A Film-Lover’s Approach to Travel: In Conversation with Lisa Iannucci

August 1, 2018

Travel take us to new worlds, and so too do films. When we watch a movie we are transported across other cultures, over mountains, and thrown into new atmospheres. Film and travel have much in common. In her recent book, On Location: A Film and TV Lovers Travel Guide, Lisa Iannucci zooms in on these commonalities and takes us on a journey to famous TV and film sets. Readers learn the history of famous sets and about actors and actresses along the way. We had the opportunity to speak with Lisa Iannucci about her book and writing process; here’s a glimpse into our conversation.

As someone who has lived abroad and traveled and been invested in film and television, how did you choose which sets to include?

I live in the United States and this book is United States-based only. I am working on an international version. These aren’t ‘sets’ per se. They are filming locations, yes, but the films/television shows are already shot and these are the sets that are either left behind for guests to see or a museum based on their favorite show or TV/film star. I’ve been to many of them in the book just in my own travels. They are open to anyone who wants to see them and I include all of those instructions in the book. I literally researched this book going state by state and finding everything possible that a film/TV lover might want to see, including what I already mentioned, and more. I also included any statues that have been created so that you can take a selfie with one of your favorite celebs.

I’m very curious how your time as a film/TV writer influences your experience writing about the locations and sets themselves in your current book.

My time as a film/TV and travel writer really was the reason why I wrote this book. I started learning about all of these amazing places to see but there wasn’t one particular place to tell readers how to find them, so that was when I got my idea. I get so much that crosses my desk about travel packages, museums, conferences, cruises, comic cons, etc. that I knew it was time to become the expert in this area. Plus, any time that I traveled I always looked for places that were film/TV-travel related and I knew others would want this information too.

What do you think are the major interconnections between film and travel?

Well, how many times have you watched a film and thought “that’s gorgeous, I want to see (fill in the country or area)?” That happened to me. I literally cried the first time I saw Under the Tuscan Sun. Prior to that, I never had an emotional experience with a setting of a film but, for some reason, the shots of Tuscany brought me to tears. Honestly, I haven’t been to Tuscany yet, but it sparked my whole new love of travel that sparked my website and then my book. So many people say Eat, Pray, Love did it. For others it’s a TV show like Game of Thrones. That’s the connection. Films bring out emotions, but also show us places that are possible to see.

Something I loved about the book was your ability to make us as readers feel as if we are in the very locations with you. How do you accomplish this?

I see this stuff from the true fan’s eyes. I know what they would be interested in knowing about so I made sure to include that information.

On Location: A Film and TV Lover’s Travel Guide is useful, insightful, and at times funny. What do you hope readers gain most from it?

Thank you so much! I want them to check off the places they want to see, throw it into their suitcases and travel! I’m sure I missed some things in this book and I want the readers to tell me about them too. Mostly though, I want to open their eyes to things that are in the United States that they didn’t know about.

What is your favorite film, favorite TV series, and favorite travel destination and why?

Favorite film? I could go on forever, but I think I’ll name Under the Tuscan Sun right now. It is a liberating movie. This woman goes through a major blindside of a divorce and takes her life in a new direction, in a new country. I admire her so much and, holy crap, she ends up in Tuscany!

Favorite TV series – Right now I love Glow, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, Mom and well, I can go on. I also love The Amazing Race because I see all these places I might want to visit.

My favorite travel destination is usually the last place I’ve been! One of my favorite things I’ve done over the past few years is go to the Lucy Comedy Fest in Jamestown, New York. I’m a huge I Love Lucy fan and this was a dream come true.

About Sharon Zelnick

Sharon Zelnick is Pink Pangea’s Outreach Coordinator. Sharon holds an MA in comparative literature (summa cum laude) from Leiden University and a BA in liberal arts (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University. Originally from the US, Sharon has lived in the Netherlands and Israel and has traveled extensively through Europe, the Middle East, and Central America.

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