From YouTube user: BKIndependentTV
One of the hardest-hit Brooklyn neighborhoods is Gerritsen Beach, where the city says it expects to have to demolish a number of badly damaged homes. But for property owners whose structures will survive, help is coming from a non-profit called Gerritsen Beach Cares. They’ve received a grant from the Brooklyn Recovery Fund, and at least some of that money is going to combat mold and to hire electricians.
From YouTube user: BKIndependentTV
Over the past two weeks photographer Sam Horine has been checking in on different neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy, documenting what he’s seen, as well as volunteering his time. During these explorations and volunteer trips he’s been uploading photos to our Gothamist Instagram feed, along with some stories from the people he’s met. Click through for a look—from Rockaway to Staten Island. For more, check out Horine’s own Istagram, as well as his Tumblr, where he has large, unfiltered photos from New Dorp, Staten Island, Rockaway, Lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn.
We know that many visual and performing artists were negatively affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are putting together a comprehensive list of organizations and agencies that are providing help and support, in one way or another, to artists affected. We also included ways you can help some of the vibrant Brooklyn arts organizations devastated by the storm through donations or volunteering.
We will continue to update this list, as more information is available. If you have information you’d like us to add, email us here.
HELP FOR VISUAL ARTISTS:
Warhol & Rauschenberg Funds – Art organizations impacted by the hurricane can apply for Emergency Grants through these foundations.
NYFA – The Andy Warhol Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Lambent Foundation have established an Emergency Relief Fund, administered by NYFA to assist artists with damages and losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Eligible artists can be working in any…
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Breakthru DD & Breakthru Grief
Although being a certified producer at BRIC for a little less than a year, you can often find Len Heisler in the editing lab, clicking away at the screen. His work is close to his heart, and has touched many others. He took some time out away from the editing station to talk to us about his experience with BRIC and beyond over the last year.
So first of all, what are the names of your programs? And what would you say are their purposes?
I have two programs: one is called Breakthru DD, “DD” as in “developmental disabilities.” I’m the executive director of a musical theater company for young adults with Down Syndrome, Aspergers, and Autism. Most people when they see the appearance of a Down Syndrome kid, that’s all they see; the show is to break down the stereotyping.
The other program is Breakthru Grief. Five years ago, I lost my wife. We were married for 25 years before she died. She was the mother of my daughter. What I realized a year later was that if I had videos of men who had been in that similar situation telling me how they went on, because I was so grief struck, that would have been tremendous. So what I created a website to help others. Breakthru Grief is essentially interviews with men, women and kids who have lost family members, explaining how they cope with the loss of their loved one.
What motivates you to do your programs?
I would say I make them essentially just to help people. I’m 66 years old. In the 1980s I was in a rock band, I opened for the Ramones. Sex, drugs and Rock n’ Roll: I did a lot of self-indulgence. Now I’m at a point where what is really meaningful to me is to try and improve other people’s lives. And so that’s what motivates me.
Tell me a bit about how the programs are created. How does everything come together? Are you just one person doing all of the filming and editing?
I have this theater company with kids. There are fifteen or sixteen in the cast, and we have an artistic director. We work at the Berkley Carroll School Dance Room, so she [the Artistic Director] does rehearsals there and I do the videos. I come to BRIC and edit and put things up on the website.
For people who lost family members who want to be on camera with me– a lot of times, they want to tell their story. Not only just for their own personal catharsis, but also to be of service to somebody else who is grieving.
I do everything from the technological perspective.
When did you get certified?
This place is godsend to me. In September 2011, I took two courses: one for using a camera, lighting and sound; and the other using the Avid editing software. It’s now 9-10 months later, and I’ve been coming in about 3-4 times a week since September.
What triggered your interest in BRIC?
It was totally luck, there’s a fellow Jonathan Leif who works here [at BRIC], and his daughter and my daughter went to elementary together. So I’ve known him for about 30 years, and I was telling what I was interested in doing, and he said, “Well, it just so happens that I work at BRIC and this can give you everything you want.”
It was really an accidental conversation I had with him, and I just followed up on it.
I feel very grateful that I have not only [access to the] the equipment, but also the great people here.
Having courses about how to set up websites on WordPress and other social media and even how to get sponsors for your projects makes it quite a package deal. It’s really quite a community service they do around here.
What’s your favorite thing about being part of community access TV?
