The Introducer, My Childhood Dream Job

The Introducer, My Childhood Dream Job

Good morning, Hank. It’s Tuesday So our dad is a documentary film maker And when we were growing up he worked on movies about everything from water in Florida, to education in Alaska. And I guess there is a case to be made that we followed in his footsteps by creating non-fiction video. Except I don’t really think of like this as a documentary. This is more, you know, like very short podcasts featuring facial expressions. Which is a genre of non-fiction video that is far less expensive and time consuming than documentaries and also requires less talent for visual storytelling, which is great because even after more than ten years, I’m still pretty bad at editing video. But one thing I did inherit from Dad was a really deep love for documentary films. Like, Hank, as you know, my dream job has always been…you know what… I’m about to date myself, but there used to be this widely adopted technology called cable television. Basically you would pay a monthly fee in exchange for access to lots of video content. So it was sort of like Netflix, except for some reason you still had to watch advertisements.. It was a weird time…but anyways, there were these cable stations that just showed old movies all day! Like one of them was called “Turner Classic Movies,” And before these movies started, there would be this person who would introduce the movie to you and talk about some of the historical context and who the stars were. Now it occurs to me in retrospect that the introducer probably existed mostly to make the movie longer… like, if you can stretch a 90 minute movie into 120 minutes of content, then you could add 8 minutes of advertising. But when I was a kid that was my dream job, to be an introducer. But not regular movies, of documentaries. These days, documentaries are a lot easier to discover than they were when I was a kid. Netflix, for instance, has an excellent and extensive library, but still, many of my favorite documentaries aren’t on Netflix. Like I’m thinking of the “7UP” series, where a filmmaker has checked in every seven years with a group of people since they were kids in the 1960s. Or “Herb & Dorothy,” a movie about a postal worker and a librarian living in New York City who became two of the world’s leading art collectors. For the classic, “Complaints of a dutiful Daughter,” a gut-wrenching and sometimes hilarious movie about a woman whose mother has Alzheimer’s. Or “Slavery by Another Name,” a movie about the failures of reconstruction and the post-civil war United States. There are so many great documentaries and so few of them ever find a broad audience. But as a kid, my favorite genre of documentary was the nature documentary, where you can see animals in the wild like fighting to survive. I love nature docs because they felt like a glimpse into a world without us, I mean they almost never include humans in the frame and there’s something magical about that. But of course in real life humans can’t be separated from nature, I mean we’re currently nature’s most important species, and the choices we’re making affect every other species on Earth. And that’s what I love so much about the movie Kedi and why I wanted us to help in its distribution. Kedi uses all the conventions of the nature documentary – you get the beautiful cinematography, the fight scenes, the plucky underdog is struggling to survive, the parents caring for babies, but it doesn’t exclude humans from the story. Instead we see the connecting points between a city and its people and its cats. It is a nature documentary that acknowledges that humans are part of nature. And it shows that life for cats is sometimes tender and sometimes cold and always unpredictable, as it is for humans. Now I know that Kedi is currently only available via purchase or YouTube red and that makes it inaccessible to a lot of you. One of the big challenges with documentaries is that it’s really hard to fund them on advertising revenue alone, which is why so few of them are available on free streaming services, at least legally. But regardless, if you do have a chance to see it someday, I really hope you do. It’s a wonderful movie. While I’m fulfilling my dream of being an introducer, two other recommendations: if you live in the United States, PBS has some excellent documentaries that are actually available for free. Also, wherever you live, there is a free and ongoing documentary project that you might enjoy called “The road to Nerdfighteria” about how different people found this little corner of the internet and what it means to them. They’re still accepting submissions and it’s a really wonderful series, links in the doobly-doo below. Hank. I will see you on Friday. End Screen! Hank, I actually won’t see you on Friday, that was misleading and I apologize, but I’m going to be taking like a week or possibly two weeks away from the internet to focus on some writing things. But there will be a video next Tuesday, it’s just that I recorded it in advance. Okay, check out Kedi and The Road to Nerdfighteria! Bye!

100 thoughts on “The Introducer, My Childhood Dream Job

  1. Have you ever heard of CuriosityStream? It's this awesome documentary streaming service starting at $3 a month! It's so awesome!

