May 19, 2008

Almost Flown to the French Riviera
Miami Beach, United States

I received an e-mail from an old friend not long ago, describing how he was offered a chance to participate in a wacky event involving a free trip to France, but couldn't because of language school commitments this summer. We got to talking about it, and he ultimately suggested that I send an e-mail off to the friend of his who had made the offer, as she was still looking for male participants.

I was getting excited after two weeks of e-mailing. I'd made contact with the event organizers (Elizabeth and Barry) by way of my friend's friend, gotten onto the candidate list (a selection of 30), and was still considered a top choice when the participants were reduced to only a mere seven. Plane tickets appeared to have been purchased, or at least put on a 24-hour reserve. I could tell costs were being cut from the flight itinerary (travel to Paris was apparently no longer happening), and that the weather was going to be quite chilly (in the upper-60s to mid-70s), but was still happy with the thought of going.

I figured it was a done deal, when today, I was told by the organizers that a final three participants had been axed due to further financial restrictions.

I'm not sure what kind of team they're going to have against the competition with only four contestants, but I wish them well. Shame it didn't work out.

Intercities E-mails

Appear on a French Reality TV Show May 30-June 10!

My name is Elizabeth Dyer and I work in international business as a consultant. My most recent assignment is to recruit a team of Americans ages 18-25 to go to France for 12 days and compete in the internationally televised lampoon called Intervilles. I'm looking for people with flexible schedules and lithe bodies and a thirst for the internationally absurd!

Have you ever seen Double Dare on Nickelodeon? What about MXC on Spike TV? Well, the French (Russians, and Chinese) have their own version of all that—Intervilles (Intercities). It's been around since the sixties, and it's totally ridiculous and awesome, see links:

http://www.mistral-production.com/

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2160456569893666111

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=458429225904572116

The French producer is MISTRAL and they're working on this particular show in cooperation with China's own, CCTV. Intervilles/Intercities a top rated show in France, Eastern Europe and China. Teams for this episode will hail from Russia, France, China, and the USA. The bulk of the game will be shot in Nice, FR (with an ending celebration in Paris). This is an all expenses paid trip that includes a small stipend, round trip plane ticket from anywhere in the US, living accommodations, and food.

Itinerary—we leave SOON:

  • 30 May - U.S. to Nice, France
  • 31 May - 7 June Competition shooting
  • 8 June - Nice to Paris
  • 9 June - Program in Paris
  • 10 June - Paris back to U.S.

The team will be comprised of 25 people plus 5 alternatives. If you are interested in participating, I will need your passport number, a photograph and a brief biography.

***

Craig,

You sound like an ideal candidate. Thanks so much for your interest and information.

I don't know how much you were told about my end of this recruitment process, but becuase America's addition to this show is so last minute the bottom line is that there is an 85% chance that this will happen. So long as you're limber, I feel like the ridiculousness Intervilles and a fee trip to France are worth the limbo period but that's your call~

Looking forward to checking out this awesome travelogue.

I will keep you informed as the team lists are finalized. Hope to meet you in Nice!

All the best,
Elizabeth

***

I've added you to the list, and hope that you can continue to keep those twelve days open as plans evolve! I think there will be a much more detailed pictured by Friday. I promise to keep you updated.

Back with more info soon!
Elizabeth

***

Hey Craig,

I submitted a working list of 30 Americans to CCTV. They came back with requests for a slim seven participants, and your profile/photo was one of the ones they liked best. Nothing is 100 percent sure yet, but you're chances just got a whole lot better!

Elizabeth

***

Dear Craig,

Greetings! I'm Barry Mauck and will be coordinating the Intercities 5th Series Production in Cagnes-Sur-Mer along with my colleague and good friend — Elizabeth Dyer.

First of all — congratulations for being selected and I look forward to meeting you soon. I'm sure that Elizabeth has informed you that this event is still being coordinated and planned — and only in a matter of a couple weeks! I apologize in advance for not having complete details to provide you at this time. Elizabeth and I will keep you informed as we receive information.

I'm attaching your travel itinerary and would like for you to review and let me know if your routing requests are accurate. Please note that we will be departing on May 28th instead of May 30th b/c the production briefing, technical briefing, and rehearsals with teams of the first show commence on May 30th. The shooting of the finale will be done on the 7th of June and will be departing France on June 8th.

I've also attached a file that lists the contestants and coordinators so you can see who you'll be traveling and competing with.

What I know as of now:

Each contestant will be given $300 for personal expenses. They will stay at a hotel in twin rooms. The shooting will be held in Cagnes-Sur-Mer and the set is located 5 minutes away from Nice airport. The contestants will be participating in a lot of sport-like events — so I believe most events will be physical. The contestants will be playing 2 shows each night from the 31st of May 2008 until the 7th of June 2008, with a rehearsal on May 30th and a day off on June 1st. I have a draft plan of the 'shooting' of Intercities 5th series and will send it out once I know it's final.

That's all of the info that I can provide at this moment, but feel free to contact Elizabeth or myself with any questions and we'll do our best to provide you some answers.

