MTV News producer Todd Brown was sitting in his car outside the UCLA mental hospital waiting for Britney Spears to emerge when he realized his career had taken a wrong turn. After graduate school, he had envisioned becoming an international TV-news producer reporting on social issues from the farthest regions of the globe.
That night, he decided to follow his dream. Over the next year, he began editing a friend’s scripts and tapes from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and selling them to Current TV. Together they decided to start a production company in Southeast Asia that would produce short documentaries for the thousands of NGOs in Cambodia, many with websites but most without video content. If these NGOs could show the great work they were doing, Brown believed, then maybe more people would empathize and be moved to take part themselves through donations.
He packed up his apartment, sold his car, bought a one-way ticket and moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to put his ideas into action. The result: Asia Media Lab and the associated YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/asiamedialab).
Brown shoots, writes, produces, and edits all the pieces and works with a Cambodian assistant for translations and transcribing.