  2. Guys, could you please make an update about the political crisis in Brazil? Things are getting absurd! We need the international community to know! Thanks 😉

  3. As a Turkish girl it's so weird to hear nonnatives speak Turkish 😀 I'm really proud of Kedi though!

  4. I love vlogbrothers. I love nerdfighteria. I've been here for about seven years. I don't plan to leave now.


    Feels honestly uncomfortable and frankly manipulative that three vids in a row have been nothing but Kedi, inserted deep but thinly-veiled into an otherwise helpful message about free content. "Here's an awesome thing that everyone should experience! But some of you can't experience it! So if you're excluded from this, do this free thing to distract you from what you're missing out on!" I get there's backpedaling and damage control going on due to the reaction to the announcement video, but I'mma be honest: this ain't the way to do it. Could feel this ad coming a long way off, and just cringed in my chair until it was finally mentioned, amazing editing techniques notwithstanding.

    Any chance you could give us an idea when this promo's going to be over? A week? Three weeks? Six? I'd love to come back for your "regular programming," but I just don't have the emotional capital to brace myself against this sort of marketing twice a week.

  5. In third grade, my dream job was an elementary school librarian. The way I saw it, money was no problem and all I ever wanted to do was be surrounded by books all day. In middle school, I realized that what I really wanted was to be an author. The thing about no money and lots of books still holds, of course.

  6. I want to say, thank you so much for helping make Kedi available. I've spent most of my life looking after and rescuing street cats in other parts of the world in similar situations to the ones in Kedi, and really wanted to watch it. Unfortunately, I was unable to get to any of the screenings, mainly due to location, and money, and had given up on that hope. You've been able to make that dream a reality. I still haven't seen it yet, but I'm looking forward to being able to. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  7. Dear Hank and John, my friend and I made an awesome game that's about you two. We would love it if you would play it.


  9. What's to stop you from living this childhood dream John? I mean other than being busy with other things. You could make a playlist (or even channel?) where you introduce documentaries to the Nerdfighter community. We'd just watch your intro video before the documentary. It could also double as a recommended watch list as well.

  10. Hey so I'm going to have a documentary marathon this weekend and I need some suggestion of ones to watch that are on Netflix or PBS. There are just some many on both platforms that I don't know which ones are worth my time

  11. You should watch Best Worst Thing That Could Have Happened… a wonderful/sad/moving tribute and exploration of Stephen Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along. I can't recommend it enough. I watched it 2 times in a row and cried the whole time.

  12. I honestly never had a Dream Childhood Job, that I can't remember. I figured I'd just be a janitor because they make more money then teachers.
    Right now I have many dreams, but the most logical one is just being a Housewife, so I'm good.

  13. My dad bought a VCR right after they came out and taped hours upon hours or National Geographic and PBS Nature specials for my sister and I to watch. I was about 6 at the time. We played those tapes over and over until they wore out.

  14. TCM has no commercials, not a very good example 😛 (although as a person who is younger than John, I accept that its possible TCM used to have commercials at one time)

  15. If you still get broadcast tv (hey it's free), most of the major networks have secondary channels that play old shows and movies, and sometimes they have introducers. Not often, because the cheaper movies generally don't need it, but hey!

  16. John, you always say you should imagine others complexly. Here's a challenge: do a video on the negatives of net neutrality.

  17. John, I too love PBS documentaries. Yet, instead of encouraging us to watch more PBS docs, both the Democrats and the Republicans, including Mr. Trump, eagerly slash funding for PBS. If you want an easy and quick way to determine the general character of your congressional representative, then just find out where they truly stand on this issue.
    John, I hate to get political in response to your wonderful monologue, but sometimes I just despair.


  19. Libraries. Good place to find documentaries.
    Netflix-old school. The DVD version of Netflix still exists. I suspect they have the 7-up films, because they did back in the day.

  20. I really thought of something else at first when he said: "I'm about to date myself." Now there's a ship for the ages.

  21. I really liked the 7up series. I remember a really good one I wished was available called A Child of Our Time, with a similar but more regular updates.

