Saturday, November 11, 2006

Watch Out Oprah

Last night was VCAM's annual Producer's Recognition dinner and I was lucky enough to be the MC for the night. Good ol' Mom was my hot date. I always get nervous about public speaking but since this was my second year hosting, I was slightly less anxious.

I have been doing my cable access show, The Deadbeat Club, and airing it on VCAM for over two years now with 28 episodes under my belt. Every time I work on a new show, I think it will be the death of me. If it weren't for VCAM and the resource they provide, I hate to what my life in VT would be like. Needless to say, I would have a lot of ill-directed creative energy eating an acid hole inside my belly.

In my years of dealing with VCAM, I've come to appreciate all their staff do to make the station run smoothly. It is no easy task for them to administer to such a wide variety of producer needs and help random people off the street tell their tales on TV. But with a professional demeanor and positive smile, the VCAMers manage to do just that. And even better, then they throw us a party!

Last year I started off the evening with some heart-felt speech about the power of cable access and how important what we all do is. Then Margot and I did a DBC Top 10 Reasons Why We Love Cable Access Letterman style countdown. We had fancy blue cards and everything and we even threw them out into the crowd after each was read. One hit someone in the eye though and that was not good.

This year I decided to blab about my own show and why I do it and the ups and downs of the creative process. Then I opened it up for questions. I took out the portable microphone all Oprah-style and attacked the crowd.

I had a number of fears going into this venture.
1. No one would answer my questions and I would be forced to continue babbling like an idiot.
2. People would answer my questions too well, go off on tangents, steal the mic and hijack the show.

Neither of these fears were realized. Kay Ryder of Conversations with Kay was kind enough to answer my first question although for the life of me, I can't remember what she said. It went on from there and it was a perfect mixture of give and take. Plus, the responses were a good sampling of people in the room. Phew, one hurdle passed.

Then Joe Merone, Chair of the VCAM board gave us a sweet speech about the contributions of cable access users. I was fixated on his flashy gold pinky ring. Next came the handing out of the certificates and I did my best not to butcher anyone's names. I was moderately successful. VCAM played a quick clip from everyone's show as we were doing the award hand out. Nice too see a smidgen of all the media out there and connect it to a face.

Last year Stech, of The Mattie and Stech Variety Hour, stood up for the certificate hand out and gave us the double fingered salute for about 10 minutes. I am not exactly sure what he was responding to. I think he was slightly soused and angry about not getting the Producer of the Year award but who really knows. Although he did not reappear for more birds this year, Bill and I were reminiscing that, as rude as it was, it is the moment we always recall from last year's dinner.

The Director's Award went to Kay Ryder who has been doing her show for over 20 years. She was eloquent and thoughful. Telling us the story of how she came to be in front of the camera after beginning behind the scenes. It is amazing to think that, without cable access, intelligent, articulate and caring people like Kay would not have a platform to interview local community members and make their mark on the world.

Local author Fred Lane was the Keynote speaker. Writer of three books, Obscene Profits, The Naked Employee and The Decency Wars, Fred works at Burlington Telecom and has been a Daily Show guest (hello!). Fred explained the difference between indecency and obscenity and joked about how he came to find his particular focus. I mean, come on, what a great cover to check out internet porn, right!?

It is scary to think about where this country is headed with a jumpy FCC that seems helplessly out of touch with modern day life. I urged Fred to start a blog as I think blogging is a great resource for authors. Plus, who doesn't want to talk about obscenity!? Good stuff!

Finally, it was time for the door prizes which were won by both members of The Advocacy Team (Bill kissed my hand!), Kitty Martin of CCN News, Gordon Gaynon of All the Children of the World and Rael Onecloud of Post Mortem Espresso. Good prizes, thanks VCAM!

All is all, a great night for all. Thanks again to VCAM for all your amazing hard work and for putting on such a nice evening for all of us producers. I hate to think of a world without cable access and I hate to think of Northern Vermont without VCAM. It is so essential that the people have a creative outlet to release whatever demons, thoughts, political views and other nonsense they may choose to share with the area.

To close off the evening, mom and I headed over to the Flynn Dog to check out the music and sculptures. good stuff, check it out! Gotta love the hopping Burlington art scene on a Friday night!


Charlie Messing said...

Hi Eva, dig your work, and you were great at the Dinner; I was the Advocacy Team member with the purple shoes who didn't presume to kiss your hand. Hoping to make more of your acquaintance someday. I had a site and so blogged for years, gave it up this year, you inspire me to resume. But I play music(played on a hit 30 years ago!),write stories, have been writing a long time - if you want to read one, write Don't worry, the entire station is your chaperone and I'm a known harmless (though handsome) old guy. Over and out, Charlie Messing

Eva the Deadbeat said...

Hey Charlie!
Yes, I do remember you and your purple shoes. You should dust off that old blog, it is good for writing practise if nothing else. And a nice place to put stories so people can read 'em easy peasy! lemme know when it is up and running and I will read some of your stuff!
best, Eva

Anonymous said...

Hee hee. yeah. that was a fun night, or what I remember of it. probably why my invitation was "lost in the mail" this year. LOL


Eva the Deadbeat said...

yep, that was definitely one of the highlights of the night, and all i can really remember about it and i was not even drinking!?