MILLER’S GROVE PUBLIC ACCESS - FAQs


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 the early 90s?

Though Public Access Television began in the 1960s and saw many successes, it was in the 1990s that it gave way to a deeply personal approach. This was partially due to the trends in talk radio that were already in place. Public Access shows took on a similar format where hosts would field calls from the community to discuss everything from political issues to personal problems. Through this shift, the focus on community and personal experiences moved Public Access even further from the mainstream.

Why all the VHS and down grading? Don’t you want things to look nice?

It just so happens that we find the VHS look very visually pleasing and also very much in line with the homemade spirit of the project. Video does not have to be of the highest quality to be beautiful.

Why 4:3 aspect ratio?

This used to be the standard television broadcasting aspect ratio. Although 16:9 was proposed as early as 1984, it did not come into common use until the early 2000s. So, the choice to use 4:3 is both an aesthetic and historically accurate one!

Who can submit a show to MGPA?

Anyone who has struggled with their mental health at some point in their life or who has a chronic mental disorder. This includes, but is not limited to: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizo effective disorders, eating disorders, addiction, personality disorders, and depression.

What if I’m self diagnosed?

We here at MGPA 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.

How are you going to prove that applicants actually have a mental disorder?

We aren’t! That would be disrespectful to folks’ honesty, privacy, and their validity. Plus we aren’t doctors nor do we have the authority to demand such a thing. Also, see the question above.

How is this going to be curated?

As finalized projects are turned in, they will be posted to a Vimeo channel dedicated to the project. There will also be an exhibition announced in late Spring 2019.

What are the benefits of submitting during the soft call?

You’ll have the chance to get some feedback on your proposal and there’s a much greater chance to receive free of charge videography services. If your proposal is accepted during the soft call, your show will be one of the first featured on the Miller’s Grove Public Access Vimeo channel.

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 head of the project 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.

I don’t have anyone who can help me with my project. What can I do?

At the moment it is very limited, but we are offering services to folks that need the help. The free of charge services include: script consulting, editing, and cinematography. For the time being this is first come first serve.

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 more than one person be in a show or run a show?

Yes. You can have as many characters in your show as you see fit just keep in mind the time constraints. Anyone can be a contributor, but remember only those who meet the criteria for submitting a proposal can be a show runner. We do suggest that you keep the amount of runners for a single show to a minimum, so that everyone can have their voice heard.

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.

My show might make those without mental illness uncomfortable. Should I scale it back to reach a broader audience?

Miller’s Grove Public Access was created so that artists could fully express themselves in a safe environment. One of our main goals is to breakdown that barrier of discomfort and to get people to ask themselves why they are off put by honest accounts of mental health without the sugar coating. We encourage you to be bold.

Do I have to have a title card for my show?

Yes, but how you incorporate it is completely up to you!

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.

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.

What if I need to change some things in my script after I’ve submitted my proposal?

That is perfectly fine. However, if you’ve changed it far beyond the initial proposal, there is a chance that we may not accept it. Also, if you’ve added something that goes against our guidelines, we will not accept your finished video at all. If you have any concerns about your show, please reach out and we’ll see if we can help.

Do I need to submit a proposal for each episode of my show?

No. Once a show is accepted, you no longer need to submit proposals for it. We do, however, screen each video you turn in. This is merely a precaution to ensure there’s nothing that goes against our guidelines.

What if I want to propose more than one show?

Go for it!

Do I have to keep making episodes of my show?

No, you don’t. You can make as many episodes as you want even if it’s just one. But if you do want to keep making episodes on a rolling basis, you don’t have to deal with strict deadlines unless it’s for an exhibition. We will accept episodes from our show runners all throughout the year and you are free to submit them whenever you like.

So, when should I expect to see my show up on the Vimeo channel and website?

There’s no guarantee that a new show or episode will be out the week you send it in. This is for two reasons:

  • Miller’s Grove Public Access is still very young and when I’m referring to “we”, I mean that in the royal sense. There’s a lot involved when converting your videos into the proper format and visual style. I’m just one lone producer for the time being, but I will process your submissions as soon as I can.

  • There might be multiple episodes submitted around the same timeframe and not only is that a lot to process, but it’s also too much content to put out all at once. We want to make sure everyone’s work is seen and gets the attention it deserves. That’s why we will only release one episode a week.

Will this ever be on REAL Public Access Television?

At the moment, the internet is the perfect place for us. After all, with the way video streaming is going these days, this IS the new Public Access Television. During the early years of Guerrilla Television, Raindance Corporation co-founder, Michael Shamberg believed in, “re-structuring communications channels, not capturing existing ones".

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

We are looking for volunteer videographers that can help artists without video resources. If you would like to offer up your time to edit or provide script writing advice, please send a message to: millersgrovepa@gmail.com with samples of your work and an estimate of how much time you can put in during Summer 2019.

At the moment we are accepting donations of the following: S-video cables, RCA cables, recordable VHS tapes (new or used), VHS cartons, and CRT monitors.

I’m nervous about sharing my experiences with my mental health. Should I still apply?

Please don’t feel pressured to submit or to let anyone pressure you into submitting. This is a community project that will be made public to anyone and everyone. We understand that there is a lot at stake for a lot of people. We still live in a world of stigma where we are forced to tread lightly in certain, if not all, of our company. That’s why this project exists. People shouldn’t run the risk of losing their job, home, children, or basic human rights just because they have a mental disorder.

We will accept submissions from folks who want to remain anonymous. Just make sure to indicate it on your application and provide us with an email to correspond with you. But if that is not an option for you, there are many other ways to support this project beyond running a show. You can volunteer as a videographer or donate your old VHS tapes! Feel free to reach out and we will find a way to get you involved.

Again, don’t feel down on yourself for not submitting. You are no less brave than those who do. Keep up the self love and remember, we’re all in this together <3