We have been out of the studio for a few weeks now. Though we have not been taking things easy.
As with all of life in general we had some problems arranging some interviews, people were busy and there were some puppy shortages at local puppy raising groups to name but two of the obstacles to our calendar.
It is not easy being a producer of a magazine program like ‘Blindside Fresno’, but hey what am I complaining about? The program is great fun to make and we are now just about to go into the studio for some more recording sessions.
So What Will Be In The New Series?
We will be trying a new idea for one of our programs. We will have a series of sketches reflecting blind peoples experiences of “Good Samaritans” insisting on ‘helping’ and how we are often treated by servers in restaurants. We will show the good way to do things and the bad way to do things. Servers especially should take notes here, bad service impacts YOUR tip. So see if you are doing the right things and learn how to make your blind customer a great tipper.
Also we will be taking a look at blind parenting from the other side. The point of view of children of blind or visually impaired children. That will be an interesting show, following our interview with two blind moms last season.
We will also take a look at the world of puppy-raising, talking with current puppy raisers in Fresno and the Central Valley. Asking them about the great work they do for organizations like Guide Dogs for the Blind. What is it like to give back a puppy that goes on to make a guide dog? Is it aas heartbreaking as we imagine? Watch out for that one, we are hoping they will bring a cute puppy or two into the studio.
Plus we will have more news from the Blindside in Fresno.
Have you seen in movies where the Director of a television show screams at the ‘producer’ to bring him a coffee or a host whines that they need more M&Ms in their trailer?
You get the impression that the job of the Producer is to be the gopher for everyone in the studio. Well actually the producer is no-ones gopher. By the time a program makes the studio a producer has done a lot of work. The gopher in the room in television is the production assistant, a very different job but still one which deserves respect.
Many people often do a double take with me when I say I produce a television show. “But you can’t see?” “You are blind …”
So being able to see has very little to do with television production from a producers point of view.
So What does a Television Producer Do?
A television producer is the lynch pin of any television production. They are the one who looks at a concept for a program, brings together a studio crew including director, host, sound, lighting, set design, camera crews, They approach the broadcaster to sell the concept and they bring in ancilliary people to create the program, editors, costume, hair and make-up. They also arrange the most important part of production feeding a crew.
Catering is very important to a television show. Crews can spend hours on set and working with an empty stomach will soon lead to crews abandoning their positions to find a local fast food palace.
Being blind does not make the production side easy. I still have to know what everyone else is doing, I still have deadlines and I have to be able to express my ideas and concepts about a show to others.
So maintaining a great working relationship based on respect is a must. All these people around me can be my eyes. They want to create a good product, a TV show that people will want to watch and a show which the TV studio will want to play again.
Personally I like to work with people who will talk to me. I want to be able to talk with any member of the crew. Directors especially and have them express ideas. It is difficult for me to understand what is going on if there is no discussion, then I find the programn is not what I wanted and so much time and effort on other peoples parts is wasted. Rarely has working with an uncommunicative director ended up in a better program for me.
But for the most part I love my crews to have fun. They can have a laugh, joke, get to know guests and such. This provides a more relaxed atmosphere and having relaxed guests works better for my programs.
So I hope this post has given you some insight as to how a blind man can be a television producer. It can be hard work, there are parts I don’t enjoy but for the most part it is the best job I have ever had.
William Elliott is from England. He came to the United States to live in 2006. He is married and is the Producer of ‘Blindside Fresno.
William worked in retail for many years, working in and then operating a family store before working for a major retailer in the U.K. After coming to the United States in 2006 he returned to school majoring in History with a minor in Political Science. He worked for several years at a public library leaving there as his eyesight continued to fail and it was neccessary to move closer to support services.
In late 2015, he came across Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) a community television facility in Fresno, California. He became a member and volunteer there, taking classes in studio and field production, editing and script writing.
He says, “CMAC is one of the best things that has happened to me. I work with lots of great people. Volunteering on many shows brings lots of ideas.”
William began preparing his ideas for ‘Blindside Fresno’ in the early days of 2016 and recorded his first program, An Interview with Dr. Vivian Kim, Retinologist’ a few months later.
Seeing the vision of a television program aimed at educating the sighted as well as inspiring the blind and low vision community was something very special.
He is now planning a fourth show in the series. The show is broadcast monthly via cable in the Fresno and Clovis areas and is available on YouTube soon after broadcast by CMAC.
There are several program ideas in the pipeline, enough to take the program through the middle of 2017