What I enjoy is being able to use the equipment, getting all the help, the community atmosphere. I enjoy being of service to people. I enjoy collaborating, putting up a website. I have a viral committee to make sure these messages get out. I have business people and lawyers I work with, astounding people. It’s really something I’m not used to because I was in education. I enjoy the people and the work.
Is there anything funny or interesting that has happened to you while creating a show?
The interesting thing is, when you sit in front computer with Avid, you have a goal, and so it doesn’t really matter what you are feeling emotionally. So one of the interesting things that happened to me was, I was building what some would call a “Brady Bunch”– a three-by-three matrix so you would see nine faces all at once on the screen. It took me two hours to build. I put it up on the timeline and it collapsed.
I had an emotional breakdown. It was just kind of funny, because you have a goal, and if you are an emotional guy like I am, (I wear my heart on my sleeve)…and here I am: I just spent all of these hours, and I put it up on the timeline, and it dissolves. All that work is gone. I just found it interesting that I was having this emotional breakdown while I was clicking and making choices, so it didn’t really matter.
I mean, sometimes, this process is really crazy because I’ll try something that I think is a great idea– I might even have some technical difficulties along the way– and finally do it, and I realize I don’t want it!
I think the other thing about it is that when you’re building a video, (for example we just did a show, and I’m showing it at the final rehearsal we have this Thursday as a sort of party ending the season), these videos bring joy to a lot of people.
Every time I work here and I put something on a thumb drive and then I pop it into a computer and projecting it for everyone else (in the theater company) to see– you see people reacting because they are the people being filmed and their families are there to enjoy it, too. It’s like being in a band, because sometimes music can be very inspiring, sometimes videos can be more so. I like the effect the videos have on people.
Interview by Harris Ackermann, BRIC Intern
Serrina Goodman is an established public access television veteran, producing her self-titled show The Serrina Goodman Show. Starting at BRIC’s sister station, BronxNet, she is now going into her sixth year of making great television, and is celebrating with her annual Red Carpet Event on September 15, 2012 at The Place on Norman Street.
How would you describe your show to those who have not seen it?
It’s a current day talk show, very eclectic. We have some basic segments we do, like we have an Around the Town segment, where we go around different places that I’ve been to, that I enjoy and want to share with my viewers. We feature untapped talent, which are artists, authors and performers that, you know, just need a break. For example, if a writer just wrote a book, but he or she doesn’t have a great viewing audience and they just need some exposure. Some artists have a lot of talent that I want to show my viewers. Plus I do human-interest pieces, and some health-related pieces.
What made you want to do a television show?
I started in the industry as a plus-size model. Back in the day when I trained, there weren’t a lot of people embracing plus-size models; there weren’t a lot of people like myself on television.
Most of the time when you turn on television, you see people who are very slim, very petite. You don’t see representation of the everyday woman.
I wanted to do a television show that gave me a platform to be a voice of those women that people don’t hear from or see on TV all the time.
How did you the show get started?
An opportunity presented itself, and I jumped right on it. I started my show at BronxNet, after a guy by the name of Michael Witter approached me about doing a television show.
The first show that I did was called The Non-Deadbeat Dads. This show was about the men, who in spite of doing the right thing, still find themselves in controversy. Everyone at that time wanted to hear Jerry Springer-esquetalk about “deadbeat dads,” so I talked about those guys who do they what they need to do, the men who want to take care of their children, who want to pay child support. That was six years ago.
Later on I learned about a valuable lesson in doing that show: —this gentleman, who had brought the idea to me, wanted to have all of the control. One day Michael told me that I was just the talent with responsibility, but as harsh as that sounded, that was exactly what I needed to hear, because when you think about it, he was right —I didn’t know how to operate a camera; I didn’t know what an XLR cable was; I didn’t know anything about audio. I just knew how to be in front of the camera, how to perform, how to model, how to talk, and how to ask questions. So I made two major decisions: one, to bring my show to Brooklyn, my residence; two, was to learn how to operate every piece of equipment in that studio.
I would tell anyone who wants to get into this, make sure you’re not just the talent with responsibilities; you want to be able to be responsible for everything you put out into the world in hopes that it makes an impact.
How did you find your way to BRIC?
Well after I was at BronxNet, which was public access for the Bronx, I thought to myself, the Bronx has a public access station, I’m sure Brooklyn has one too… So I started researching it. I found out that I could put my shows on here in Brooklyn as a resident as a special. So then I thought, I can become a producer here?
