get Current

Last night I watched a new TV channel that launched yesterday in the UK and Ireland called Current TV (it’s channel 229 in Sky Satellite).

Current was first launched in August 2005 in the USA, and one of its founders is Al Gore. The channel uses a mixture of Viewer Created Content, and reports by Current’s team of journalists. These short non-fiction films are known as pods, and are between 3-7 minutes long. I wish they’d picked another name for the shorts, but that’s a small quibble.

Initially, I thought that it would just replay home videos from YouTube, and I didn’t have high expectations. Much to my surprise, the quality of the pods was very good. Most of the ones I watched were fascinating glimpses into life around the globe. It’s the perfect channel to switch to during the ad breaks. The only problem is that you might end up being more interested in the Current broadcast and forget to switch back.

Anyone can submit work to Current, but of course it will go through a vetting process, first by Current, and then by the members of the Current’s community website. Current is running a contest at the moment to promote the channel, and those of you with a short film on a non-fiction topic should consider entering. Make sure to examine the terms and conditions carefully.

I think the channel is definitely hitting upon a cultural zeitgeist at the moment. It’s unashamedly of more interest to younger viewers – the people who make the pods are younger, and their stories reflect their interests. Writers and filmmakers should consider this channel essential viewing. It’s a useful way to track what people are interested in, and it’s also a great source of inspiration for story ideas.