Flip the Lens Culture Correspondent FAQ


Flip the Lens’ Culture Correspondent program brings together digitally-savvy creative travelers, cultural tourism professionals and local artisans and tradition standard-bearers. FTL travelers are not professional filmmakers or vloggers; they are people who enjoy travel, meeting local people, and also like making videos.

With this unique platform, you can partner with a local tourism professional to co-produce a video documentary about a dimension of a destination’s local culture. The resulting piece is published on the new and growing Flip the Lens Youtube channel.

Travel photography has been a popular tourism niche since 1888, when the first point-and-shoot camera was released by George Eastman, the founder of Kodak. Today, there are dozens of companies that specialize in tours that revolve around photography, whether it be arranging to see a particularly dramatic scene in just the right light, or capturing wildlife at its finest, or learning highly specialized techniques.

FTL Cultural Correspondents program is an evolution of photography tours, recognizing that travelers today are just as likely to shoot video as take photos–and that many people love the idea of spending time interacting with local people and being able to share the experience digitally.

Today, there are more than 235 companies that specialize in tours that revolve around photography, whether it be arranging to see a particularly dramatic scene in just the right light, or capturing wildlife at its finest, or learning highly specialized techniques. As best we know, Flip the Lens is the first program based on making digital documentaries.

By reporting on their cultural practice and way of life, you pay forward what you learn about another way of life, while also shining a light on our universal human condition.

Flip the Lens believes that the silver lining of the COVID-19 phenomenon may well be a greater appreciation for our connectedness, and a deeper desire to explore that kinship as a primary driver of travel. The days of superficial, bucket list “look at me” travel, with its emphasis on the exoticness of a specific scene as a backdrop for self, is over. The lesson has been to slow down, connect, and respect our unique differences and shared humanity. Flip the Lens invites you to remember the fundamental reason we travel: to learn about life in other places.


We share here answers to commonly-asked questions about the Flip the Lens Culture Correspondent program. If your question isn’t answered here, send us an email to Meg Pier at meg@flipthelens.com!

We wish you a happy travel and filming experience!

Flip the Lens Culture Correspondent program matches travelers who have an interest in profiling a cultural figure with a tourism professional who has the cultural contacts to bring the experience together and provide the necessary logistical support. Together, you and a tourism professional identify a cultural theme for the video, based on your interest. Potential themes are Archaeology; Architecture; Dance; Festivals; Folk Art; Food; Gardens and Landscape; Language & Legend; Maritime; Music; Spirituality; Textiles; and Visual Arts.

Then, your tourism guide identifies an interesting, authentic local culture creator who works in the agreed-upon sector and who would be excited to be the subject of a video. Together, you and your tourism professional become partners in co-creating a video that accurately depicts the person being featured and the local culture.

The Cultural Encounter can be considered a bespoke tour that offers a custom experience involving specialized contacts and knowledge. Your tourism professional will structure the experience and the corresponding fee for the services he or she provides to you. This fee includes fair and appropriate compensation to the cultural figure being interviewed.

To the best of our knowledge, the Flip the Lens Culture Correspondent program is the first of its kind.

Today, you don’t need to be a professional filmmaker, journalist, or storyteller to be able to make a high quality video that shares what you’ve learned about a culture you’ve experienced.

Vlogging and running your own YouTube channel requires a lot of work and money. If you enjoy capturing and sharing your travel experiences digitally without the hassle of maintaining a platform, Flip the Lens might be for you! You’ll be in the company of a community of other people who enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at another culture, and the fulfillment of knowing you are being a digital ambassador for humanity–rather than an “influencer” whose content is about themselves.

Culture Correspondent FAQ Video
This was the first film by Tourism Masters candidate Michele, who profiles Ivano Rota, a Lake Como Renaissance man and woodworker, sculptor, puppeteer, and writer.

One definition of regenerative travel means giving more back to a place than you take. It can be challenging to find responsible, ethical and caring ways to do this. Flip the Lens enables you to make a positive contribution to the future of your destination by paying forward to others what you’ve experienced and learned about its culture. You’ll be creating a documentary that you can feel comfortable will be accurate and have integrity because you will work with a guide who is a member of the local community.

Tourism the world over has been decimated–first by overtourism and then by COVID. Tourism professionals are members of and ambassadors for, their local communities and economies. If you have an interest in contributing in a meaningful way to a local culture, creating a Flip the Lens documentary provides a source of income for the people you engage with to make your film.

You can contribute to regenerative travel by being a Culture Correspondent for the Flip the Lens YouTube Channel. Create a documentary video of up to 20 minutes that features insights into the culture of the place you visit.

By working with a local cultural tourism professional and FTL partner, you can be sure that the piece you create is authentic, accurate and regenerative.

Learn more here.

To be a Flip the Lens Filmmaker, you don't have to be a professional! With only a simple device such as your smartphone you can both film and edit video interviews. Watch our tutorials for beginners and learn everything from the initial recording process to techniques and tips.

We are happy to guide you through the process of learning. Check out our tutorials, which offer step-by-step easy instructions on how to edit a video using iMovie.

And if you get stuck, we can help!

We recommend you to watch our video on ‘How to conduct an Interview?’. The video is a simple explanation of top 10 tips that anyone should keep in mind while conducting a video interview.

During the submission process, the video pieces that you create should be accompanied by a signed statement that the work is original.

As part of the editing process, you will create opening and closing slides that will credit all who were involved in the production, as well as any music you use. You can use our video tutorials as guides to the production process. Meg can direct you to additional resources if you have the need.

