This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

February 3rd, 2003

PBS Bought the Series!

My husband, JC, and I have watched a ton of fly fishing televison shows over the years. By this time most are very predictable. Famous person catches big fish in places we won't ever get to. . . and probably fish I won't ever see in person either.

Then there are the "I'm an expert, you are dumb" type, which really don't do anything except promote the expert and/or his favorite manufacturer of the day. I won't even get into the bass ones, except to say some are pretty funny.

There are some exceptions, I like the Spanish Fly, Andy Mills and TU TV has had some good programs as well. But as I said, they are the exception.

JC and I spent some time in both radio and television, on both sides of the camera and mike, so we do know what it takes to do a good show. It isn't as easy it you might think. Putting a program together requires a great deal of co-ordination between many people. What is the show about? Who writes the script? How many cameras are going to be used? Who does the research on the place, the fishery? What 'talent' (people not part of the tv crew) will be involved? Can they talk and fish at the same time? Or even talk intelligently? What about sound? What if the weather is awful? Plan B? Once the filming is done, there is editing, sound mix, background music, voice over, all to fit within a specific time slot. It really is work. A lot of feet of film (or tape) are shot for every foot actually seen in any program.

Getting the program to the public is another huge hurdle! The producers have to find a market for it. Sell it, in other words, to someone. A great show not seen is nothing. Often a 'pilot' or single episode is done to give potential buyers an idea of what a series will be like. A series is usually 13 or 26 weeks, and it isn't easy to think ahead 13 weeks and have all the details ready to roll.

It takes more than the technical skills to pull this all off. It also takes passion and commitment.

This past week JC and I had the distinct pleasure of receiving a couple of videos of a program out of Canada, The New Fly Fisher. Colin McKeown is the Host of this program, and the passion behind it.

The concept behind The New Fly Fisher is not the usual 'me and bubba' or the 'expert takes us fishing'. It is a mix of the place, the fishing, the reason to fish, perhaps the history of the fishery or place, a combination of nature and fishing just like it is in real life (or should be to the thinking anglers). Cool.

The programs we previewed (they are part of the 2003 season shows) included Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout, Women's Fly Fishing Clubs, Bow River Versatility, and an outstanding program on Stream Restoration with editor Chris Marshall of the Canadian Fly Fisher magazine.

If you live in Canada these are already available to you! If you live in the U.S., they CAN BE viewed in your region, FREE. The Public Broadcasting System, (PBS) has already purchased the series! Your local PBS channel can get them absolutely FREE. Here is how you can make it happen. Find the phone number for your local PBS station. Ask for the Program Manager. Ask him to carry the program. If you get any "we can't afford....." tell him the programs have already been purchased by PBS and are available FREE to their station. (There is a link on the New Fly Fisher website for who station managers should contact.)

The thought and content of these programs will make you proud you did. You can read more about the series programs on the New Fly Fisher website.

We at FAOL are all about sharing the knowledge and - and it's terrific to see a television series which feels the same way. Thanks Colin! ~ The LadyFisher

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