American Masters: Creative Spark American Masters: Creative Spark is a Webby-winning arts and culture podcast that explores what makes a master. Following the model of the signature PBS biography series, American Masters: Creative Spark celebrates diverse artists and cultural icons who represent a wide range of disciplines, from music and comedy to poetry and film. How do today's masters create the works that move their audiences? What goes on in their heads as they create? What struggles do they overcome and what limitations must they accept?Funding for American Masters: Creative Spark is provided by the Anderson Family Fund and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
American Masters: Creative Spark

American Masters: Creative Spark

From WLIW

American Masters: Creative Spark is a Webby-winning arts and culture podcast that explores what makes a master. Following the model of the signature PBS biography series, American Masters: Creative Spark celebrates diverse artists and cultural icons who represent a wide range of disciplines, from music and comedy to poetry and film. How do today's masters create the works that move their audiences? What goes on in their heads as they create? What struggles do they overcome and what limitations must they accept?Funding for American Masters: Creative Spark is provided by the Anderson Family Fund and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Most Recent Episodes

Don Hertzfeldt Animates Stick Figures Into Existential Masterpieces

Two-time Oscar-nominated animator, writer and filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt is considered one of the most influential figures in animation. In his first-ever formal podcast interview, he breaks down the long journey that went into making his 2012 feature film, "It's Such a Beautiful Day." The existential story at the heart of the film often mirrors many of the challenges Hertzfeldt faces as a fiercely independent animator with a do-it-yourself approach. His process is arduous, to say the least. The legacy of "It's Such a Beautiful Day" and Hertzfeldt's iconoclastic filmmaking technique continue to influence a whole new generation of animators to this day.

Atsuko Okatsuka Jokes Around

Comedian Atsuko Okatsuka does everything. The touring comic, actress, writer, dancehall dancer and podcast host is everywhere and works tirelessly. She even famously performed a stand-up set in the middle of an earthquake — and got lots of laughs. Okatsuka also just made her late night debut on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," proving to a national audience that she is a rising star with her quick wit and off-kilter approach. Here she talks about what drives her to create and "nerds out" on how she writes jokes. Watch and Listen to more from American Masters.

How Kim Gordon Makes Music

Musician and artist Kim Gordon is known for being the coolest person in the room. She is one of the co-founders of Sonic Youth, the band that pioneered alternative rock for 30 years with albums like "Daydream Nation" (1988) and "Goo" (1990). Today, Gordon is focused on her solo work as well as new noisy and avant-garde collaborations. Here the music icon breaks down how she made the satirical song "Air BnB," a single from her debut solo album "No Home Record," in this rare glimpse into her creative process. Watch and Listen to more from American Masters.

Making Movies with M. Night Shyamalan

For decades, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has been telling original stories with movies like the Oscar-nominated hit, "The Sixth Sense" (1999), "Signs" (2002) and "Split" (2016). In today's Hollywood system, this has turned Shyamalan into something of an iconoclast. Here he breaks down his independent approach to making his most recent thriller, "Old," and how his deep love for moviegoing as a kid continues to drive the way he thinks about his craft. Watch and Listen to more from American Masters.

Jericho Brown Takes on Tradition

Poet Jericho Brown won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection "The Tradition." The poems are vivid works of beauty and agony - each word delivered with a strong sense of urgency. Brown breaks down the process behind writing the collection's titular poem, "The Tradition," and the many layers of his ever-changing consciousness that inspired its creation. Watch and Listen to more from American Masters.

Understanding the History and Mystery of Michael R. Jackson

"A Strange Loop" has a lot to say in a one-act show. The metafictional musical is playwright, lyricist and composer Michael R. Jackson's meditation on self-perception, race, sexuality, art, faith, identity and everything in between. The off-Broadway success of this ambitious work earned Jackson the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He breaks down the emotional journey behind "Memory Song" - the first song he ever wrote music and lyrics to and the penultimate song in "A Strange Loop." Watch and Listen to more from American Masters.

Errol Morris vs. Steve Bannon

Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris broke open the documentary form with his early embrace of re-enactments and stylized lighting and music. His film, "The Thin Blue Line" (1988), put this reputation front and center, and his Oscar-winning film, "The Fog of War" (2003), cemented his legacy. He also has an irresistible attraction to controversial interview subjects - and "American Dharma" is no different. He breaks down the process behind this 2018 film on political strategist Steve Bannon and the controversy that came with it. Watch and Listen to more from American Masters.

Introducing – American Masters: Creative Spark

How do today's masters create their art? American Masters: Creative Spark presents narrative interviews that go in-depth with one iconic artist about the creation of a single work. Whether it is Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris explaining the thinking behind a controversial film, comedian Atsuko Okatsuka sharing what makes a joke land, Pulitzer-winning poet Jericho Brown examining the rhythm of a poem, or filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan describing filming during the pandemic, each episode offers a unique window into the world of art and the creative process. Hosted by Joe Skinner. New episodes come out on Thursdays starting October 7th.

48. Actor and playwright Wallace Shawn

Although he became famous for his work as an actor in films like "Clueless", "The Princess Bride" and "Toy Story," Wallace Shawn is also an Obie Award-winning playwright and author, known for his experimental and challenging writing on class politics and morality. Josh Hamilton talks with Shawn about this dichotomy, as the duo explore the ways in which we identify ourselves and find value in our work and life.

47. Musician Miles Davis

Miles Davis is widely regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in music. To celebrate the new documentary on the jazz legend, American Masters - Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, filmmaker Stanley Nelson talks with Miles Davis' nephew and drummer, Vince Wilburn, Jr.