TV from the Writing Studio & Bait Shop?

Posted on March 8, 2012


Miss Sadie and the Cowboy don’t know this yet but they are about to become TV stars.  Or perhaps TV meteorites.  We all have to begin somewhere.  I have harbored a secret desire to be a television producer ever since I learned that they were generally paid better than writers and got to tell people what to do.  It didn’t seem likely that this particular career goal was within my grasp at this stage of my life, but you never know what will happen next, especially during March in Michigan.  And now, if all goes well–or even if just a couple of things go well–the Writing Studio and Bait Shop is about to become a powerhouse of Up North video production.  Meet Bert and Joe.

Bert is the guy on the left.   He’s pretty quiet, but stunt dummies don’t usually have a lot to say.  Standing next to him is Joe Carter, the Program Coordinator for the UpNorth Media Center in Traverse City.  They’re in the studio at UpNorth, where Joe was giving our class of aspiring community Producers the grand tour of the facilities.

In addition to the studio, there is a little control room.

It is really tiny, but it is packed with all the equipment a Producer needs to record a program in the studio or broadcast it live.  From the seat where Joe is sitting, you can operate all three cameras and do many other exciting things that I am going to learn all about in the fullness of time. The nine-year-old in the yellow shirt is the class star. I am the class crone.  The young woman in the back is an audio expert who wants to learn more about videography.

Here are a couple of the hotshots who I suspect already know a lot about a lot of things, but you have to take the classes to use the center’s equipment, so here they are anyway.  Here’s Josh practicing to be a talk show host.

I was particularly proud of the artistry of this brooding portrait of John Gessner (Grand Traverse Conservation District) with Bert studying him. You don’t like it? That’s OK, we can fix it in the editing suite.

Yes, that is correct, there is an editing suite, and editing software, and equipment that the certified Producers can check out. If you are from Around Here, you can do this too. If you are from Away, you are going to be astonished at what we come up with. And you are going to be able to watch it streamed online from anywhere in the world. Here is an example: Why Leelanau? Winter Wildlife! That looks like something we might try.  Oh, and Carsten?  Birgitte?  Once they even broadcast a live report from Denmark, via Skype.

There are other examples that are well beyond my aspirations, but I thought I’d give you some links to them anyway, because they are pretty impressive.

  • I like to keep track of local food and farming, and Early to Market, a content-packed lecture on affordable season extension structures for the small farm, is utterly compelling if you have any interest in this sort of thing at all. Craig Schaaf is a wonderful teacher.  (This was part of the Small Farm Conference.)
  • Or how about the National Writers Series evening with Doug Stanton interviewing Vince Gilligan at the City Opera House?  That was another one I watched all the way through.  I do not have TV, so I’ve never watched Breaking Bad, but listening to Gilligan describe the creative process in the writers’ room was compelling stuff.  Doug Stanton is a masterful interviewer, too.

People create all kinds of programs.  Some of them have quite a following – others are probably watched by the Producer’s Mom.  I took a look at one that, if I were the Producer’s Mom, I’d give him a spanking.  But it’s all good, this practice of letting the people have our say in our own way on the great digital soapboxes.  Stay tuned.  Things are about to get really interesting around here.