When she was looking around for how to use her training in television production Helen Chatel was inspired to get into community access television.
Now the new executive director of the Watertown Community Access Center hopes to inspire others to get involved in community access, too.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to build a base (of volunteers) and get the community more involved in making their own shows.” Chatel said.
Chatel comes to town from Bolton, Conn., where she served as executive director for a community access center serving about the same number of people, but in seven towns.
While applying for the position, Chatel said she was impressed with the WCAC facility, housed in the basement of Watertown High School.
“When I came in for the interview and saw the facility I thought, this is an amazing facility,” Chatel said.
Chatel said she wants to fill the facility with volunteers. She sees great possibilities for WCAC.
Despite being in a major media market, the Boston news channels focus on bad news or stories in other communities.
“Public access can provide what’s going on in their community,” Chatel said.
Along with the coverage of government meetings and sports, Chatel said she is glad to see shows like the one about locals’ contribution during World War II.
“I think that’s so important,” she said. “Everyone wants to be global but forget about what their roots are: What role did Watertown play in World War II or in raising a baseball star.”
Getting involved does not require prior experience, Chatel said, the center will train people who want to get involved in television production.
“Someone might say ‘I’ve been in construction my whole life,’ They may not know anything about cameras and are afraid of technology,” Chatel said. “Come here. It’s a safe environment. It is not graded. There’s no test.”
Watertown residents can get training through workshops that last four weeks, one night a week, Chatel said. WCAC may even start workshops for children.
“We are looking at working with the Recreation Department to get a workshop over the summer,” Chatel said.
The program may work well for preteens who are not interested in summer camps and have an interested in television and technology, she said.
Those interested in opportunities at WCAC can contact Chatel at 617-923-8610, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.