Finger On The Pulse]

Questions, so many questions!

I'd give my right arm to be featured on the show. Can you help?
Old Answer: Um, I don't accept body parts in exchange for being featured. This show is something I do because I love music and enjoy featuring artists whose music I like. And what music do I like, you ask? Such a hard question to answer, but looking at the bands I've featured is probably a good clue, as is looking at the list of shows I go to. Stuff that is a bit edgy and different. Stuff that is complex. Stuff that is lyrically strong and musically interesting. Stuff that sounds different than things I've heard a million times before. My tastes are pretty varied, but if you think I'd like your music, just send me a pointer to your webpage, a pointer to some mp3s, and dates when your band will be playing, and I'll see if I can arrange something. If you don't have gigs yet, I can shoot rehearsal footage. Please note that I do have to be somewhat selective in the bands I feature because I only get to air 2 episodes per month. If my show isn't a good fit for your music, perhaps one of the other producers at the channel would be the perfect match.
New Answer: I'm sorry to say but you may be out of luck. After doing the show for nearly two years, I am a bit burnt out on it. I love it, don't get me wrong, but I'm having trouble finding time to keep up with it. So for now, if you ask me, I'll probably say no. That doesn't mean you shouldn't ask, but the reality is that I'm unlikely to say yes right now because I'm not sure if I want to keep doing the show in its current form.

As a band being featured on your show, what do we have to do?
Being on the show is basically just my going out to a club where you are playing and filming it. We should pick a gig where you think you'll be playing a 35 minute or longer set, because that will allow me to drop a song that wasn't played well or filmed well. I can also film you at your rehearsal space or wherever works best. I'm flexible on location.

My show typically features one artist per episode, and an episode is 28 minutes and 30 seconds. I can optionally feature interview footage if you are interested in that (you would provide the interviewer, I would film the interview). This is nice because it lets the audience get to know the band a bit better.

The trickiest aspect is getting a good sound recording. Often the mix isn't perfect, but it is usually good enough to give folks unfamiliar with the band enough of a flavor of the music to allow them to decide if they like you or not. I let the artist participate as much in the footage selection process as they are interested in. I won't air something if you don't like the way it turns out.

If you have any questions about being on the show, just ask me. I'm happy to work with you to accomodate any special requests or ideas you have for the shoot.

How many people watch the show?
I was discussing this with one of the staff members at AccessSF and he suggested that a surprising number of people watch the public access channel. In fact, Chris Campbell of Subimage (featured on Episode 1) went into a Starbucks after the show aired and the woman behind the counter said, "Hey you were on TV last night! Channel 29!" So there you go. If you want hard numbers, literature from AccessSF says the station is "available to all Comcast cable subscribers within the City & County of San Francisco. There are nearly 200,000 subscribers, with a total of over 500,000 potential viewers, which is more than half the total SF population of nearly 800,000." Ideally, I'd produce the shows, air them, and then make them available for viewing over the web (assuming artist permission) because I realize the value in allowing folks outside of SF to see the shows.

Speaking of the web, rumor has it that some shows are available for download. Tell me more.
Yes! Finally! I've partnered with the kind folks at waverunner.tv to make this happen. They are creating BitTorrent files for some of my episodes. Here's a list of episodes available for download. I started a brief download help page with some pointers to BitTorrent sites and instructions on how to burn VCDs (well, on linux, anyway). Also, there are a couple of individual songs from the show available for download

My favorite band is scheduled to be on Episode X! When will Episode X air?
My current timeslot is the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month from 9:30pm - 10:00pm. On the main page, I'll advertise the bands and episode air dates as soon as I know them. The best way to keep informed is to subscribe to the mailing list where I send reminders and announcements of upcoming shows. You can also just email me and I can add you to the mailing list.

Of all the bad luck...I really wanted to catch Episode X but I missed it. Is there anything I can do?
Maybe. I'm not yet sure if I'll air repeats of an episode. If I get requests for an episode to be repeated, I may honor them, so let me know what you want to see re-broadcast. As I mentioned above, some of the shows are available on the web for download.

How long does it take to produce an episode?
Hmm...it varies. My current process is like this: shoot the live footage and the interview footage (~2.5 hrs). Then, I dub the footage to a VHS tape with timecode included so I can easily review the footage and note which parts to include in the final show(~1.5 hrs). This might save wear and tear on the original tapes as well as on the miniDV playback mechanism itself, since there is a lot of rewinding and fast forwarding while reviewing footage. Is this necessary? I don't know. Then I watch the footage and note down the timecodes of the bits I like (~2 hrs). Once I know what footage I want to use and how I want it sequenced, I take it to the editing suite at the San Francisco Public Access Television studio and get cracking. For a 28 minute, 30 second show, it can take ~3 hours to edit. Editing the first episode took 6 hours(!), but some of that was work that only has to be done once (ie, credit design.) I was able to finish editing the second episode in 3 hours, though I would've liked to have a bit more time to redo some of the rougher spots. No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of work for such a short show!

How did you get your own TV show in the first place?
Public Access Television is a great thing, my friends. Anyone in the community can produce content. Check in your local community to see if there is a public access television station. More info on Public Access stations .

Speaking of Public Access, what other music shows are on the SF Public Access Station?
There are a bunch. Here are some. I know I'm missing some, so let me know what they are and I'll add them.
IrieVision (schedule).
The Little Show (schedule).
On The Tip Of My Tongue (schedule).
Video Vision (schedule).

Any advice for someone just starting to produce his own show?
Volunteer on someone else's show to get ideas. I've helped on a handful of studio productions at AccessSF and that's helped me learn the tricks of the trade. For help with the technical details, there are some good online references that discuss things like packing tapes, etc. Here is one at CyberCollege. For a more succinct set of tips, try this page.

You didn't answer my question. Now what?
Drop me an email with any comments, questions, criticisms, etc, using the email address at the bottom of the page. Translate the 'at' to '@' and the 'dot' to '.'. Any feedback is welcome.

Copyright ©2004-2006, Sarah Gordon, sarahatfingeronthepulsedotorg, www.fingeronthepulse.org