James Ehrlich - Executive Producer/Director The Hippy Gourmet TV Show

 

Before becoming the Executive Producer and Director of the Hippy Gourmet TV Show, James Ehrlich owned and managed a successful multimedia company, where he designed and developed interactive video games for worldwide distribution through major media partners.

In addition to running his successful software company, in 1994 James also became the President of General Media Entertainment, a global video and television conglomerate, where he executive produced all of their film, television, pay-per-view, on-line and live entertainment properties and brands.

Prior to this, James was the Director of Multimedia for Digidesign, an Academy Award winning company that produced digital audio products for film and television. James was also the Vice President of Business Development for PLI, an entertainment software and hardware company, Vice President of Marketing for Gigacell Multimedia and Vice President of Game Design for Olduvai Software.

Before moving out to the bay area of San Francisco, James had created a successful monthly college magazine called “YO Magazine” – which connected 70,000+ college and university students around the metropolitan New York and New Jersey area. James published this magazine while completing his Bachelors degree in Film and Television from New York University.

In his early teens and throughout his mid-20's, James was a lighting designer, tour and road manager for such famous musical recording artists as Tina Turner, David Crosby, Joe Jackson, Squeeze, Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead and many, many more. His creative work as an innovative lighting designer and lighting director enabled him to travel around the world, producing and managing mega-arena concerts at a very young age.

James had gotten to this level of the music industry by working underage in local cabarets and theatres in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, where he provided club owners with college-aged laborers who would load equipment in and out of the clubs for free tickets to shows and sufficient free beer to drink.

James also had a database of local New York talented musicians and bands that he successfully bartered their musical instruments and equipment to club and theatre owners, in exchange for them hiring these artists to then ‘open’ shows for famous recording artists.

It was during this time that James learned the art of lighting design and direction, creating and building his own lighting systems for major rock and roll clubs in the New York area, and then being asked to run these systems for famous artists when they played these halls.

After the performances of many of these artists, James was often asked to join the groups on their local, regional, national and international tours, where he also frequently took on the role of tour and road managing all aspects of the band’s travels.

On the birth of MTV in 1980, James saw the writing on the wall for the music industry, and that everything was heading toward music videos and TV. Thus he began his journey and education on film and television production.

As a child, James was an actor and model who at the age of nine was studying at the Lee Strassburg Theatre Institute in Manhattan and was successfully landing parts in TV commercials and print ads.

It was at this young age that James met Bruce Brennan, who was a close friend of his eldest brother’s growing up on Long Island, New York.

James can recall a band of young hippies coming to his parent’s house to party and jam on their instruments, and remembers how Bruce would wander through his parent’s garden pointing out the best places to put fruit and vegetable seeds.

Fast forward to 1996, when James had reconnected with Bruce in San Francisco, after James had moved from the east coast several years earlier. One day, while walking through Bruce and Pam’s backyard garden at their restored Victorian home in the Haight-Ashbury- James came upon the idea to film a pilot for a TV cooking show called “The Hippy Gourmet.”

The first pilot was a lark, filmed on grainy high-8 video and edited through one of the early Apple Macintosh computers that could handle video editing. Using reggae and Jam Band music tracks, James cut together the very first thirty-minute episode of The Hippy Gourmet.

In 2001, armed with a new Sony digital 3-chip camera that James' then girlfriend Lena had bought for him, and Apple’s new Mac G4 with Final Cut Pro editing software, James and Bruce began filming weekly shows for distribution to local public access stations in and around San Francisco.

Starting first with San Francisco public access cable and then branching out to Marin, Novato, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Los Gatos and twenty other access stations within driving range, The Hippy Gourmet had its first regional broadcast schedule by the spring of 2002.

By 2003, The Hippy Gourmet had spread to over 54 other access stations around the country, from Vermont to St. Louis and other locations coast to coast. Lena Blanc, James' girlfriend and also co-producer of the Hippy Gourmet (as well as on camera talent and Hippie-chick “Lena”), assumed the role of Web Mistress, creating the incredibly robust and colorful website known as HippyGourmet.com!

2003 also saw the first global travels of the Hippy Gourmet on an extended cruise and tour of the Amazon Rain Forests of Brazil, including stopovers to Dominica, St. Barts, French Guiana and more!

In 2004, the burgeoning success of the Hippy Gourmet TV Show brought on the coveted public television station support from KRCB in Rohnert Park, California, making the series available for other PBS stations nationally.

Thus, starting in the fall of 2004, The Hippy Gourmet began airing in over 110 public television stations around the country, from Florida to Texas, New Hampshire and Los Angeles, even reaching televisions in Canada and Mexico!

2004 brought The Hippy Gourmet TV Show on an extensive tour of Amsterdam, Den Hague and Tuscany, capturing the sights, sounds and recipes of guest chefs in Europe, and an amazing feature on Swiss Airlines and Gate Gourmet!

2004 also brought national press exposure to The Hippy Gourmet, when James Ehrlich appeared on National Public Radio’s ‘Talk of the Nation’ with Neil Conan, to talk about The Hippy Gourmet’s success utilizing Apple Macintosh computers - as part of the 20th anniversary of the Apple Mac.

Press and media attention from around the world came thereafter, when Apple did a series of articles on the Hippy Gourmet for their worldwide ‘Pro-Video’ and ‘QuickTime’ websites.

TV News, television magazine shows, newspapers and journals of all sizes and shapes, including the emerging ‘Blogosphere’ were all a buzz about The Hippy Gourmet.

The winter of 2005 brought the Hippy Gourmet to Hawaii on a special tour of Maui, Kauai and Oahu. Episodes included features on organic farms and restaurants, people living 100% off the grid, gorgeous nature preserves and a feature on Hawaiian Airlines, amongst many others.

In the spring of 2005, Google Video approached James Ehrlich wanting to partner with The Hippy Gourmet to encode and release selected episodes via Google Video. Since releasing over 35, full-length episodes on Google, The Hippy Gourmet TV Show and HippyGourmet.com website have increased its ratings by nearly 2.2 million viewers a week.

Currently, The Hippy Gourmet reaches over 6 million homes a week around the U.S. and is in discussions with major cable and satellite companies to carry the show globally.

In the summer of 2005, The Hippy Gourmet returned to Europe, featuring the great spas of Italy! Traveling for over 37 days from Pisa, to Venice and all over Sardinia, The Hippy Gourmet discovered all of the most beautiful and exotic health spas and mineral baths, as well as custom spa foods that Italy has to offer.

This Euro Tour also included a special feature on Lufthansa Airlines, with a very special episode highlighting Lufthansa and LSG Sky Chefs that was later included into Lufthansa’s in-flight entertainment system.

The Hippy Gourmet Euro Tour ’05 also marked the beginning of the series being filmed in high-definition, adding yet another several notches of production quality and broadcast richness to the series.

The Hippy Gourmet plans the following tours for 2006:
June, 2006 - Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada
July, 2006 – Rome and Sicily – Italy
September/October, 2006 – Australia/New Zealand

Trips to Africa (Kenya and South Africa), Brazil (Rio), Thailand, India, China and Nepal are also in the works for 2006/2007.

 

 

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