One of the great aspects of working for Car Talk Vehicle Donation Services is that we’re able to work with some of the finest folks in the industry. One of those people is our longtime pal, Joe Seamans. Together with his colleague Janet Smith, they annually produce a series of remarkably touching and powerful PBS TV promos for our vehicle donation partners.
His new spots have just been posted on the web site—we encourage you to check them out.
Award-winning PBS producer Joe Seamans.
Joe’s been producing some of the best programming to air on PBS, for more than 40 years. His long list of credits includes acting as producer, writer and director of photography for National Geographic classics such as Great Lakes, Fragile Seas and Treasures from the Past. He was co-producer and director of photography for Serengeti Diary and In the Shadow of Vesuvius. Most recently he co-produced, directed, and wrote The Great Robot Race for NOVA. We thought you’d enjoy this brief Q&A with Joe.
-- Doug Mayer, Car Talk VDS Czar
Car Talk: How embarrassed were you, when it dawned on you that you'd agreed to work for Car Talk?
Joe: Actually, we had already worked with Tom and Ray on a show for NOVA. (Car of the Future, which you can check out here.) So, we’d long since gotten over the humiliation of being publicly outed as connected to the Magliozzis. I will say this, the experience filming wildlife for National Geographic and babies for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, really came into play when we were filming Tom and Ray.
Janet Smith & Joe Seamans attempting to get work out of Tom & Ray, on location in - yes - Iceland, for the NOVA program, Car of the Future
Car Talk: You guys have done tons of really quite impressive productions. How were these spots different for you?
Joe: Joking aside, filming these spots was fun because our subjects were so genuine in their love of their old cars and their love of PBS. All we had to do was document their enthusiasm. In other situations, we have been known to make helpful suggestions and if that didn’t work, we have other “techniques” I'd rather not discuss.
Car Talk: Are the Geneva Conventions involved?
Joe: My lawyer advised me not to answer this question. But I will say that Tom got a bit ornery when we were filming Car of the Future, and the lure of cappuccino wasn’t quite enough to get him to focus.
Car Talk: Tell us about it! We’ll have to trade techniques some time. Can you share with us the process for producing the spots on your end?
Joe: Janet gets a list of prospective subjects and hits the road to visit them as part of a pre-interview. We then choose six people based on a number of factors, including what's in their fridge and their proximity to good restaurants.
Car Talk: What are you currently working on?
Joe: In the true spirit of Car Talk, I'm trying to avoid working altogether—a project that, by its self, I find both challenging and exciting.
Car Talk: Can we have your car for the vehicle donation program?
Joe: Not until I've had my way with it, by which point I assure you it will be worth less than one of Tommy’s junkers. But if you want it then, why yes, it's all yours. I promise!