As a Montrealer who loves this community, thank you!
Kim Sullivan, blogger Montreal's MAtv
Special collaboration for the volunteering's action week
What stands out about MAtv is the importance of being “My Community’s Voice”. Not only do they make sure that the community is represented in the programming they present, as well as work on the content of their citizen-driven shows, but they also make sure that there are volunteering opportunities that open the studio doors to the community in order to have you participating and involved as much as you would like to be. Volunteers are crucial to community stations like MAtv and this month, I celebrate you!
Wikipedia describes volunteering as “an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development, (and) intended to make contacts for possible employment. Community volunteering refers globally to those who work to improve their local community”.
Many community & charity organizations featured in MAtv’s English shows depend on volunteers to function. Without people willing to give their time, most would not be able to survive. The latest statistics from 2013 show that Quebecers gave on average 123 hours of volunteering to community organisms. How incredible is that?! Volunteers are definitely changing the community landscape with their devotion.
Volunteering is the act of giving your time and your talents to the cause of your choice with the sole purpose of helping others. Volunteers are the backbone of the community and make a difference in the lives of others. - Akilah Newton, Executive Director of Overture With the Arts and MATV volunteer researcher
Volunteers, though, are not only found in community organizations. Many schools, hospitals and businesses open their doors to volunteers as well, not only to help with their needs but also in order to teach these individuals important tricks of the trade and allow them to network with people who could one day help them with employment. There is no better way to learn important skill sets than to be hands on and directly involved. That is especially true in the entertainment business!
I can certainly attest after 10 years in radio that the business of entertainment certainly is not an easy one to get into! Many people wish and dream that they could work in some sort of media related field, but the opportunities are scarce and the environment is often painted by budget cuts. Volunteering at MAtv not only helps serve the community with a true citizen eye guiding their content, but it also allows individuals who’ve always been interested in the milieu to gain the skills necessary to work in the field.
Once a week, MAtv opens their studio doors to a cohort of English volunteers for television workshops. Gordon Donnelly, a producer-director for 35 years now, teaches the weekly seminars. Each lesson lasts three hours and tackles a different aspect of television, from TV sound mastering to researching, editing, hosting and everything in between! Gordon is helped by two MAtv technicians and by experts who come in to teach the specifics.
“It’s fun! For someone like me, who’s been in the business for 35 years, I get to volunteer my own time and act as a teacher and mentor to these volunteers. It’s a great opportunity for me to give them handy tips and shortcuts that I have personally learned over the years and that are so valuable to those starting out in the business. I tend to like seeing them make their own mistakes. That is truly how you learn best and this is certainly the best time and place to be making them… once you get a job, you don’t get many chances to make those mistakes!” - Gordon Donnelly, Producer-Director & teacher (standing up in the middle of the class)
To make these workshops even more valuable, they are broken down into 2 rounds. The first round of sessions is an introduction to the different jobs in television. As one of the dozen of volunteers, you learn about content related job, like being a host, a contributor and a production coordinator. You then get to play producer and direct – plus maybe be featured in – promotional ads that will actually air on MAtv! Technical sessions are next, where you practice television production. That means that you actually get to work the camera, the lighting and/or be floor manager in mini-productions
“What volunteering means to me is giving to the community as well as to be able to showcase my talents, knowledge, as well as to learn and embrace change. Volunteering has changed my life by allowing me to explore different things and meet new people and make friends as well as sharing experiences - whether it be humorous or true to life as well as inspirational. Volunteering at MAtv has allowed me the opportunity to learn about television. As a person who has been in the radio broadcasting industry for 30 years, MAtv has made an opportunity for growth and to look inside the 3rd dimension - that of television; the processes as well as the intellectual minds of the people involved.” - Sheldon Eric Fried, one of this year’s student-volunteers
Round 2 consists of 12 workshops on how to create a show template, ways to approach production houses and an actual show production! Even for someone like me, who’s been in radio for a decade, this information about the television side of things is new and priceless. Furthermore, you work with the other volunteers on creating a show from start to finish – who knows, it might even be showcased on MAtv! There truly is no better way to learn, grow, experience and give back to the community then by being so involved in community productions – I know, my show is coming out this May!
MAtv has 9 studios across the province and volunteer opportunities are numerous. To find the closest location to you, visit their list of channels
Have you always wanted to present a show idea, produce, host, manage, commentate and/or even film a community program? If so, CLICK HERE to find out how to submit your ideas to MAtv (their website advises that, with the sheer volume of ideas they receive, it might take about 3 months before they contact those they are interested in).
Finally, as a Montrealer who loves this community, a big THANK YOU to you, dear volunteer. No matter where you are spending those hours, nor for which organization, do know that you are making a difference around you and that it’s truly appreciated!