  22. I too am a great doco lover. The ABC here in Australia has made/making a similar series to 7-Up called Life At… If you can find it have a look!

  23. okie!! so im not a real big self promo person, but i figured if there was ever a video to do it on, it would be this. so i covered a hank green song (adult female!) on my channel and i'm trying to make more nerdfighter content so if you could check it out??? that'd be swell!!

  24. I don't remember how I found this little corner of the internet. I probably googled something like "What the hell do I do with my life" or something at any point during the last decade and that's a horrible thing because my life is going by and I still don't have an answer. Or I probably looked up Crash Course American History because I've watched that series so many times, front to end. I just love it. It's fun.

  25. They showed Kedi at our local 2-dollar-ticket theatre and it was really great to see! It is a beautiful documentary.

  26. A little disheartening you chose to back a film like Kedi when stray cats are an epidemic in the US, as are those who let their cats roam free / unaltered because it's "natural" or "kind." Your audience is mostly American; you KNOW it'll inspire more people to let their cats roam and to support feral cat colonies. Your influence matters when you recommend a film.

  27. As an Alaskan, I would love to see Papa Green's educational documentary. Anyone know where I can find such a film?

  28. My TV is only ever TCM! … Well, now that the Twin Peaks continuation has started it's also on Showtime. But TCM is my favorite channel 🙂 (Do people have favorite channels?)

  29. Is there a way to watch the cat documentary without giving any money to Google? Like, IDK, a Patreon-like way I could pay the documentarians directly, with no unethical megacorporation acting as a middle man taking an inordinate cut of my hard-earned money (which I wish to go directly to producers of content)?

  30. John! Have you been on The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World lately? It now features TCM and Rober Osborne!

  31. I have to admit, I've recently gone back and watched all the videos in order for the past year or so and THIS one just got "I want to be a producer, with a top show in Broadway" stuck in my head, but instead of the original, I got "I want to be an introducer…"

  32. The Short Term 12 is a fantastic film on Group Homes and Foster care. I realize in this moment that it's not actually a documentary, but I have thought of it that way since seeing it because it's a real look at what those living situations are really like. You might assume that it could've been hollywooded up, but having worked in the system for a year I can personally attest to the reality of everything the kids go through in the movie. Note, I said the kids, not necessarily the workers.

  33. My god… Your videos are more like historical non-fiction than you could possibly imagine, apparently. I have read countless newspapers over the past decade, and I rarely watch a video without checking the date. Very often I don't have to because of all the references to "current events" happening int he past. I be succinct, this is a great record of your life in cross sections, and your children will love these as much as the love the pages of your books, if not more. It is impossible to prepare a child for their parents death but you have an amazing library of therapy for them if ever needed.

  34. It's 04:08 I am aimlessly watching vlogbrothers videos and randomly watch this and BAM He talks about a Turkish documentary. He says one of my favorite things on earth "cat" in my native language when I don't expect it. Gotta love cats

  35. I guess this is a bit nitpicky on a relatively "old" video, but I think referring to TCM in the past tense, when its cable programming is still very much a part of its brand and business, is doing it a disservice.

  36. Once when I was probably about four or 5, my mom told me "Hailey you are going to find the cure to cancer" and I replied "Mom, I just want to be a fashion diva!" So apparently my childhood dream job was fashion diva.

  37. I loved “Herb and Dorothy!” Here are a few of my other favorite visual and performing artist-related documentaries:
    1. How to Draw a Bunny
    2. In the Realms of the Unreal
    3. Exit Through the Gift Sop
    4. Bill Cunningham New York
    5. The Legend of Leigh Bowery
    6. Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell
    7. Jobriath A.D.

  38. Change to RubberMaid 13 gallons, give them a number, and on an index card, list RM# location, contents etc. Use different sizes ziplock bag for inside the box control. Cover with Mexican serapes cloths, and use the tops to display books. Like with like please.

  39. I always wanted to be a game show host. Super odd but I thought I would rock it and I grew up in LA so it seemed practical to me, so funny I actually believed that!

  40. Next step for youtuber is to brodcast in a room filled with pure oxygen so they can speak even faster spending less time breathing .

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