I started taking classes, then became certified for the field production, and just started rolling from there. I started with a monthly show, and now I have a weekly show.
How was your experience with the classes and getting certified?
The classes were awesome! They were taught in a manner that I could understand very well. I knew about being on television, but only being in front of the camera. I wanted to know what the cameraman sees when he looks at me. [BRIC] allowed me the opportunity to use thousands of dollars worth of equipment for free, to be able to build and develop a wonderful crew of people. Now I have my own crew.
It’s a challenge finding people to work with you. You’ve got to have one person that’s like a seasoned veteran, and I was fortunate enough to come across people like Boom Boom [community producer Bernice Brooks]. People like her help me out and show me different things, things that you get in the classroom, but you need to be able to apply it to really acquire that knowledge.
How is the show created? How is the labor split between the crew members?
I learned [at BRIC] on Avid, but at home I edit on [Adobe] Pinnacle. So I edit myself, but every now and again, I get an intern or someone who will do some editing for me— but most of the time to get the product the way I want it, it’s better if I edit it myself.
My crew does all of the other stuff, such as setting up the set. When we first come in at 10 o’clock in the morning, we have coffee and we have a morning meeting, so everyone knows exactly what we are shooting for the day. Then we strategically decide how we are going to develop the set.
We know what everyone’s forte is, but what I want to do this season is to have people who are inspired to do something more challenging to be able to try it out. It’s all about growth. I want them to be better, the same way I want to be better.
We all divvy up the work and all work together as a family in the studio. I have cookouts and things like that with them. That kind of alliance makes people want to work hard for you. So it’s doesn’t really feel like “work.” I do try to keep everything fairly structured, though, because if I come in here saying ‘I guess today we’ll just do whatever’, then guess what? ‘Whatever’ is what you’re going to get at the end of the day. If they spend time working with me, I want it to be time well spent. So I come in with a plan already in place.
When we go out in the field everyone wears an ID, everyone feels included. It’s really important to me that everyone feels like they are part of the team, but we do have bumping of heads. But when that happens, it’s because all we really want is to put out the best product.
How do people end up on your crew? How great is it to work with them?
One of the things about our team is that if you’re a crew member on our team, we’re a crew member on your team. You don’t have to wait around and hope and keep your fingers crossed on whether or not you’re going to get your crew to do your show. We don’t want anybody to have to go through that. So, if you come up with an idea for a program and need my assistance, I’m more than willing to help out.
The other good thing is that we feed our crew breakfast and lunch. They think I’m just being nice, but I don’t want them to go anywhere! I make sure everyone is comfortable when they are working with me. We usually shoot for a full day, like 10am-4pm. Usually we shoot 3-4 shows in one day so I only come into the studio once a month to shoot. And they sacrifice for me, they believe in the vision.
What’s your favorite thing about being here at BRIC?
For me, it’s the level of professionalism. When you bring your guests here, they don’t feel like they are “slumming.” They don’t feel like they just came to some mediocre place. They actually walk away feeling that they’ve just had a very professional experience, and that’s important to me. They are comfortable and when they are comfortable, they come across as comfortable on screen, meaning we get a better product at the end.
I never get flustered by technical difficulties. Naturally, we have some, but the people here try to make it right, and I respect that, nobody is perfect. To me, they go beyond the call of duty, and have very professional attitude. I love it.
I’ve heard a story about a blind date gone awry on one of your shows, what happened there?
I had this idea to do my version of The Dating Game.
One of my sister’s girlfriends was looking for a guy to date. I got her to agree to come on the show with three other guys: a BCAT TV Network community producer, an entrepreneur, and a teacher. I had the men on a panel and we were able to divide her from them, so she never saw any of them. She’s asking all these great questions about credit, possibilities of a romantic date. They were singing songs…it was an excellent show. At the end, she chooses the teacher.
We have a French restaurant here in Brooklyn, that was going to provide the dinner, and we were going to record the dinner.
The date never took place because the guy who won….was later booked into jail.
The lady on the program kept asking my sister, when is my date? I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the guy went to jail. Finally she kept on asking me, and I just had to say, “He had an outstanding warrant, and he went to jail.”
Needless to say, she never went on her date with him and we never aired the show.
Interview by Harris Ackerman, BRIC Intern