A year abroad at National Taiwan Normal University during his university days encouraged Ellis to return to Taiwan to live and work at the end of 2001. Intending to stay for just one year, he ended up working at the English daily Taiwan News for several years before moving to FTV.
What has kept Ellis in Taiwan and at FTV is the fast-paced and intense environment of the television newsroom.
“It’s never boring, every day’s different — there’s just so many possibilities, especially when you’ve got to condense everything into a small show,” he said. “You’ve got to be so succinct, there’s no room, there’s no time and there’s no space for any extraneous information and so writing for TV is a real skill…it’s one I didn’t appreciate when I went there [FTV].”
While the show may not appear as slick as an international news program, Ellis said that local organizations are taking notice and over the past several years, the program has been nominated for a number of awards.
Ellis continues to work for Discovery and also writes for the channel’s popular program Fun Taiwan (瘋台灣), collaborating with his friend and the show’s presenter, Janet Hsieh (謝怡芬). He is also working on a documentary to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/21 earthquake.
In between eight-hour work days at FTV and writing for Discovery programs, Ellis still finds the time to play soccer in several local leagues and mountain biking.
And he would rather be busy working than idle.
“I know myself … if I didn’t do it, I’d be sitting at home watching TV,” he said.