This program looks at the wide range of adaptive technology available to the blind and visually impaired community.
Tom Randall, Nathan Romo and I meet in the ‘Blindside Fresno’ studio to look at all kinds of gadgets from cheap and cheerful to some pretty expensive tech. As technology expands the good news for blind people is that more technology is being created for the mass market and much of this technology is accessible to the blind and visually impaired.
While we did find one or two gadgets which are more expensive because they are created for the blind and visually impaired market we also found lots of useful and important items at realistically affordable prices.
So if you have been blind or visually impaired for many years or you are just coming to terms with loss of sight then take a look at this video introduction to some of the neccessary technology out there.
On November 30. I was honored to appear on a regular feature program at Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) call ‘Members Only.’
Just one year ago in November 2015 I worked on the show as a camera operator completing my studio training class. Little did I know back then that just twelve months later I would appear on the show as a guest producer.
The show shares the experience of producers of all kinds of shows with new members and by watching the program regularly you can find inspiration for new ideas and also get to see that those niggly experiences, annoyances and iritations are common to most producers rather than the gods throwing a spanner into your work personally.
I appeared on this episode, Episode 21. I am the second guest on the show. To read about the experience see my blog “In the Studio: Members Only”
By clicking the link below you can see the complete episode of ‘Members Only’
‘Blindside Fresno’ continues its programming with episode five. Broadcast on November 15, 2016 by Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) in Fresno California. This program was part two of an interview with two moms who have low vision and blindness.
Debbie Flowers is a High School teacher of Special Needs Students and has a degenerative eye condition which has caused her to lose most of her vision over her lifetime.
Sarah Harris is a full time mom who was suddenly blinded in a car crash just before learning she was pregnant with her daughter. So had to cope both with vision loss and being a new mom in short succession.
They talk about some serious issues about blindness, vision loss and child rearing, but for the most part look at their lives from the humerous side. Showing blindness and disability breed a love of life and requires a great sense of humour.
Blind dates can be nerve wrecking. You don’t know anything about the other person, you don’t know what he or she looks like and you don’t know if he or she can actually see.
Well a couple of my friends from Community Media Access Collaborative, Anita Fernandez and Alvin Arizaga act in this sketch calld “Mystery Date.”
Anita wrote, produced and performed in the piece about two people meeting on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. The result is funny and there is a really great performance from Alvin who shows his skill as a physical comedian.
So sit back and enjoy “Mystery Date” by Anita Fernandez.
As a visually impaired person myself, I have to say meeting people who perform all these antics is all too familiar. In this skit it is funny, inreal life, well not so. So if you meet someone who you think is blind do us both a favor and just behave like a normal person. You don’t want me to think you are a complete idiot. Do you?
One of my interests is history. I have always enjoyed history and recently I created a program about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot in the year 1605.
Because of the opportunities open to me now at the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) studios I decided to try to create a history program using the green screen fascilities.
So back in the summer, August I began planning “Remember, Remember,” a program about the Gunpowder Plot in England in 1605. Some of you may be familiar with the tale which was also used as a theme in the movie “V For Vendetta.”
The program took about one month to research and put together. I personally love the historical research part of the job. Then I booked the studio for several hours in September. This may seem early but in order to make the program in time to be released before November 5 it had to be finished and sent to the scheduling department by mid October.
A lot of TV work involves planning backwards. Have a broadcast date in mind. Put in the broadcast request at least two weeks before, arrange to have the program edited at least 72 hours before that last possible broadcast request date to allow you to watch and suggest possible final edits. So that is why many Christmas Holiday programs are recorded in the Summer. You have lots of deadlines to meet prior to that final airing.
Well we had about two hours of recording in the studio, that was edited down to just over thirty minutes. Since I cannot read an autocue machine, a script running under the camera lens, all of the words had to come from memory. Thus makin lots of mistakes is an occupational hazard in such productions. But my crew worked with me. Inputting lots of ideas as we went along.
Then after the recording and making of back-up files we spent two weeks about thirty hours in editing and rendering the final product submitting on time for broadcast on November 3.
You Can see ‘Remember, Remember: What is Guy Fawkes Night” by following the link below.
With the coming of Fall and Winter, my mind begins to turn to comfort foods. You know the kinds of food that make you warm and content. One of my favorite comfort foods is Shepherd’s Pie.
Here in the United States, all dishes that are covered with a mashed potato crust tend to be called Shepherd’s Pie, but back home in Britain Shepherd’s Pie is made with Lamb. The recipe that I show in my video is made of beef so in Britain that would be a ‘Cottage Pie.’ You can also make these types of pies with a wide variety of fillings, fish, turkey or chicken and for vegetarians meat substitutes such as soy or quorn.
I have created a Games Console Store on amazon to support the Blindside Fresno program.
By purchasing items from the store you will provide me with some affiliate income from amazon.com.
The store is powered by amazon and I do not collect any of your details such as credit card information nor do I know anything about you such as your name or address. So purchasing an item is confidential and you also support a valuable resource for the blind and visually impaired community.
This episode of Blindside Fresno takes a look at the world of a mom who is blind.
There are two guests Debbie Flowers and Sarah Harris.
Debbie grew up with a degenerative eye disease which meant she lost her vision over time. Sarah on the other hand was fully sighted until she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Six months later she learned she was pregnant.
In this program, the first of two half hour programs Debbie and Sarah talk about family reactions to their having children, how they coped with the toddler years and many other daily problems faced by every parent.
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.