Sunday, March 7, 2010

Filming the MINI-E

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Ulrika Ingold of TVT Media in Munich, Germany and was asked if I would participate video shoot for a documentary on the electric mobility and MINI-E. There was very little details about what they would need me to do and how long it would take, just that the film crew would be coming here from Germany the first week in March and needed to film me with the car at home, at work, in New York City and driving in between those points. They were given my contact info by BMW and as an early adopter they wanted my thoughts on the car, my lifestyle, energy and any savings I have enjoyed since getting the MINI-E. I agreed to participate without asking any questions mostly because I do believe in these cars and would like to offer my experiences and opinions for others to see.

On Wednesday morning I met up with Christine Burgmeier, Franz Stepan and Andreas Kickel at my restaurant, Nauna's Bella Casa in Montclair. They had spent the past two days shooting in New York without the car so they were anxious to start the interviews with me at home, work, and while driving the MINI-E.

It took about twenty hours in all between traveling and shooting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday which was much more than I expected. Christine, Franz and Andreas were such nice people I really wanted them to get all the different angles, environments and soundbites that they wanted, but honestly it turned out to be a lot more of an effort than I expected it to be.

Driving around a busy midtown Manhattan is difficult enough, but doing it while someone is driving next to you hanging out of a taxicab window trying to get in perfect position to film you driving is nerve-racking. We did it for about two hours when they either got enough footage or realized that I was beginning to get very anxious and wanted to finish the driving portion of the day.

I'm not supposed to get into much detail about what we discussed so I won't. I can say that they were very interested in my opinions on my energy usage, lifestyle changes and philosophy, maybe even more so than they were interested in specifics about the MINI-E car itself. The one problem I had was that they needed my answers to be brief and full of content. I found it hard to cut my answers down because I had a lot to say about each subject we discussed.

Christine, Franz and Andreas were all very gracious and professional so I hope I was able to give them all the video and sound bites that they were looking for.


  1. hi tom, any idea what the captures gonna be used for? Internal movie of BMW, television documentary,..? And if it will be public available (on the internet)?

  2. Hello Arjen,
    I know initially a short, edited version will be primarily used internally, but then a longer "movie" type documentary will be available for greater audiences although I do not have any information on what audiences or what time frame. I'll post information on the blog when I get it.

  3. Well done Tom,

    I'm ready to start caling you Mr. Ambassador.

    What a great ride and a great story you are having. Fun to follow.


  4. Thanks Peder.

    Yes, it's been a great ride so far. Lately it seems I'm getting a lot of requests for interviews and such, kinda cool. A lot of people read this blog and contact me through it. I'm pretty sure that's why I was asked to do this video shoot.

    I just received an email from BMW that a journalist from Germany in coming to the New York auto show at the end of the month and would like to interview me so there's another one!

    BTW, nice post on the GM-Volt site. I always enjoy reading your comments on the various blogs.


  5. You should have been compensated for your efforts. Has BMW offered you anything to do this? It sounds like it was a lot of work & time. When will you see the final production?

  6. I was asked and volunteered my time. It is my hope that my efforts help advance electric cars in general, not just BMW's future product line. Of course if the offered, I wouldn't refuse....

  7. Tom,

    When your solar PV gets installed, I'd love to see pics and hear about the cost, credits/rebates and estimated production for a PV system in New Jersey.

    I'm guessing you will be the only person east of the Mississipi that powers their car and home by solar PV.

    Do you know of any?

    You're going to be a popular and busy man. Might want to think about an agent.

    There are dozens of us in California but I have not heard of any on the east coast.


  8. Peder,

    Actually, Don Young (MINI-E #364) and Gordon Miller (#217) both have solar system so there are at least two other here on the East. I wouldn't be too surprised if there were more. New Jersey has the most solar systems per square mile of any state in the country.

    Unfortunately, the solar growth will slow up for sure now that the Governor has put a freeze on the state rebate program for new solar installations. I just got my application approved before it went into effect.

  9. It this documentary going to feature other electric cars or only the Mini E?

  10. I'm not sure if other cars will be featured. They didn't really tell me much. I got the feeling that they were instructed to be hush hush about it.