Dan Lantz,1990 alumnus, traveled the world with the Travel Channel to shoot its New Year’s Day premier special, “Hot Spots 2012” with Johnny Jet.
After 26 years of working in the television and film industry, Dan Lantz, a 1990 alumnus, said he finally got to experience a “real world” producing gig, just in time for the New Year.
Accustomed to film productions including, “Swords: Life on the Line,” a 2009 TV series for the Discovery Channel and various other shoots involving a chemical factory among other “weird places,” Lantz, 42, was asked to film a televised special, “Hot Spots 2012.” Renowned travel guide John E. DiScala, also known as “Johnny Jet”, hosted the show. The show premiered on the Travel Channel on Jan. 1.
Lantz has helped produce several movies and TV shows in his career, including four years of producing a TV series documentary called “Modern Marvels” for the History Channel.
However, the California native said he was excited to try something new with his latest project.
“I’ve done lots of movies and TV shows, but that’s all pretend, you make it up, you’re on green screens,” Lantz said. “But nothing compares to being in real places and in the real world.”
The one-hour special followed Johnny Jet, who manages a travel blog, as he visited destinations that viewers should check out for themselves in 2012. The show featured footage from a 45-day trip that Lantz said consisted of 12 days of camera work in countries like New Zealand, Belize and the British Virgin Islands.
Approximately 20 days during the trip were set aside for traveling from country-to-country and the remaining time was used to figure out logistics, Lantz said.
“You go to all these countries and you need to breathe a little bit,” he said. “You have to deal with customs and all kinds of technical stuff.”
Lantz said the greatest challenge of the trip was being ready for the unexpected.
“You got to really manage your equipment, treat it like a baby because if something breaks, you’re out in the middle of nowhere and you can’t fix it,” Lantz said. “Every piece of equipment we brought, we had a backup version of each one, so we worked all that out.”
As the cameraman, Lantz captured the locations highlighted in the New Year’s Day televised show. He recorded places that are expected to be sites of interest in the new year, such as the Harry Potter studio in London, the newly constructed Sept.11 Memorial and Museum in New York City and five-star hotels located around the world.
During the production, Lantz shot from helicopters, the tops of Toronto hotels and from a Mayan jungle pyramid. As he explained the experience, Lantz said he also thought he worked well with host Johnny Jet.
“It was the most travel I ever done for a single production and of course it’s the Travel Channel so it makes perfect sense,” Lantz said. “This particular shoot was a total joy.”
In “Hot Spots 2012,” Lantz worked with a West Coast acquaintance, Glenn Kirschbaum, who produced the show for MPH Entertainment Inc. Kirschbaum is the vice president of creative affairs for the production company, which has produced “Dog Whisperer” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
“[Kirschbaum] is a really good friend of mine and that’s how I got the job,” Lantz said. “The most important thing is to work with as many people for as many things as you can when start your career and be nice to everybody because you never who you’re going to end up working with.”
Lantz came from humble beginnings and in retrospect, he said deciding to attend Temple was a “no-brainer.”
“When I was in high school, Bill Cosby and ‘The Cosby Show’ was the biggest thing on TV,” Lantz said. “I chose Temple because of Cosby.”
Location was also a key to his success, as Lantz found a way to freelance at different production sets in Philadelphia starting his freshman year of college.
“I just started hitting the street, there were all kinds of places in town for film makers and film producers,” he said. “Next thing you know I was taking classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and freelancing the other three days.”
Now, Lantz owns his own production business of 16 years called Impulse-FX in Paoli, and has produced the opening footage for Channel 6-ABC Action News for the past 20 years.
“I love doing the introduction for Channel 6 Action News, it’s my baby,” Lantz said. “I love working for Channel 6, they’re a great company and it’s a great experience.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.