The studio goes dark as the countdown hits zero and the opening theme of Roman Riot plays to a mosaic of image of Occupy protests. Once the screen flashes “Fight Back,” the camera shifts to the host Linda Carmichael. “Welcome to Occupy Boston Live.”
Occupy Boston has recently started producing live shows. OBTV [Occupy Boston TV] started as a couple of community meetings in Dewey Square and South Station on December 4th. The OBTV group coalesced just after the eviction of Occupy Boston from Dewey Square and was formally announced at Occupy Boston’s General Assembly on the day after the raid.
By early January 2012, Occupy Boston Live had produced at least 5 shows. The crew has shot long-form interviews with Green Party member Grace Ross, the Housing Crisis Working Group and the Street Working Group, among others.
Some members of OBTV produce at least two live shows a month, which tend to run from 15 up to 40 minutes, and are conducted in a talk show format. OBTV’s style is not similar to that of mainstream media outlets such as CNN or Fox News, which tend to reduce information into easily digested sound-bites. Guests are interviewed by one of the crew members, who also serves as a host.
OBTV’s latest show was produced on January 14, which was a live teach-in that dealt with the ramifications of the Citizens United Supreme Court case. The guests, State Representative Cory Atkins and Suffolk Law Professor Donna Palermino laid out the history of the Citizens United case as well as the steps that ordinary people can take to begin overturning the ruling.
Some members of OBTV, such as Jess Schumann, went to school for television and video production while others have experience as writers and actors. However, anyone is welcome to join regardless of having no previous television experience or training. Proper training in equipment operation can be provided by current members of OBTV. As Nick Volkron, a volunteer, says “we need bodies here.”
OBTV produces their shows at Brookline Access TV which allows for community and non-profit groups to use their equipment for free. Schumann says that “Access TV is a serious resource. Anyone can put a show on their local channel. Video classes are usually very affordable, and once you are certified, you can borrow pro video gear to shoot and edit your story. Access stations don’t censor material, which means that all political speech is welcomed.”
Members of OBTV are very insistent on getting information out in as many ways as possible. The TV crew has hopes of bring OBTV to all towns in MA. All of OBTV’s shows air first on Livestream, then are uploaded to Occupy Boston Youtube page.
TV production is typically of a top-down nature with a producer or showrunner giving orders. However, like the rest of the Occupy Movement, OBTV is working to overcome the vertical and authoritarian structures in society; in this case, by attempting to produce television horizontally. This process is aided by the fact that members decide what their roles are before production and one person could potentially fill several roles. During January 14′s shoot, Schumann was pulling duty working the camera and moving equipment back to the studio to help coordinate production. Volunteer Julian Fine says, “working on set is a fluid thing. People move around.”
For the future, OBTV sees themselves as an evolving project, like the Occupy movement at large. Richard says that “after Occupy Boston camp at Dewey ended, the ideals are still there. We need to translate them to a new phase.”
Currently, the next scheduled production shoot for OBTV is on February 4 at Brookline Access TV. For those wanting to become involved, Occupy Boston TV can be contacted through their website at: http://groups.occupyboston.org/wg/ob-tv or via email@example.com
For past programming, all shows are archived under Occupy Boston athttp://www.pegmedia.org, where they can be downloaded for airing on local cable access stations.