I AM NOT GOING TO LIE, I wasn’t overly excited about my latest job prospect of traditional balsamic vinegar making in Modena, Italy. I love balsamic in all its drizzled goodness, but it just seemed rather tame compared to some of my more recent job exploits overseas – tigers, elephants, and tuk-tuk racing filming. But damn Gina, I was sure wrong.
Somewhere between manning a Ferrari-made tractor and unleashing a flamer thrower on innocent vegetation, did I realize that 1) this Italian family of traditional balsamic makers was Steve McQueen cool, for letting a maniac loose on their estate, and 2) the amazing complexities behind unadulterated ‘tradizionale balsamico’ — versus the street grade stuff we typically buy in the supermarket — made for the perfect Breaking Bad metaphor. People just didn’t get the purity of the real stuff, so I was hell bent on filming a travel video parody using my favorite tv show to bring home that message.
I am still not quite sure how I convinced an Italian family that filming a parody about traditional balsamic was a good idea for a promotional travel video. They had never seen the show, and my feeble explanation comparing the process to an episode of Breaking Bad — how the cooking of methamphetamine by chemist Walter White was just like cooking their ‘pure stuff’ Tradizionale Balsamico di Modena — must have sounded like some crazy bullshit an Italian politician would spit out while trying to get away with whatever shenanigans he was embroiled in that week. Nonetheless they were cool with the idea, and before I knew it, I was deep in the process of making a very awesome, untraditional travel movie.