Producer's Blog

Have you ever wondered what’s on the mind of the people behind the scenes? What do they like to eat during the shoot? Are they interested in the topic or subject they’re covering? Well, if you have wondered, this blog is for you. Biking the Boulevards producer and writer Dan Protess shares his thoughts about biking, Chicago’s boulevards, and anything else that pops into this head. Enjoy!

A Taste of the Boulevards

As a producer, I make many important decisions during the course of my day. To name just a few: I research, write narration, direct the crew, and edit the finished product. But the most important decision that I make—the one that receives the most scrutiny—comes at lunchtime, when I choose where our crew will eat. Each member of our team has his or her own unique needs that I need to consider: the lighting guy might be watching his pocketbook, the cameraman will want something healthy, the intern is a vegetarian, the host can't have anything messy dripping on his wardrobe; and I always want to eat something that's not only tasty, but unique to the neighborhood where we're working. So, after months of shooting—and eating—along Chicago's boulevards, here are a few of the crowd-pleasers that everyone could agree on.

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A Thin Line

If Chicago is "the most bicycle friendly city in the United States", then why am I scared to death every time I bike to work? Is it me? Is my terror unfounded? Am I wrong to give my wife and daughter one last kiss goodbye before I brave the bike lane on Lawrence Avenue?

I never felt this way when I lived in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Dan Protess has been a producer and writer at WTTW11 for 11 years. His recent credits include Chicago’s Lakefront and the Emmy-winning, James Beard-nominated The Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History. He also produces news, public affairs and historical programming for Chicago Tonight. He started working at WTTW 11 in 1999 as the associate producer of the original production of Chicago’s Lakefront, and the associate producer and writer of A Justice That Heals, a WTTW documentary that was shown on ABC’s Nightline. He went on to produce numerous programs for Chicago Stories, an historical documentary series, including Jewish Chicago, Chicago’s First Mexican Church, Chicago’s 1919 Race Riots, and numerous profiles of local luminaries such as Dan Rostenkowski, Lois Weisberg, Art Shay and Father Andrew Greeley.

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