THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

(QUICK NOTE: I’m currently working on a book… My blogging is a little more sporadic than I’d like it to be. I’m here as often as I can be.)

Three Things:

1. What this blog is about.
2. Who I am
3. But this story really explains it.

1. This blog is about creatives… the people who MAKE STUFF on tv, on the web, on the devices we hold. The stuff that millions “like” on Facebook and +1 on Google. I’m interested in how they’ll continue to make a living, how they’ll continue to do good work, and what constitutes really good media and storytelling. I hate the word “content.” It’s also about the people who hire them — who’s making the decisions and most importantly who’s throwing around the cash.

2. My name is Fred Graver. I’ve been a comedy writer (National Lampoon,Letterman, Cheers, In Living Color), Internet “pioneer” (my email address goes back to 1984, I worked with the Imagineers on the “Collision of the Internet and Media” in the mid-90s, did tons of “interactive TV” at MTV Networks), TV producer (Best Week Ever, The Jon Stewart Show) and Executive (VH1 and The Travel Channel).

3. It’s January, 2010. I’m standing in the back of a suite at the Venetian in Las Vegas, at the Consumer Electronics Show. I’m one of a number of people doing a high-level executive-type demo of some software that could, ostensibly, turn your ugly-ass cable box interface into something resembling the iPhone. I had been an app-entrepreneur for all of 6 months, so I was brought in to help do user interface and design for this software. Why me? It’s who you know, I guess.

We’d done a really good job and the demo was going over gangbusters. High-level Cable Execs were led into the room holding a demo iphone. As they entered, the TV screen in front of them read “Hi (name of cable exec)! Here’s your favorite shows, some of your friends are watching X right now, there’s a movie you might want to watch later, and your wife left notes on the episode of Modern Family that she watched before you got home.”

Cool, huh? On the phone, the user could type in the name of any video on the Internet and it would start playing on the big screen with accompanying interactive features. (Nowadays, you’d tell Siri.) Someone tapped in a video from College Humor. I smiled — I had been at College Humor when they’d created that video.

Everyone started laughing. Standing in the back of the room I had one of those movie moments where the depth of focus goes all crazy and the hero looks like they’re being pulled 50 miles away from the action.

I live in two different worlds. I love technology, love the promise of what it can do and above all love the disruptive, anarchic quality of new technology. But my heart is in tv, it’s where I’ve lived most of my adult life, it’s the thing that makes my heart glad.