What is Miller’s Grove Public Access?

Utilizing the media critical eye of video art, the community based objectives of public access television, and the personal orientation of the 1990s, Miller’s Grove Public Access explores personal experiences with mental illness to deconstruct stigma. By humanizing symptoms and providing a platform for healthy self expression, the on-going project aims to dispel harmful ideologies barring individuals from getting the help they need and deserve.

Who runs the project?

Miller’s Grove Public Access was created in 2018 by video artist, Sophia Gordon-Stevens to explore the struggles and symptoms commonly found in bipolar I. She is now the Director of Programming for the project.

Why Public Access Television?

Unique, fearless, and often times bizarre, public access television has served the community’s creative nature for decades. Video art in particular has had a long and fruitful history with the format as a way for artists to experiment and exhibit their work.

Our objectives fall very much in line with the mission of public access television. We are about community involvement, education, healthy self expression, accessibility, and open dialogue. Like those who broke through the barriers of broadcast television in the 1960s and 1970s, we believe that new technology holds hope for social change.

Why VHS downgrading? Don’t you want things to look nice?

Miller’s Grove Public Access’ main initiative is to create a safe space for marginalized artists to produce personal and impactful work. Using older videography methods and re-used materials with a DIY sensibility, the project aims to be as accessible as possible. Eliminating the need for high quality visuals and intricate production values will allow artists to focus on their message while still creating work in a unique style.

Video does not have to be of the highest quality to be beautiful.

Who can submit a show?

Anyone who has struggled with their mental health at some point in their life or who has a mental illness is eligible to submit. Whether you’ve battled with moments of social anxiety or you’re in a constant tug of war with bipolar, your story is valid.

What if I’m self diagnosed?

We here at Miller’s Grove Public Access do not discriminate. Self diagnosis is valid and though we advocate for seeking help through medical professionals, we also realize not everyone has those resources or the financial stability to do so. We encourage you to submit and share your story. We can only change the system if we understand and support each other.

Someone has already created the type of show I wanted to! Now what?

No worries! There are tons of the same shows all around you. Did you know that there are 1,600+ religious television and radio stations in the US? Heck, there’s a whole channel about cooking. Look at all those talk shows!

I’m not a writer, actor, videographer and/or technologically savvy! Can my friends and loved ones help me?

Though we would like everyone to be as involved in their own show as possible as well as stick to the “homemade” look of the project, we want you to feel confident in the work you submit. We don’t expect everyone to know how to do everything. You are more than welcome to recruit the help of others regardless of their mental health status. As long as you are the show runner and it’s your story being told, you can utilize actors, writers, musicians, videographers, editors, and other video artists if you feel it’s essential to your show.

What if I don’t want to appear in my show?

We completely understand. Like we’ve stated in previous answers, we don’t expect everyone to know how to do everything and we definitely don’t want you to feel obligated to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. You are welcome to use actors for your show.

Can we have multiple characters in a show?

Yes, you can have as many characters in your show as you see fit just keep in mind the time constraints (shows can not exceed 5 minutes).

Does my show have to fall under any certain genre or formula?

No, not at all. You’re show can be satirical, dramatic, conceptual, bizarre, or some strange combination of everything. Experiment with the format and don’t feel like you have to stick to a formula.

Here’s a list of some genre/format examples: talk/chat, cooking, religious, after school specials, crafting, documentaries, soap operas, sitcoms, shopping, game shows, news, animation, children’s programming, sports, and makeovers.

Can I use found footage or stock music?

Yes, but please make sure you are using either public domain content or content you have the right to use. Also, please make sure you credit the artist in your submission.

Do I have to convert my show to tape and circuit bend it?

No. This will be done AFTER you submit your show. You are NOT responsible for this step.

Can I shoot my show with a VHS camcorder?

Yes! You can even submit the tape instead of uploading a video file. However, we will need an audio file along with your submission form. We will schedule drop off times in Nashville, TN as well as coordinate for tapes to be mailed in. If you do choose to mail in a tape you will need to make sure it is postmarked by the deadline.

Can I use film/tape filters on my show?

No tape filters/presets/plug-ins, but you can use film filters/presets/plug-ins if it’s an important part of your submission (ex: documentary with “vintage” footage).

Does my show have to be in 4:3 when I turn it in?

No. We can do that for you. We’ll be using a technique called center cut as well as pan and scan. However, if you would like to do this yourself, you are more than welcome to. Just make sure you not only change the aspect ratio, but also the pixel ratio.

Can I submit more than one show?

You’ll have to fill out a new form for each submission, but you are more than welcome to submit multiple shows.

How will this be curated?

Miller’s Grove Public Access will have an exhibition from September - October 2019 at The Green Gallery in Turnip Green Creative Reuse (Nashville, TN). The exhibition will consist of two separate lineups (one for each month) and VHS compilation tapes will be available. After the exhibition, shows will be added to the Miller’s Grove Public Access Vimeo channel.

I’ve never struggled with my mental health, but I really want to get involved! What can I do to help?

The project is strictly for personal accounts of mental health, but if you know someone who is planning on submitting to the project, ask if you can help them out. Anyone can contribute to a show.

We are also taking donations for the following:

  • Video cables (S-video, RCA, and BNC)

  • VHS, VHS-C, and Hi8 camcorders

  • Recordable VHS, VHS-C, and Hi8 tapes (new or used)

  • VHS cartons

  • VHS labels

Please feel free to reach out and we’ll try to find a way to get you involved.

If your question wasn’t answered above, please email us at: