Announcing BlueNCTV! (And an Open Call for Story Ideas)

Welcome to our first production meeting! (I hope you brought your own coffee and donuts...)

OK, so let's kick this idea around a little.

I've laid out a basic outline for operations in the video above. It certainly can work in the way I'm proposing, but it doesn't necessarily have to. It's really up to the group...whoever that may end up comprising.

I'm really hesitant to say too much before gauging everyone's interest. So instead of me pontificating further, let's use this thread for questions and story ideas.

Ideas? Questions?

Comments

Beautiful, Frank!

Thanks, bunches.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Bravo!

The gears in this head are grindin'
I would love to see some focus on blue islands in the red sea - progressives/Dems in staunchly Republican strongholds.

One example would be Betty Mangum in NC 52. The first Director of Indian Education at the State Department of Public Instruction and former Wake County Commissioner. Now running against a local funeral home owner who has better name recognition in this region than Jesus. Well, close, anyway.

I would love to see issues presented in true terms. Show us the progression of problems the original OLF site would have caused, etc.

Go Frank!

Brings tears to my eyes

This is so exciting. You're amazing.

Story Idea: "Visiting Hours"

For the last eight years, I've lived across the street from the Forsyth County Jail. It's red. It's eight stories tall. The six inch high windows in the exterior walls probably let in a little sunlight for the prisoners inside, but standing on the sidewalk below, you certainly can't see them.

Nonetheless, their family members stand out here almost every evening in good weather. An overwhelming percentage of the visitors are women, often accompanied by small children. Who are these people? Girlfriends? Sisters? Mothers? Wives?

Are these little kids here to see their fathers? Big bothers? Uncles? What's the conversation that precedes this visit? Do the children know what's going on?

Who is looking down at them from the inside? How long have they been in there? What did they do?

Something I started work on in 2006

photographing and filming empty factories and textile mills in the 8th district. I would love it if folks in other districts would capture some photos or film of the huge empty buildings. Some have been put to good use and some have been torn down. There are other districts that were hit as hard as the 8th - or almost. Anyone in the 5th or 11th want to join in the fun? I'm happy to do most of the research.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I love this idea

Betsy...
This is an amazing idea. I am seeing how powerful footage of once thriving industry, offering jobs to 1000's of working class North Carolinian families, now lying dormant could be.
Integrated with interviews of folks whose lives have been devastated because of out sourcing.
Heart breaking, really; eye-opening, certainly.
People need to see this.

Levi

Story Idea: "The Ghost Factories of North Carolina"

A rural statewide story that would benefit from photographers in several districts. Could be a great visual piece underscored with music and interviews.

What are the former employees of these factories doing now? How do they see their present situation? What do they think their prospects are? Do they expect to return to a manufacturing job? Are they seeking retraining or going back to school?

What has this meant to their families? What does it mean for their kids? What effect have these closings had on their towns?

Frank, getting in some history of big business

moves to cheap labor markets might work with this. First there was the industry's move in late 1800's and earlier in the century from northern mills to southern mills ... for the cheap labor of the desperately poor.

Then there were industry moves from America to Mexico, Central America and South America and Carribean islands ... for the cheap labor of the desperately poor.

My father watched the beginning of this story. He was a personnel manager (what they used to call HR) with Fieldcrest Mills in NC for as long as I can remember; Reidsville, Alexander Mills, and finally in Smithfield. I remember him retelling the story of his amazement/confussion at learning that they could ship fabric to Puerto Rico for assembly, then ship it back here to sell, and make significantly more profit than they could by assembly here. He could only imagine what they were paying the people doing the work. (Even though he's a lifelong Republican, he always shook his head at the "moral character" of a man who placed money over people.)

Finding folks with this old knowledge might be valuable. I'm sure Larry Kissell has those stories, and has old friends with those stories, of when he saw the first hint ... the first companies who moved to off-shore assembly, which led to off-shore spinning and weaving, and now I imagine, off-shore growing and production.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

If my reading of Rob Christensen serves me

(I Highly recommend his new book "The Paradox of Tarheel Politics")

Those folks were actually lifelong Democrats, then switched parties with either Nixon or Reagan, and are now realizing that they were facilitating the loss of their own jobs through the auspices of the "Silent Majority" Republican mayhem, and are now switching BACK to being Democrats.

