In a sterile white boardroom in ABC Family's headquarters in Los Angeles, two young women are assiduously ignoring a spread of cookies in favor of two more important things: their laptops and a live broadcast of the show Pretty Little Liars playing on a large flat-screen TV.
Dalia Ganz, 28, is the show's social-media manager. She's patiently teaching one of the beautiful young actors on the show how to live-tweet this episode.
"Include #prettylittleliars in your answers," she instructs. That is a literal transcription of her words.
While most American homes still have a television in the den, how we watch, and what we watch, is changing. Computers, tablets, smartphones, DVRs and video game consoles have redefined what television is.
Viewers have officially become a multiscreen culture. And that means the TV industry is changing, as well. Consider that 36 million Americans watch video on their phones, according to the Nielsen ratings company.
About a year ago, writer Jason Sheeler was working on a story about Hermès scarves — the elaborately decorated silk squares that can cost as much as $400. He traveled to Lyon, in southern France, to visit the factory, and on his first day there he found an even more interesting story: A French woman threw out a big scarf with a turkey on it and asked Sheeler if he knew Kermit. He didn't.
Kermit, as it turns out, is Kermit Oliver. He lives in Waco, Texas, and he's the only American to ever design scarves for Hermès.
Seventy-five years ago, J.R.R Tolkien wrote a book for his children called The Hobbit. It isn't just a landmark piece of fantasy literature; it's a movement — a work that's inspired everyone from director Peter Jackson to the band Led Zeppelin to Leonard Nimoy (who recorded his own homage to the book in the late 1960s — "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins").
In 1969, four moppy-haired musicians named John, Paul, George and Ringo walked single file on a London crosswalk and made one of the most iconic album covers of all time. Today, a steady stream of Beatles fans and London tourists are still eager to walk in the footsteps of the Fab Four on that famous stretch of asphalt.
The countercultural revolution of the 1960s may have been all about sex drugs and rock 'n' roll, but for one young Texas singer it was all about the blues. No one sang the blues quite like Janis Joplin.
Joplin was part of a legendary line-up of musicians at Woodstock in 1969: Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Joan Baez. She wasn't on the music scene long, though. Joplin died in 1970 of a drug overdose. She was only 27 years old, but in that short time her bluesy rasp helped define the music of a generation.
Filmmaker Ross McElwee is a one-man crew: soundman, cameraman, narrator. He reached a wide audience with his sweet documentary Sherman's March, which chronicled his journey through the South searching for love. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1987. He's made five documentary features since then.
McElwee's latest film is Photographic Memory — and it presents a different side of the director.
Early in Photographic Memory, we see McElwee in a small town in Brittany, France, in a state of digital disorientation.