Thursday, December 28, 2017

Now Playing 1997-2017

In March 1997 Paul Markoff and I produced, hosted, and recorded our first episode of NOW PLAYING. This movie review show was created to run on the public, educational, and governmental access channel WOCC TV3, which was funded by the city of Westerville and operated by the staff and students of Otterbein University.  On December 13, 2017 we recorded our 550th, and final, episode.

WOCC TV3 is ceasing operations at the end of this year, so as the cable channel shuts down, so has production of the TV show.  I think it’s fair to say that neither of us could have expected that for almost 21 full years we would be on TV, with complete editorial control, to discuss movies.  Much of the show was given to reviewing films playing on a few hundred or thousands of screens, but it's a point of pride that we were able to be a rare place on TV devoting a few minutes to show clips from and talk about less widely familiar titles such as HOLY MOTORS, ABOUT ELLY, and THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER.  We’ve been very fortunate to have the platform and privileged that anyone would take the time to watch.

Contrary to what some might think, making the bi-weekly, half-hour movie review show was not a full-time job for either of us. As an Otterbein employee helping with WOCC operations, I have been able to incorporate producing NOW PLAYING as a small part of my work day duties. Paul holds a full-time job elsewhere. It would have been understandable if changes in life circumstances and demands on time might have brought about this show’s end sooner, but both of us have remained committed to doing it because it’s something we enjoy.

Still, NOW PLAYING would not have been possible solely because of our dedication to making it.  The show also needed the colleagues who granted permission for it to go on the channel and provided other behind-the-scenes assistance, not to mention the students who have worked as crew members as part of their education. We’re thankful to them.

We’re also thankful for the viewers, some of whom we’ve met by chance around town. For various reasons NOW PLAYING was more of an old media program and had little internet presence, so we’ve neither had the positive nor negative interactions with our audience that we might have had if this show lived online.

While NOW PLAYING's final episode will run for a few more days, this is not the end of us talking about films for those who are interested in hearing what we have to say. We’re developing a podcast with a new, to-be-determined name and hope to start making it available in January.  More information about it will be published on this site as we figure out the future.

Whether you have agreed with our opinions or not, we hope you’ve been able to find some of your new favorite films through our discussions on NOW PLAYING. Thanks for watching.

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