I've already done a lot of this research for the 8th

The only step I haven't taken is to interview families, but I did get started on trying to locate folks for interviews. I already have some footage and photographs and have researched as much as I can with web access and phone calls to see what has happened to the smaller cities and towns when most of their tax revenue leaves. (They're forced to open themselves up to ideas like the mega dumps.) We need to locate these cities/towns across the state - not just in the 8th District. What I realized in 2006 is that one person with limited video editing/sound editing skills and limited time for travel can only take this project so far. I am more than happy to concentrate on research for the other districts if there are folks who just want to concentrate on the local angle or will get photographs/video footage. Anyone live near a mill that has closed who is willing to go take a few photos for us?

Are there any bloggers who would like to look into working on this in the 5th District? Just explore it and see if it is something you want to do. How about the 11th? Which other Districts have been hit hard by the loss of textile/factory jobs?

The beauty of all this is that with Frank's help we can turn these ideas into much more than most of us could accomplish on our own. From now on when you get a good idea that is simply too time consuming for you to put into action all you have to do is pitch the idea, find the other folks willing to work on it with you, decide just how involved you want to be on the project and let the crew run with it. No more letting good ideas die on the vine.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The 6th has been hit pretty hard by textiles & furniture losses.

I'll volunteer to go get footage of vacant factories, mills, etc. I don't know many of the stories, but I know someone who does. :::nudges Mo::: the 4 of us can take a road trip around Robbins and the rest of Moore. Your hubby knows it all. Grace can film it. There. I volunteered 4 people. I'm good at that.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Uh..

I'm busy that day. Yeah, that's it.

No, you're not.

I checked. :)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

....and there you have it!

It will be beautiful.

I was even thinking about all those lovely profiles Mo did of NC towns and how that research could be incorporated into the longer film. On a project like this there is some way for everyone to contribute.

I also thought something you brought up on Mo's diary about Pinehurst would be interesting to explore. What about the divide between Jackson Hamlet and Pinehurst? I still remember you bringing that up almost two years later. Funny how something like that resonates, isn't it?



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

It is, and it's still a stark difference.

I will say this - one of the great things about the Obama campaign coming to Moore County and organizing is that now one of our Pinehurst precincts, which includes Jackson Hamlet, has a Jackson Hamlet resident as an officer. It's a first.

Getting better all the time.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Said precinct had

the best voter turnout in the whole county as well.

Stories, the county, heck the State is full of them

I loved doing the Tour NC with Me thing.

Just-in-case anyone is not familiar with Robbins, NC it is John Edward's home town. His dad and mom still live there and he often comes in to go to church with them. Robbins has an admirable history, from the Kennedy gun factory that made arms for Washington's Continental Army to Karl Robbins.

Mr. Robbins purchased a mill already established in Robbins in 1930 and renamed it Robbins Silk Mill. Throughout the depression, the town was booming mainly due to Mr. Robbins' mill.

Karl Robbins was committed to developing and improving the community and donated money to the local schools and churches. He built parks and playgrounds and funded the first water and waste water system. In 1943, the citizens of the town changed the name to Robbins in honor of their benefactor.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Story Idea "My Beautiful Landfill"

Wow, that dump idea is pretty compelling. Town loses manufacturing jobs, turns itself into landfill.

Where's that?

Welcome to Person County, land of smokestacks and

a potential megadump. We have a landfill that accepts up to 650 tons a day. The company wants to up it to 1750 tons a day. It already has PCB laden dirt (it's "minimally impacted" so it's ok) that they use for covering the garbage.
Person Co. is just above Durham up US 501 a dozen miles or so. Be sure to visit sometime, just wear your ventilator and biohazard suit. Oh, and bring your own drinking water.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Zate would be the perfect person to get involved with this

she and a group of people in Laurinburg have been fighting the Mega-Dump that the commissioners were trying to bring to Scotland. I remember someone telling me that the county manager or one of the commissioners had worked for a local waste management company. The group has been able to win so far but they are vigilant.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Scotland County is fighting pretty hard to prevent one.

