Monday, September 6, 2010

Local Television, Cellos, and Me

I am watching one of my TV shows as I write this. It is a concert featuring a local women's chorus and a children's theater production, both directed by the same woman. I produced the show, ran the camera, edited video and sound, added graphics--everything but sing in the chorus.

It's in focus, that much I can say, and there are a variety of different types of shots (close-up and distance). The quality of the sound could be better.

When my kids were 8 and 10, my husband answered an ad looking for children to be in a locally produced cable TV show. I distrusted the ad. It was not grammatically correct. It seemed to play into parents' desires to make their child a star.

I didn't trust the producer of the show, but I found her very intriguing. Insane, might be a better word, just short of evil. The kids enjoyed being in the show. They got to sing and act and play the saxophone. I helped on the show, but, at the same time, investigated the woman and decided to do my own show, in which the kids would be the hosts. My show went on the air a couple of months later, just as hers went off the air. It wasn't much of a victory for me: she died of ovarian cancer. (There is a much longer story here--I have tried to write it as a novel. Someday I will finish that tale.)

And I had a tv show. I kept it on the air for about two years, but it was a grueling schedule. I should mention that our local cable access station has wonderful staff and classes. Anyone who wants to can put on a show. There is a lot of support from staff and other volunteers.

Eventually, though, I ran out of time, energy, and ideas, and the kids entered junior high. We ended the show about 12 years ago. I continued taping school concerts for a while, but moved on to other things (like playing the cello).

Last spring, though, I heard about a new local show that would include short (5 to 7 minute) segments produced by various people. "I could do that!" I thought.

As it turns out, in TV production, as in writing, it often takes longer to produce a shorter piece. My segments, 4 so far, have been about 10 minutes; the last one ran 13 minutes and 49 seconds, though I did give the overall producer permission to cut it, after I finished editing it as tightly as I could.

I soon started taping concerts by local singers and musicians, and have also produced four more-or-less hour-long concert shows. The first was a cello master class with Wendy Warner. She played with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra in May, and, in coordination with that performance, gave a master class to four local cello students (three are students of my own cello teacher). I love that show--I could watch it over and over again--and have!

Ah, the women's chorus show just ended, and the cello show is airing again. It makes me happy, though I do wonder who is watching it. No matter. That is one of the reasons I love local cable access television production. It gives you creative freedom to fill television screens with cello music.

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