By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter April, 2008. Also published on the Foxboro Cable Access Website April, 2008.
Today I thought I’d share a fun memory, an example of me doing something stupid (suspend your disbelief) and suggest another opportunity for YOU to volunteer to help the community and have a great time doing it.
It’s Thursday June 22, 2007 and I’m on Foxboro Common at the first of the annual Foxboro Jaycee concerts of the season.
A few years back, my friend Lauren (LB) Bitar, who works at Foxboro Cable Access (FCA), asked me if I would man a camera for the evening; that turned into a regular summer event for me.
I love working with FCA. Being one of the cameramen (or getting to direct the five-camera operation from the FCA mobile unit) is something I enjoy tremendously. It is a *BLAST* using the cameras from Foxboro Cable Access — the setup is completely professional and I get to play with the tech toys, learn the jargon, and have so much fun working side by side with people who do this for a living.
And the free Jaycee concerts are always a memorable time. It’s wonderful to be out with everybody every Thursday night on the common, meeting old friends, seeing people get together for a night of free (and really good) music, noshing on popcorn and soda — I love it.
That particular June evening ended on a bizarre, exhilarating note. As the concert was wrapping up at about quarter to nine, we noticed there was lightning in the distance. Rain had been forecast and had fortunately held off. But by sign-off time we could see the lightning moving ominously and steadily up Main Street, and literally just a few moments after the last note was played and we were starting to wrap up the cable equipment and the cameras and the cords and everything else — the storm hit!
The lightning was incredible, like a high-intensity strobe. And the rain that immediately followed — the skies just opened up. It was Noah and the flood, or “The Final battle of Matrix Revolutions” type of rain. It just did not stop.
So we were getting soaked, and here we are, quickly putting away all the equipment, and here’s me, the newbie idiot, holding metal poles that support lights and metal poles that held up tents, and to certify my chances of winning the Darwin award, in my left hand I am holding — a 100 foot electric extension cord that yes, was still plugged in.
Fortunately, I realized immediately that I was being the poster child for “how to get hit by lightning” and dropped the cord so it could be unplugged first and made a dash for the truck with my personal portable lightning rods, torrential rain falling and the team getting everything put away as quickly as we could.
It was exhilarating, it was hilarious, it was fun, and I wasn’t struck by lightning, which is always a bonus.
I spend most of my summer Thursdays volunteering to man a camera for FCA, and for five years I’ve also been behind the scenes in the control room for the Doolittle Home Auction. And if I haven’t been clear: This is FUN.
Interested? There’s more. You might not know that Foxboro Cable Access provides an opportunity for Foxboro residents to produce local television programs for the Foxboro community. Their non-profit corporation is responsible for three cable TV channels on Comcast cable in Foxboro. You are encouraged to contact them at 508-543-4757 and learn more about how you can get involved.
FCA volunteers produce many different types of programs, including: Church Services, Local Sports, Community Events, Local Music, Local Talk Shows, Foxboro Historical Society, Public Forums, and Government Meetings.
There are many opportunities to volunteer to help at FCA and you learn so much and get to see the inner workings and behind the scenes of a professional television station. How cool is that? Check out their web site (www.fcatv.org) or give them a call.
Oh–Just don’t hold the aluminum poles and the live electrical cord in a lightning storm. FCA frowns on that sort of thing, and rightly so.