The solution -- the thing that will ensure the brightest future for independent film on PBS -- is to invest in marketing and varied distribution, rather than clinging to the old ways.
At yesterday's PBS Listening Tour that was ostensibly devoted to the subject of the future of independent film on PBS, I spent two hours listening to independent filmmakers and PBS executives discuss scheduling.
I hope PBS's Independent Film Listening Tour can spark constructive conversation. And I hope that local and national PBS executives emerge from these conversations and others like it with heightened awareness that (a) being associated with indie films and documentaries is good from a brand standpoint and good for reaching new audiences, and that (b) showcasing diverse and independent voices is essential to the mission of public media...and doing so may require new ways of doing business.
When I was in my 20s and feeling lost (as opposed to when I was in my 30s and feeling lost, or, earlier, when I was in my teens and feeling lost), I had the good fortune of taking a yoga class at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC, where, in the changing room, I saw a flyer for a book group that would save my life.
Life's too short for stern.
Using Big Bird as a symbol of PBS's value is disingenuous and obscures the legitimate questions of (a) whether PBS is essential and (b) whether it should be federally funded. And I say that as a former PBS employee and huge champion for public media.
I was slated to give a presentation to PBS and NPR stations about using social media in meaningful ways. Then it snowed.
My friend Kevin Dando at PBS interviews Tina Fey, who's being honored this month with the Mark Twain Prize for Comedy - and so my public media and comedy worlds collide...