You will have your name featured as ‘PRODUCER’ in the credit section of the video that you create. You will be recognised as a filmmaker in all our promotional campaigns. You retain the complete rights to your videos.

Each Culture Correspondent experience is individually curated by the tourism professional you are matched with. Part of FTL’s agreement with tourism professionals is that no cultural figure can be featured more than once.
That said, we cannot prevent the subject of your interview from agreeing to talking to other filmmakers. However, because the subjects of FTL’s Cultural Correspondent are “everyday people”, it is unlikely they will be featured in other documentaries.

Culture Correspondent FAQ

The intent of FTL’s founders is to share positive content that celebrates our unique differences and shared human condition. We also hope to encourage people who aren't fluent in digital technology to learn with the resources we have created.

Flip the Lens is a labor of love for co-founders Meg, a 62-year old retiree. They have invested more than a year in developing FTL. Over time, we anticipate FTL will begin to generate revenue via sponsorship and we envision being able to offer participants a stipend.

FTL’s main role includes:

  • Connecting you with a tourism professional in the destination of your choice who can help you identify a cultural figure to feature in your film, and serve as your co-creator.
  • Providing guidance and technical resources to help you create the video that will be published on the Flip the Lens YouTube channel. FTL has a library of resources on shooting videos, editing videos, conducting interviews and storytelling.
  • Promoting your video after it’s been published.

Flip the Lens serves as a resource and referral source for travelers, and recommends tourism guides and professionals in the destination(s) you are interested in visiting as a Culture Correspondent.

Most of the guides and tourism professionals recommended have worked as “fixers” for international print and broadcast travel journalists. The term fixer is a common one in the diplomatic, news and tourism sectors for someone who is adept at sorting out details, navigating logistics and “making things happen”.

Each Flip the Lens partner has completed training created by FTL that specifically focuses on the needs of content creators and video producers.

The guide or tourism professional you work with to produce a Flip the Lens Cultural Encounter film is essentially creating a bespoke tour for you. The price will vary depending on the country, and the amount of time you spend with your guide shooting the film, and the level of other services he or she provides for you. Each of the FTL guides understand that the experience will extend beyond your time together for follow-up questions, fact-checking or possibly research and image-gathering, for an agreed-upon hourly rate. You and your guide will co-design an experience that suits your budget and fairly compensates your guide.

After you’ve been introduced to your guide and agreed on the specific arrangements, you can book the services directly with your guide via their electronic payment platform.

You will pay in full with a credit card at time of booking via PayPal but payment won’t be processed until the day of your experience. If canceled prior to 24 hours there is a full refund. If canceled within 24 hours of the planned experience, there will be no refund.

The interview subject will be compensated, and that will be factored into the price you are given for the full experience. Needless to say, part of a travel offering being regenerative means that there is value placed on the time and cultural expertise of the local people you meet and film.

It's up to you and the guide or tourism professional that you work with. Be sure to do some brainstorming with your guide to talk through the various ways to approach the subject that interests you.

You could keep it simple and feature a short interview with one culture practitioner, or you might talk to several local people involved in the cultural realm you have decided to make the feature of your film…or anything in between!

The main criteria for Flip the Lens is that your video features local people explaining their culture.

FTL is based on the idea that each and every one of us has experiences that others can learn from. You can feature ANYONE. We are looking for personal accounts that are thoughtful, authentic and from the heart. Your piece could be funny or poignant, shocking,or anything in between. Mind that it needs to be honest, insightful, empathetic, and respectful.

A cultural dimension you may wish to explore in your film could be:
Archaeology & Architecture, Dance, Music, Festivals, Folk art, Food, Gardens and Landscape, Maritime, Language & Legend, Spirituality, Textiles, and Visual arts, etc.

Culture Correspondent FAQ Video
FTL co-founder Meg pays homage to Armenian dolma and Yerevan chef Raya Babinyan, accompanied by Anush Stepanyan singing a folk song especially dedicated to this beloved Armenian dish.

The guide that you work with is multilingual. He or she will act as a translator between you and your interviewee. You can also seek your guide’s help in creating closed captions (from the local language to English) for Youtube.

Culture Correspondent FAQ Video
The first film of Tourism Masters candidate Aida shares the story of how Beniamino Gubitosa of Ticino, Switzerland achieved his dream of becoming a luthier .

Flip the Lens has an agreement with the guides and tourism professionals it works with that changes are to be suggested to a video only if the information depicted is wrong or culturally insensitive. If you've been asked to change something that you don't feel falls into that category, contact Meg at meg@flipthelens.com

You shall receive an email notification on the status of your submission within 48 hours.

If your video is disapproved due to reasons like missing elements or if the content does not comply with our guidelines, you will hear from our moderators. We will provide you necessary time, suggestions, and if possible resources to make those changes/additions. Then you can re-submit your piece.

In other cases where your piece of content does not resonate with the mission and values of Flip the Lens, your video will be disapproved from being uploaded and displayed on the YouTube Channel.

The decision of approval and disapproval strongly lies in the hands of our moderators.

FTL has an interesting approach to connect people. We have an online forum that anyone can enroll into and start a discussion. To start a conversation, introduce yourself to the members.

If you wish to collaborate with someone on your project then you can make good use of the forum to identify people that your thoughts & ideas match with, establish a connection with them and then collaborate to create interesting content.

Culture Correspondent Connection