodes for the first season. For each show, we were given the car by Jonathan and we found the drivers. We did the entire production, as well as the postproduction. Monica Anderson directed most of the episodes, all of which were shot by Dan Karlok.
We had a wide variety of test drives-an art student driving a Scion in Brooklyn, a fisherman in New Jersey, going off road in a Land Rover, a rock climbing couple in San Diego with a Hyundai and capped off the season with a rainy drive on a windy road in a Mercedes 250SLK roadster. Season two was sponsored by CarFax, although there was no difference in the production approach or editorial content. We did six more episodes, going from Brooklyn in an electric Leaf to the beach in a four door Fiat with a quartet of actors.
We pretty much did an episode a month, with a short break between seasons. We used a very diverse group of drivers and stayed true to the creative concept throughout.
The series was featured on the front page of the BBC Autos website throughout it’s existence, and was a fixture there for almost two years.