American Masters: Creative Spark

Air date: 10/07/2021

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?

The new season of American Masters: Creative Spark presents narrative interviews that go in-depth each week with one iconic artist about the creation of a single work. Episodes feature Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris, Pulitzer-winning poet Jericho Brown, Pulitzer-winning playwright Michael R. Jackson, comedian Atsuko Okatsuka and others.

Whether it is Morris explaining the thinking behind a controversial film, Okatsuka sharing what makes a joke land or Brown examining the rhythm of a prize-winning poem, every episode of this season of American Masters: Creative Spark will offer a unique window into the world of art and the creative process. Imagine if “Song Exploder” moved beyond music, or if Inside the Actors Studio added playwrights, poets and stand-up comedians to its rotation.

The new season of American Masters: Creative Spark launches October 7. It’s available free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Joe Skinner is the Webby award-winning host and founding producer of American Masters: Creative Spark. Joe serves as Digital Lead for the award-winning PBS series American Masters and oversees digital content and strategy for the series. He is also a filmmaker, archivist and lover of nonfiction storytelling.

American Masters: Creative Spark is produced by Joe Skinner. Michael Kantor is executive producer. Matt Frassica is Producer on Episode 1: Errol Morris on “American Dharma.” Music composed by Hannis Brown.

Funding for American Masters: Creative Spark is provided by the Anderson Family Fund and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

About American Masters

Now in its 35th season on PBS, American Masters was recently nominated for two Primetime Emmy® Awards. The series illuminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation’s most enduring artistic giants—those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape—through compelling, unvarnished stories. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned widespread critical acclaim and 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, an Oscar, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers full episodes, film outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the podcast American Masters: Creative Spark, educational resources, digital original series and more. The series is a production of The WNET Group.

About The WNET Group

The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the nonprofit parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; and ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider. The WNET Group also operates NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network, and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. Community-supported, The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.




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Gael García Bernal and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan on the set of "Old" Photo Credit: Phobymo/Universal Pictures

Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan on the set of "Old" Photo Credit: Phobymo/Universal Pictures

M. Night Shyamalan on the set of "Old" Photo Credit: Phobymo/Universal Pictures

Errol Morris Photo Credit: Nubar Alexanian

Michael R. Jackson Headshot Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Atsuko Okatsuka Photo Credit:

Atsuko Okatsuka Photo Credit:

Atsuko Okatsuka Photo Credit:

Kim Gordon Photo Credit: Natalia Mantini

Jericho Brown Photo Credit: Stephanie Mitchell

Don Hertzfeldt Photo Credit: Courtesy of Don Hertzfeldt