Look forward to an amazing experience!

Kind Regards,
Barry

***

Hello Everyone,

I just spoke with Elizabeth and wanted to reiterate a point she made yesterday: EVEN NOW, your involvement in Intervilles is not a sure thing. We had to proceed with the ticketing because the departure date is practically upon us, but we have still not been given the final go-ahead so far as the recruitment process is concerned. Messaging has been mixed at best. Clearly CCTV loves your photos and bios, but it is very possible that the production company will eliminate one or two of you from our ranks over the coming 24 hours.

We recognize that arranging to be out of the country on such short notice is no small feat, and we sincerely appreciate your flexibility. We are trying our best to make this right! Currently we are angling to keep this team together, but I did want to keep you informed of all that I know.

Thank you for your patience. I'll be back in touch shortly.

Sincerely,
Barry

***

Dear Craig,

As you were aware, the final production of the Intercities show in France is in the hands of the French production company Mistral Productions. Despite the fact that we tried very hard to get more of our team recruits involved, they only selected 6 participants from our group. Since they fund this production — and the participants –- it’s understandable that they make this determination. I regret to inform you that you were not one of the participants selected.

Please rest assured that Elizabeth and I angled very hard to get all recruits on the team. We really appreciate the interest and enthusiasm that you demonstrated. Again, I’m very sorry that it didn’t work out to include you and hope that you weren’t terribly inconvenienced.

Have a great summer!

Barry

***

Hi Craig,

CCTV made further cuts, and I'm afraid that you were among them. The budget kept shrinking and rules kept being made about who could and couldn't come. The bottom line is that everyone who was flying out of an airport besides Dulles was cut by the French network as a way to skimp on costs.

I am so sorry to have put you through all this. I know we don't know one another, but I've read your AWESOME travelogue and interview, and that doesn't make this much easier. Thanks for taking a gamble on this. It would have been fun had it worked out, but I hope that you don't feel that you lost too much in the lottery process.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Clearly, I am the low man on the totem pole here, but I would be happy to answer any further questions that you might have.

This process has been nothing but heartache for me. I HATE having the knowledge that I have inconvenienced you. I was asked by the president of my company to find 25 people to go to France. The assignment was presented under no uncertain terms from someone with authority. I trusted that is would happen for at LEAST 25 people—not the mere 4 who are now able to go. In the future I will proceed with MUCH more caution before I enlist the help of my friends and their friends without first trying to determine the risks.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Salt in an Open Wound

(sigh) And on top of that, the wireless Internet signal that I've been able to (weakly) poach by the window of my hotel room vanished a few days ago. So now, twice daily, you can find me standing awkwardly at an intersection on the A1A, about a block away from my room, briefly checking e-mail on the closest unsecured Wi-Fi signal that I can find. Joy.

Comments:

The United States

Matt

May 20th, 2008

I have but one word to share, and it is this: Lame.

The United States

Erik

May 20th, 2008

You probably would have hated it anyway. Whether deserved or not, lame shows like this portray participants as ignorant people, generally selfish, excessively emotional about unimportant things and you'd be cast in any light they desire to earn ratings. I fear that I might end up considering you a sellout. I'll confirm that if and when I get to see the final production of this ridiculous game.

The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

May 20th, 2008

Oh, it's just some wacky fun — like those crazy game shows made popular in Japan. Like I told Elizabeth the organizer, "I'm not afraid to run a gauntlet inside a foam body suit shaped like an ear of corn." :) Just another kooky story to add to a list of other crazy stuff that happens in life.

France

Sarah

July 11th, 2009

Hey,

I participated in Intervilles International 2009 for the American team just this past week..I only did it for a couple of nights (I am an American student studying in France for the summer), but I do know that NBC is filming a special edition of the show to be aired in the states later this year and I was wondering who contacted you about being on the show originally. For me it was a French student at my university who had been on the show previously. I really want to be on the American tem featured on NBC's edition. I would much appreciate it if someone could get back to me regarding names and possibly emails…

I have corresponded with someone named Elodie and Elizabeth..but I am not sure who they/ their exact roles in the games.

Thanks,

Sarah

Thailand

Craig | travelvice.com

July 11th, 2009

Congats on competing. Yeah, bummed about the financial cuts back in May '08 that excluded me from participating. Mhmmm — Elizabeth Dyer was also my contact. Best of luck!

The United States

Gabriel

August 10th, 2009

Hello,

I also participated for the American team in Intervilles International 2009. I was just wondering where I could watch the show that I was on.

Thanks,
Gabriel

The United States

Gary

December 17th, 2009

Gabriel,
You can watch it on Russian TV. They actually airing show every week on Sundays. Please let me know if you need a website. Can you tell me who was representing USA? Students, volunteers, etc.? How many supporters from USA compare with supporters from Russia?
Thank you
Gary

Note: Comments are open to everyone. To reduce spam and reward regular contributors, only submissions from first-time commenters and/or those containing hyperlinks are moderated, and will appear after approval. Hateful or off-topic remarks are subject to pruning. Your e-mail address will never be publicly disclosed or abused.