Bertram Van Munster

Director / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In their four-hour Archive interview, Bertram van Munster and his producer/partner Elise Doganieri talk about their work together on The Amazing Race. Bertram begins by chronicling his early childhood in Holland and his film work in Munich, Germany. He discusses moving to Los Angeles and working as a cinematographer with David Wolper on several TV shows, including Big Blue Marble and Candid Camera. He speaks of meeting Elise when he was doing National Geographic films, and recalls their first jobs together on Wild Things and Cops. Elise reveals how the idea for The Amazing Race came about, and the pair detail the production of the show. They speak of shooting, casting, the challenges of overseas travel, working with non-actors, and the minutia of how the contestants are informed about "Pit Stops." They discuss memorable moments from the program and the importance of the show's host Phil Keoghan. Elise and Bertram talk about the style and editing of the show, describe how they set up "clues," and comment on their favorite locations. They discuss the legacy of The Amazing Race and the show's propensity for winning awards, and offer why they think it remains so popular. Nancy Harrington conducted the interview on December 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.

"If you're doing the race, you do 24 hours a day, nonstop, week after week, country after country, continent after continent. You're just constantly on the move. You get tired. You get exhausted. You get irritated. You get hungry. We take you to different climates. We take you from extreme hot to extreme cold … and we throw you around the world like you think you're in a Cuisinart with the button on 'mix'. And by the time they come home they say, 'what just happened to me in my life?'"

Highlights
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on The Amazing Race  premiere one week before 9/11; how 9/11 impacted the show
05:27
Bertram van Munster on his legacy in television and how the art of cinematography has changed
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on what it is like filming The Amazing Race: "you're in a cuiseinart with the button on mix"
01:38
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on how The Amazing Race has changed the perception of America to the world; and altered American's views of other countries
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood in Holland and education in Munich; on working as an assistant on film shoots
On his first job as a cameraman with Fox Movietone news; on covering the news and major sporting events; on shooting commercials; on the film industry in Holland
On meeting David Wolper and working on National Geographic specials as a cinematographer; on coming to the U.S; on his first job on U.S. television on Big Blue Marble; on directing Looking for Jango Edwards, a TV movie; on working on Candid Camera as a camera operator
On working with producers John Langley and Jerry Bruckheimer on Cops as a field producer; on creating the show Wild Things for National Geographic
On meeting Elise Dogonieri; on his legacy in television; on how cinematography has changed

Chapter 2

Start of joint interview with Elise Doganieri; on coming up with the idea for The Amazing Race; on how it changed the genre of longform storytelling; on why they think the show is compelling to viewers
On the format of The Amazing Race and how it is produced and shot; on the show's contestants and its title; on working with Les Moonves; on the show's biggest challenges
On how 9/11 impacted The Amazing Race; on the show's budget; on how they pick locations; on where they would still like to shoot
On The Amazing Race's host Phil Keoghan; on how his role is different from other reality show hosts; on how casting is key to the show's success

Chapter 3

On casting The Amazing Race; on working with non-actors
04:00
On the "Pit Stops"; on rules for crew members and staff on the show; on the style and look of the show; on editing and the role of writers
On setting up clues for The Amazing Race; on what contestants can and cannot use on the show
On their favorite locations they have shot The Amazing Race at; on how they keep the results secret; on why the show wins Emmy Awards
On the impact of the Internet on the show and the future of The Amazing Race; on the show's legacy

Chapter 4

On establishing Profiles Television Productions, LLC in 2003; on the show Profiles from the Front Line
On creating/producing The Big Give with Oprah Winfrey, Take the Money and Run, and The Great Escape; on current projects 
On advice to aspiring producers and the role of an executive producer
Shows

Amazing Race, The

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Elise Doganieri on coming up with the idea for The Amazing Race and how it changed longform storytelling
06:07
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on what they each contribute to The Amazing Race and on why the show is compelling to viewers
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on why they believe The Amazing Race is compelling to viewers
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on how The Amazing Race has changed the perception of America to the world; and altered American's views of other countries
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on the format of The Amazing Race: on why the participants must know each other before the show; on what it is like filming the show
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on coming up with The Amazing Race show title
05:10
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on the biggest challenges in filming and producing The Amazing Race; on  unexpected complications with flights and other complications; on the crew and contestants not sleeping
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on The Amazing Race premiere one week before 9/11; how 9/11 impacted the show
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on choosing locations for The Amazing Race  and scouting in foreign countries
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on The Amazing Race' s host Phil Keoghan; on how his role is different from other reality show hosts
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on the importance of casting on The Amazing Race' s and why people want to be on it
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on the "Pit Stop" on The Amazing Race; on rules for crew and staff
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on the post-production on The Amazing Race and the role of writers
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on how clues are given on The Amazing Race; on what contestants are given and what they can/cannot use on the show 

Big Give, The

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on executive producing The Big Give along with Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Rakieten with host Nate Berkus

Candid Camera

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Bertram van Munster on working with Allen Funt on Candid Camera as a camera operator

Cops

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Bertram Van Munster on working on Cops as a field producer with producer John Langley
08:04

Great Escape, The

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on executive producing The Great Escape with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

Profiles from the Front Line

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on their show Profiles from the Front Line, chronicling the war in Afghanistan 

Take the Money & Run

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on executive producing the reality series Take the Money & Run along with Jerry Bruckheimer

Wild Things

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Bertram van Munster on creating and producing the show Wild Things for National Geographic
Topics

9/11

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on The Amazing Race  premiere one week before 9/11; how 9/11 impacted the show
05:27
Professions

Camera Operator

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Bertram van Munster on the advice Cops producer John Langley gave him: "never bring a tripod"
Bertram van Munster on how the camera is an extension of your eye
01:54

Producers

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on advice to aspiring producers and the role of an executive producer
Genres

Reality TV

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Bertram van Munster on creating/producing Wild Things  and working on a wildlife series that focuses on exotic animals and how it changed the genre
Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on why The Amazing Race wins Emmy Awards; on the legacy of the show

Service Shows

View Genre
Bertram van Munster on creating/producing Wild Things and working on a wildlife series that focuses on exotic animals and how it changed the genre
People

Jerry Bruckheimer

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer
01:37

Allen Funt

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Bertram van Munster on working with Allen Funt on Candid Camera  as a camera operator
01:19

Phil Keoghan

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on The Amazing Race' s host Phil Keoghan; on how his role is different from other reality show hosts

John Langley

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Bertram van Munster on the advice Cops producer John Langley gave him: "never bring a tripod"
01:53

Leslie Moonves

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Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster on working with Les Moonves 

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