Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., (www.intermat.tv)
a television company which executive produces programs and consults
with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc.
is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television
in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the
Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery
Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery
Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted
Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation
Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
November 30, 2006
When I last reported, I was writing from the Congress of Science
and Factual Producers in Manchester, England. Following that,
I journeyed down to London for the World Congress of History
Producers, which, while less intellectually stimulating than
Science and Factual, was actually better for networking, meeting
people, having conversations about the art of producing History
The History Congress was more programmatically disorganized
than Science and Factual; physically the venue worked much
The stress of the Iraqi war on relationships between Americans
and citizens of virtually any other country are palpable.
On the Saturday night of the Congress, my friends Ruth and
Drazon, took me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday and
we had a wonderful, long evening together, including a frank
conversation about the feeling of Brits that Tony Blair dragged
their country into the morass with America, hence his impending
departure from Number 10 Downing Street. They are angry with
us and angry with themselves. Not unlike many Americans.
Too many times over coffee breaks the French, Germans, Swedish,
Dutch, Rwandans, South Africans, Canadians, etc., etc. etc.,
looked at me and asked: what were you thinking? At times it
was more personal than was comfortable; it is a sad fact our
world image has sunk dramatically and the post 9/11 good will
At Science and Factual this was discussed from the podiums;
at History it was discussed at the coffee breaks. It was easier
to deal with as an anonymous member of an audience than in
one on one conversation.
All of those conversations reverberated in my mind upon my
return to the States for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Interestingly,
I found that over that whole long, languorous, lovely weekend,
more fall than winter in upstate New York; I did not turn
on the television once. It was not that I was cut off; I read
newspapers, listened to the radio, checked my e-mails and
checked out the headlines on Google News on a semi-regular
basis it was just I felt no need for video diversion.
I had houseguests; we commented at the end of the weekend
that it was calming not to have been blasted with images and
sound from the box and that we had not been cut off. We knew
the situation in Iraq was turning worse; instead of passively
listening, we actively discussed and respectfully disagreed
on a number of points.
It also pointed out to me that the media evolution continues;
the big box is less my constant companion than my trusty laptop.
My media habits have been evolving; while I was not paying
attention my PVR quietly recorded programs I might want to
watch later allowing me not to miss BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
or STUDIO SIXTY ON THE SUNSET STRIP.
While my PVR whirled, saving my pre-selected favorites, NBC
News made news itself by announcing that it was re-categorizing
events in Iraq. As far as they were concerned Iraq had now
officially descended into Civil War. Several other news outlets
followed suit or pointed out they had been calling events
there just that for some time now. But for many it was a defining
moment in the events of the last three and half years. Insurgency
had become Civil War, officially, in the minds of average
Americans if not in the minds of policy makers. Some pundits
declared it the contemporary equivalent of Cronkite declaring
Viet Nam unwinnable.
Against the backdrop of two major intellectual Congresses,
where the ebb and flow of events across history were major
topics of conversation, I spent a long, media contemplative
weekend, recognizing that while I do not know or see where
the historical road is leading, I am acutely aware history
is being made and we are living in one of the great fulcrum
points in time.