You see signs all through Southern Moore, Richmond, and Scotland that say "No MEGADUMP". Some of them are in front of the most beautiful homes, others are out just out in front of fields.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Betsy!

I spent a good portion of the last 3 years of living in NC doing the very same thing. When I first moved here, I was surprised at just how much the city I was going to live in once thrived on this industry then making its way overseas. I've found a way into 3 or 4 of the mills in and around Concord/Kannapolis during both day and night and was able to get some quality shots out of it. I have somewhat of a thing for texture, so my final BA portfolio consisted more so of the textures found in these abandoned/neglected/ghost structures: rusted metal, peeling paint, rotting wood.

I would love to make my way back to these places.

I figured you might have thought of some of this as well

It's hard to live in the 8th District and not run into a closed mill, or at least know where one is. I take it you want to work on this project? :D ( I would love to see your photos, btw.)



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

A Kissell Tour

I would love to see Larry Kissell do events at all the former mill towns in the 8th District...he can talk about the industry he once knew and how he will better represent those former workers and their families, and what he will do to help bring economic growth to the area...

That's an awesome idea.

That ought to get him those 329 votes . . and then some!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Wet Process

Christopher and I had a conversation about his "wet process" photographs (you know, the old-timey type pictures with the trays of smelly chemicals). I can see these being beautiful dissolving together with some long slow tracking shots through empty factories. Pardner, you just got you'sef handed an assignment!

Note to filmmakers: Don't get arrested. BlueNCTV budget does not include bail or legal defense fund. ; )

Great Idea

I'd be glad to compile soem stuff for here in Wilkes. Hell, I've got an entire documentary script for just one of the factories (it was my MGMT Thesis).

How about a series on local food and local farms?

You could get into all the benefits of eating local and supporting sustainable ag. practices; health, economic, environmental, land use, etc., etc.

Meant to add this link to "Why Eat Local?" (pdf)

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Story Idea: "Local Farms"

This is something I'm doing a bunch of research on for the Carter campaign. It's a fascinating subject and something that really should be a part of the Democratic platform. So I'm really interested.

Anyone else interested in developing this idea? Anyone like to make this story theirs?

What we'd need first is someone to identify farmers we could talk to. Also, Steve Troxler, the (Republican) AG Commissioner would be a good interview, as he's issued what looks to be an ambitious plan for achieving some of these things.

Agricultural entrepreneurship and farm support businesses are a real area for growth in some of these districts that have lost manufacturing jobs.

Also, farms are photogenic. : )

I can get in touch

my family up in Alleghany. They don't farm personally anymore (went bust), but they know every farmer in that area (which is quite picturesue), from tobacco to Christmas trees to corn to cattle.

Just let me know.

Ok, I'm gonna start making some calls about this today, too

and have some conversations and make some appointments to go visit and chat. I'm thinking an easy way to approach it is to take the "10 Reasons to Eat Local" and expand on each one. The stories may not turn out that way in the end, but it seems like an easy map to follow.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Another good idea

Did anyone see the article on the front page of the NY Times this morning, about large corporations and investment firms buying up farm land and storage facilities all over the world basically buying in to food production

at a time when the world needs more of it.

Levi

Precisely

If this isn't a big, big issue in this season's campaigns, it'll be A Big Painful Issue soon enough. Small farmers need help. Subsidies for Big Farms need to be adjusted.

We need to do everything we can to make local farmers and small agri-businesses the face of the local food movement.

Three suggestions for starting places:

Warren Wilson College. My nephew works there managing the college farm and herding sheep. He grew up spending summers working in his Grandmother's herb garden and his Grandfather's vegetable gardens in Pittsboro and volunteering at the Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill. I think he's been at Warren Wilson doing this sustainable farming thing since starting college there long ago. (He's in his mid 30's.) Let me know and I'll hook you up with him.

Debbie Roos, an Ag. Extension agent in Chatham County. She's keeps a really excellent webpage of small farms for the Chatham Ag. Ext. Office and seems like she'd be a wealth of information and contacts.

Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro, NC. I think they've started a farm incubator there. Very cool stuff.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Connections

Republican Jack Hacke, the director of Pat McCrory's campaign, says the governors race has nothing to do with national politics. He's bringing in W to fundraise for McCrory, in fact, unafraid of being tainted by the worst president ever.

That's because Republicans don't see the connections between the big issues of our time. They want to deny that there's a relationship between the federal war on drugs and the insane overcrowding of prisons. They want to ignore the past seven years of shilling for Big Energy and its impact on mercury in the fish we eat here in North Carolina. They want to pretend that their complete abrogation of responsibility on comprehensive immigration reform isn't a factor in our state's inability to deal with the challenges.

It's all connected. Pat McCrory and Liddy Dole are in league with George Bush and John McCain. They under-value excellence in government service, and over-value profits for private companies. They are turning America into US, Inc., a money machine by which the rich get richer while slopping at the public trough.

This may not be an idea that stands on its own, but at least could be woven as a sub-theme into other stories. For example, I'll bet that some of the people outside a prison are connected to PTSD veterans who haven't been cared for by the Bush administration. Pat McCrory's new coal-burning Cliffside plant can be linked to the tragic saga of mercury poisoning in our food chain.

What would happen if . . .

all child care closed down for a week?

We've probably all seen the "Life comes at you fast commercial" where the little boy comes to work with his mom at a bank. He discovers the pneumatic tubes, and shoots all kinds of objects through them at the customer's car. Funny to watch, but think about it.

What if everyone had to bring their children to work? Or - what if they couldn't work because there was no child care? Talk about ghost factories! You'd see ghost banks, ghost doctors offices, ghost hospitals, etc.

I'd like to find a way to emphasize how vital the early care and education field is for the NC economy (I've got all kinds of stats, but they're boring to read) in a way that people can identify with - without calling for an actual strike of child care workers. (My dream is to organize them into a union, but that's years away.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Serious Impact

I hear about this on a regular basis. People don't think about the snowball effect that lack of child care can have.

Dual-parent households will be forced to work alternating shifts or drop to one income. This would reduce consumer purchases, due to lack of income or recreation time. Slowly but surely this would reduce demand, which would cause a reduction in employment and so on.

Find the angle and this is pure gold

Find the interview for this one and it's a winner. There's a young family -- or a struggling child care provider -- out there who can be the face of this story.

I can find it.

thanks frank.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

soundtrack

I suggest David Rovic's "Minimum Wage Strike" (in which, as one might imagine, he wakes up one day to find that the entire $5.85/hour set has walked out). mp3 here.

Perfect!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Story Idea: "Behind Closed Doors"

How about a whole series of video snippets from committee sessions? It may not be as human interest-ing as other ideas, but I can't think of a better way to get the transparency ball rolling.

As far as the "Local Farms" story, I've got an upcoming piece about one of Kay Hagan's bills that would fold into that nicely, but the video part will need to be done by someone else (hint hint).

Story Idea: "Fortress Raleigh"

As we see how accessible the General Assembly is to coverage through the process of making these films, I think we will definitely find the angle to address transparency.

And I would love to send someone to talk to Senator Hagan (hint hint). That's a gold star extra credit interview there, folks.

I'm trying, Frank ;)

And I would love to send someone to talk to Senator Hagan (hint hint). That's a gold star extra credit interview there, folks.

I've exchanged a few e-mails with Colleen, but I think Kay may be waiting to see if I actually choke on the crow I'm eating. It's actually going down smoother than I thought it would, but there's a whole murder of them left...

Aaand meet the producer

Hi everyone! Beth here and you probably have no idea who I am because I've been reading on BlueNC for the past few months, but not posting. At the insistance of my dear friend, Frank, I'm introducing myself as yet another person to bounce ideas off of and work to get production people involved.

This is a great thing we've got here with BlueNCTV. Thanks Frank!

The Winston-Salem office...

Beth is serving as Line Producer (as in keeping it in line and on-line) and Project Manager for the BlueNCTV factory operation here in Winston with me. And she operated the camera for the announcement yesterday!

Hi Beth!!!

Welcome to BlueNC! Glad to have you here!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Pages