Editorial

Traveling Light Media - Just what the doctor ordered for Champ Car
 
by Mark Cipolloni

 March 24, 2005

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Champ Car has retained the services of Traveling Light Media to make and produce Champ Car specials for TV.  The TV product Champ Car has had the last few years has been at times dreadful and the series TV ratings suffered because of it.  In that regard, Traveling Light Media is just what the doctor ordered for Champ Car - a company that will create TV programming that will take Champ Car up close and personal with the race fans.

We talked to President Adam Friedman at his offices in California.

How did you and Champ Car get to know each other?

I've always been a fan. In the '70s I raced Formula Fords and became a huge Champ Car fan when Nigel Mansell came into the series. I thought what he brought to the series was much needed -- an international presence. And in fact, it produced some of the best racing I've ever seen.

Being from Pittsburgh, I was pretty close to Chip Ganassi and '96,'97 and '98 were some of my favorite years in Champ Car as I got to hang out with Jimmy and Alex.

It was also around that time that I saw how deficient the series was in how it was presented on TV and in the print media. I screamed and shouted, but not very many people listened to me.

All that changed when Kevin Kalkhoven, Jerry Forsythe and Dick Eidswick came on board. We may not always agree, but they always are willing to listen. And while I'm not always right about Champ Car and its relation to the various media, I'm not often wrong.

Have you worked with Champ Car before?

In April, 2004, Kevin and Dick asked me to put together some commercial promos for Spike. We wrote them, shot them and the result, we thought, was pretty spectacular.  Ryan Hunter-Reay driving a 750 hp Champ Car through Times Square seemed to us to be the perfect synthesis of a modern urban setting and the raw power and beauty of a Champ Car.

What will be your relationship with Molstar?

This year we will be working closely with Champ Car and Molstar to create programming as well as promos that tell the Champ Car story. We've done a commercial that invokes the history of Champ Car (Since Forever is the name of the spot) and have just finished "Champ Car Experience," a humorous take on a civilian driving Paul Tracy's Lola. All of this will be towards making Champ Car more accessible to a wider audience, as well as selling that unique combination of technology and speed that is Champ Car. People have heard that terrible sound like a vacuum cleaner full of marbles that is the IRL and Grand Am and have turned it off in droves. When they hear the sound of a Champ Car, they are hooked for life.

Who will you be working with?

At Champ Car, we work very closely with Dick Eidswick, Joe Chrnelich and Steve Schunk. Dick is wonderful to work with because if there is something about racing that is new to him, he comes right out and asks about it. On the other hand, what he does know about is business. And it's good to know there is an experienced hand on the tiller. Joe Chrnelich is a marketing genius and he understands that marketing must be television driven. Steve Schunk gives Champ Car a strong PR presence. I like the whole team. And that's rare.

Have you made any new hires for this project?

I'm also very pleased to announce that Gordon Kirby, one of the great writers of auto sports and the American editor of Autosport Magazine for the last 32 years, is coming over to Traveling Light. His expertise, knowledge and insight are invaluable.

On the production side, I'm bringing in Jason Markham, a driver and a true gearhead who has worked with me on many auto racing projects for the last 12 years.

Of course, my crew at Traveling Light will be the core contingent of the Champ Car experience and without them, this would all remain a wisp of a notion on someone's drawing board. We can't wait to start racing.

Adam Friedman Bio (So you understand what a versatile guy Champ Car has helping them)
Producer ~ Director ~ Writer

Adam Friedman, American University School of Communication graduate, founded Traveling Light Media in February of 2002. His two-hour A&E Biography on John Travolta that same year tripled the usual audience, giving A&E its highest ratings in years. The program was nominated for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and Adam for Best Director at the 2003 Emmy Awards. This year the riveting and poignant documentary The Crash of Flight 191 received some of the highest ratings ever for The History Channel. Adam recently wrote and directed three cutting-edge promos for Spike-TV involving a 750 horsepower racecar circling the streets of Times Square. Adam also produced, wrote, and directed the feature film “and she was….” The film stars Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld) and Oscar-nominated Brad Dourif (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Lord Of The Rings).

"I just adored it…utterly charming and original, completely endearing. This film says so much about celebrity and how quickly we forget."
- Jeffrey Lyons-WNBC-TV

Adam began his career by convincing ABC Television to let him direct a documentary entitled Wolves In Winter, about jazz musician Paul Winter and his conservation efforts on behalf of wolves. Wolves In Winter was nominated for three Emmy Awards. His next directing effort, Color Me Blue won him his first Emmy Award.

Expanding his horizons, Adam jumped into the world of MUSIC VIDEOS. His work with The Rolling Stones, Daryl Hall and John Oates and Jean Luc Ponty and the Joffrey Ballet, among many others, defined the cutting edge of the genre. His Rolling Stones, Emotional Rescue video was part of the Whitney Biennial, and his video for the Rap group Whodini, Big Mouth, is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. After creating and directing more than 40 music videos Adam directed his first feature film: Medium Straight.

"Medium Straight was the major surprise hit of our line-up. . . Receiving a crowd response unlike anything we saw in the other festival screenings which included Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues, and Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger.”
- Darryl MacDonald, Director, Seattle Film Festival

In 1990 Adam started his own production company, Perpetual Motion Films, after producing and directing the award-winning series Air Combat and Masters of War, he produced over 120 hours of documentary programming including the CINE Golden Eagle Award nominated Kevin Costner Biography and 10 EPIC BIOGRAPHIES for A&E’s BIOGRAPHY SERIES. This work resulted in Biography winning a Cable Ace Award for best documentary series. The Michelangelo, George Washington and Ben Franklin Biographies have been number 1 or 2 atop the Amazon.com documentary sales charts for over 10 years now. His 9-year old daughter, however, still prefers Pocahontas.

In 2000 Adam formed Traveling Light Media – and the rise has been meteoric. Starting with the Emmy nominated A&E John Travolta Biography and a series for The History Channel, Probable Cause. Adam and TLM have been able to provide quality programming for a number of networks such as HBO, Spike TV, A&E, The Travel Channel, The History Channel, Court TV, and Discovery. And under his Mercury Films banner, Adam has acquired the rights to Joe R. Lansdale’s powerful coming of age story, A Fine Dark Line.

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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