The Cool Fire (Magill's Literary Annual 1977)
Most discussions of television today are likely to describe the medium as a “plug-in drug,” a “boob tube,” a medium whose message is vulgarity and violence. Undaunted by such criticisms, however, Bob Shanks finds television to be an exciting, vigorous medium in which he is proud to participate. His guidebook aims both to introduce the general reader to the varied components of an all-American industry and, as the subtitle “How To Make It in Television” implies, to provide suggestions to the novice of how to break into the world of television, not necessarily as a performer but as a behind-the-scenes producer, director, or writer.
As a performer, producer, director, and writer of television programs for ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, Shanks has the wide experience and inside information needed for such a book. Currently Programming Vice-President at ABC, he has won two Emmys, is a governor of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has taught television production in New York’s New School for Social Research. His teaching experience seems to have provided him with the impetus for writing, since The Cool Fire could easily serve as a general introduction to television in a college course on the media.
Shanks begins by pointing out that the role of producer of a television program is more crucial than is apparent to the viewer. As the coordinator of a program, the producer provides the creative continuum for a project. The...
(The entire section is 1494 words.)
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