TV"s Max Lugavere and Jason Silva answered a few questions
for PCM. Find out what Current TV is all about, what it
is like to work with Al Gore, and why their faces will grace
GAP's new Fall 2008 ICONS ad campaign!
Question: How did we end up as the founding hosts/producers
of Al Gore's Emmy winning Current TV?
Max Lugavere: We made a short documentary together, about
12 minutes long, during our graduating semester at the University
of Miami where we were best friends. The film was about
hedonism and spirituality - how we were able to reconcile
lifestyles of indulgence with the fact that we're both ultimately
seekers at the end of the day. It was called Textures of
Jason Silva: The name of the film was taken from The Hedonistic
Imperative, an online futuristic philosophical manifesto
about ending all forms of suffering. We completed our short
and sent it to the(then unnamed) television network that
Al Gore was co-launching - they were looking for "passionate
storytellers to help transform television." We figured
it was a long shot, but felt that our film definitely had
an irreverent visceral quality to it and that perhaps it
would shine through. A few weeks later we got a call from
Current's wonderful President of Programming, David Neuman,
who subsequently flew us out and offered us full time positions.
Q. What's so cool about Current TV?
Jason Silva: Current is a 24 hour international TV network
that is based around short documentaries, about whatever
is going on in the world of young adults like us. It can
be about fashion, spirituality, politics, music, whatever-
so long as the short clips, or "pods" as we call
them, are interesting and you can learn something from them.
Max Lugavere: Current's coolest feature is what we call
VC2 or Viewer Created Content. It's taking what has made
'user-generated content' sites like YouTube so popular and
bringing it to television, full time. Current creates its
content with the audience as a conversation, whereas traditional
television has long been a sort of one-way rant from big
network conglomerates. On Current, audience members submit
their own 'pods' via the website (www.current.com) where
the most compelling of which - as judged by the online community
- are chosen to go on the TV channel, making Current a totally
authentic reflection of its audience.
Q: What do you do there?
ML: We are the full time hosts, or VJs, stringing all the
random documentaries together- sort of acting like the glue-
that brings you back after each segment with additional
info, context, etc. We are like the anchormen for a generation
that doesn't like traditional anchormen.
JS: We also produce content, because we were hired as filmmakers.
We're given free reign to cover any story we want, and we
usually take that opportunity to go after passion projects-
whether it's a cause that we think is really cool or a musician
that we really like, etc.
Q. How have your lives changed since you became public figures?
JS: We get recognized all the time here in LA and even
more so when we are in New York. NYC is literally where
we actually get stopped in the street. It's great to be
able to get into any lounge or club with minimal fuss. Most
importantly, though, it's been amazing because we're becoming
known as sort of "new media trailblazers..."
ML: Yeah, where if you're starting a project in this new
media, cross platform space and you're cool, socially conscious,
and are out there to make the world a better place, we've
become the go-to ambassadors for "faces." Take
Pangea Day for example ... it was incredible- a 4 hour live
TV broadcast in front of 500 million people and 152 countries,
with the sole goal of uniting people through the power of
film. It was put together by the TED Conferences and we
hosted the entire thing with Lisa Ling and a Kenyan filmmaker
by the name of June Arunga.
Q. What is it like to work for Al Gore? Do you deal directly
ML: He's a rock star - a totally charming, funny and warm
guy. We always get the 'double hug' when we see him . "Da
boys!" is the usual greeting, followed by a huge hug.
JS: He is the coolest guy - so smart and generous with
his time and down to earth. He is the chairman and co-founder
of Current. We see him every once in a while, as he travels
a lot. The parties are great, though. The wildest part is
being on a first name basis with the guy.
Q. What does the future hold for Current TV?
JS: Current is the fastest growing network in TV history,
more than tripling its US coverage in barely two years.
Today it can be seen in 58 million TV households as well
as on the Internet.. We have also launched in the UK. Against
all odds we are a success story. The future holds more expansion,
international reach, etc.
ML: Yeah, I would say just further growth and notoriety.
Current rocks and many more will soon find out. We're just
stoked to have been there since the company had only a handful
of employees. It's family for us at this point.
How did you become two of GAP's new faces for their Fall
2008 ICONS campaign?
JS: The opportunity came to us based on our work with Current
TV and Pangea Day. We're really excited!!!
ML: It's incredible exposure for what we do and of course
the revolution that is Current TV. Can't wait!