Ever since I started working in video, volunteering has been a staple of my work. One of the first things I did was get certified as a producer for a regional public access channel. Through that outlet, I covered several events in local towns. When I got my own equipment, I continued to cover local events and provide content to that station. The content ranged from event coverage to original, narrative work.
Due to the experiences I had as a volunteer for that station, I decided to register as a volunteer for another local public access channel that was more focused on a specific city. In the beginning, this seemed like a very positive thing. The channel definitely boasted a more pro-active environment, producing a variety of its own original shows and working with high school students. It definitely seemed like an environment that I wanted to be a part of.
Recently, my outlook has completely changed. My experience with this new local access channel has not been positive. It’s recently come to my attention that the channel hasn’t used any of the work that I’ve done for them, and this, paired with my experiences with them lately, makes me rethink volunteering with them at all.
I mentioned that this station had a more “pro-active” outlook. For them, this basically would entail me being at their office every week, like an intern. I can’t agree with that. That’s not how I see my volunteer work. While I enjoy covering local events for the community, I can’t do that entirely on a volunteer basis. I have other priorities, and I have to be able to make money somehow. When I volunteer, I do so because I want to, not because I’m being forced to.
Since I’m not at the office with them regularly, I definitely feel as though I’m not treated with the same respect as I would otherwise. When you add that experience to the fact that they haven’t used any of the content I’ve provided, it makes me feel like I’m wasting my time providing them content at all.
I’ll definitely be thinking over this for a while. It pains me to think about cutting ties like this. I don’t usually like burning bridges. I want to keep my outlets open if possible.
Even if I do cut ties with this station, I will still be covering events through E Leal Productions. That’s still a big part of what I do as a freelance media producer. I enjoy putting packages together, even if I have to post them myself.