Superman's Pal - Eric "E-Rock" Singer

I discovered Alvaro's Comicboards sometime in 2000 with the TVBoards following soon after. I began posting under my own name before adopting Superman's Pal as a handle. I had been wanting to learn Photoshop for some time as an aid to my artwork and that's the main reason I started submitting banners to the board. At first they were quite crude as I learned to use the program, but I find that tutorials only take you so far; to really learn a program you need a project to work on and banners were it for me. I mostly posted at various DC boards and some of the TV boards. I really became a mainstay at the Wrestling Board when I started recapping their shows on a weekly basis. Between the recaps and the banner submissions I eventually got invited to Mod the Wrestling Board and later the Television Message Board. Unlike the Wrestling Board, I never modified or redesigned the TV board. Life got in the way. New job, new girlfriend with two kids, not as much time for web surfing. I had started a new design for the board a couple of years ago which incorporated animated GIFs to represent video clips of the TV shows we're supposed to be discussing here. A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon my unfinished design and finally decided to finish it, so here it is!

I've been working on the fringe of the television business since late 1999. I walked into a local TV station and got a job as a board op in master control. I was the guy working graveyard shift, running infomercials for about a quarter over minimum wage. It was easy work, although not everyone can follow the format sheet and stay on time. But it allowed me to spend time learning their video editing system when my other duties were done. It was like I was being paid to go to school! I took on the extra work that the editor didn't have time for, which was a good way to prove my worth to the station. Six years was probably too long to stay in that stagnant position but it worked out well. When the producer left at the beginning of 2006, I took over for him. I was a one-man production crew; meeting clients, writing scripts, shooting video, editing commercials and sometimes doing my own voiceover work. It was too much work for one man and therefore very high stress but I learned so much about video production at that job. Near the end of 2008 after almost three years, I got a job as a video editor at an ad agency. I'm basically doing the same job but being paid more and having fellow editors to help share the workload. It's a great place to be and proof that hard work can pay off!

I've always been a big fan of TV and movies and that probably shows in my varied clip selection in the board design. Lately I've learned more about the business side of the industry and that is reflected in the corporate logo links at the bottom of the board. I thought people might be interested in knowing who provides their TV content. Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, corporate mergers have become commonplace amongst the media outlets. At this point the majority of film studios, broadcast networks, cable TV channels, and cable providers are owned by the "Big Six" conglomerates: Disney, Comcast, News Corporation, Time Warner, CBS and Viacom, the latter two being owned by the same parent company.

It calls to mind comments made by Netwon N. Minow, then FCC Chairman who back in 1961 addressed NAB (The National Association of Broadcasters) calling TV a "vast wasteland" and urging broadcasters to use the medium to educate and stimulate rather than simply to entertain, and not to be a slave to the ratings. Unfortunately when all the media in this country are run by Fortune 500 businesses it does not seem likely that they will give up the quest for the almighty rating point. As long as advertising pays for television, and ratings control advertising rates, broadcasters must remain a slave to the ratings.

It's ironic that I work in advertising yet am so critical of it. I have worked with enough businesses to know that they can't survive without advertising. But I think there's a difference between surviving and living fat at the top of the corporate pyramid which is what I'm critical of. The BBC operates on a government grant paid for by tax dollars in an effort not to be influenced by commercial interests. It's the largest broadcast company in the world. The United States' equivalent is PBS whose public image lags far behind the five commercial broadcast networks and hundreds of cable TV channels, probably somewhere between The Style Network and public access.

Anyway, that's more of a soapbox than I intended to climb up on today. I love television because I love storytelling. From Saturday morning cartoons to the space opera like Star Trek and Buck Rogers to sitcoms, wrestling, game shows, music videos and documentaries, it has always sparked the creative side of my brain. I don't think television has ever achieved its true potential as a mass communication device, but with TV merging with internet technology we'll see what the next evolution of communication holds for us. Until then it's a good way to relieve the stress at the end of the work day.

19 June 2012

Back to Television Message Board