I get asked, “What kind of content gets shown on Community TV?” The answer is “Whatever walks in the door.” So, what does walk in the door?
People walk in. And truth be told, it is always people with agendas. Fortunately, agendas are as diverse as our community. Sometimes they come with a DVD or flash drive in hand. Others are searching for the American Dream, themselves, a safe place or affirmation.
Big ideas ABOUND
Some of the big idea folks have egos that have difficulty getting through the door. Most often their ideas are about self-promotion. There are always ways to turn what people want to say something about themselves into something non-commercial. 99% of the time these folks eat up an hour or two of my time, then vanish. Noncommercial is our gold standard.
A 7-year old came in, to his mind, ready to make a feature film. He had attended an event at the station. He was inspired. I gave him the same amount of project idea review time as any other random inquiry. I expect him back. I encouraged him to make a 3-minute-stop-action movie someday instead of the feature film he envisioned.
‘My life story can inspire others’ is a common theme. Often these folks are still in the midst of intense introspection. I try to give them the time they need to feel empowered. Sometimes a show name and graphic is created, a camera borrowed, a ‘producer’ folder set aside for their assets. In these conversations, my connections to the social service providers in the community can have value. Rarely do these shows get made but the want-to-be producers are always grateful.
Those with a connection to something bigger than themselves often get further along. Within this group, there is lots of wishful or even magical thinking. 99% of the time ‘turning their ideas into TV’ begins to sound too much like ‘work’. Sometimes these inquiries get diverted to other Make TV options. Some become guest on an existing show or participant in the ‘mission-scaffolding’ shows. They are right making TV is a commitment that extends way beyond the idea.
The mission | The Scaffolding
To serve under-served voices and encourage citizen advocacy is our mission. Herein we endeavor to create platforms for conversation and engagement. We have two programs designed to meet the needs of these seekers. For the curious or those committed to one topic, there is the show CommUnity Conversations (CuC). CuC is ideal for organizations with staff that can share the organization mission and a few stories about services provides. CuC works best for people excited about a topic. Individuals may be wrestling with an idea or supportive of, or curious about anything. The format is limited to two people in conversation. It is most authentic when the two people are strangers to each other. These folks are ‘contributors’. Contributors get the editorial rights of ‘producers’ but have no requirement to learn the technology.
Those who drop in searching for community or with concerns about our word are directed to the conversation show: HumanKind Both Finding a Middle Path (HKB). HKB is our most mission-centric shoe. On one Sunday afternoon a month, people are welcome to stop in and chat with strangers. The conversation can be observed or participated in. At this time the conversation facilitator is a Muslim Chaplain. Up to five people converse about whatever is on their heart.
MAKE TV | Citizen Producers
Those firmly committed to producing an ongoing show with a regular time interval are can become producers. They must create show assets and observe other production before we commit to a schedule with them. We train prospective producers through an observation process. They then decide if they just want a simple have a push-2-play production or a fully produced show.
In push-2-play we provide one video production support person. These shows have predefined assets developed during the planning phase. Assets include an open, close and lower 3rds. Producers can provide images or roll-in video by episode.
Fully produced content requires a commitment of 10 hours per episode. Like push-2-play, the show gets one video production support person. There is always the option to develop a crew that is trained to use all the tools. These productions get four views of the studio experience for post-production editing.
MAKE TV | Citizen CREW
Folks are encouraged to be volunteer producers or occasional contributors. We have not successfully groomed members of our community to be volunteers to help others with production. Our ‘one video production support person’ making near minimum wage for their contributions are actually pretty close to being volunteers and sometimes they are unpaid. Here I will just say – we have the opportunity for growth as an organization and a concept of Community TV as envisioned by the early advocates of this media.