Warren Will Star Again

Our Town Warren is returning 15 years after the first user-created program.

What’s different?

How have things changed?

Representatives from WPSU Penn State Public Broadcasting met with a number of local officials Wednesday morning at the Struthers Library Theatre to discuss preparation for the Our Town program which will again focus on Warren.

WPSU Producers Whitney Chirdon and Jessica Peters are looking for the best stories to represent the community and encourage residents to grab a camera and hit the streets to document the people, places and events that make Warren special.

No prior experience with a camera or video camera is necessary. “Enthusiasm is the only requirement,” Chirdon said.

There are many ways to participate besides documenting aspects of Warren, she said, suggesting residents can work in teams, provide photographs, B-roll footage and handle pre-interviews.

WPSU producers will return to Warren on Tuesday, July 30 for a community meeting, open to the public, at the Library Theater at 6:30 p.m. to begin production of the program.

“This is where we’re going to have people who interested in the show, anybody, totally open to the public, come in and we’ll give them a brief training on how they can best tell their story. Then we’ll sign people up for interviews and we’re asking people to come to that meeting with an idea in mind of what story they would like to tell. We do ask people to sign up ahead so we have a schedule for the day and we’ll figure out what the show’s going to look like,” Chirdon said.

WPSU will provide one hour of blank videotape for each volunteer in their chosen format and will also provide a few cameras for volunteers to borrow for the project.

Residents will also hear stories from the rest of the community at the meeting, which might spur some ideas for the project, Peters said.

WPSU is looking for 20 to 25 stories to edit together for an hour-long program and broadcast sometime potentially on Thursday, Oct. 10.

“It’s a snap shot of the community, basically what this program is…you collect the footage, the photos, the video to tell a story and then each story will have a story teller that we will interview and weave together those photos and videos you provide along with your on camera interview to be the 20 to 25 stories that will comprise the hour-long program,” Peters said. “We’re just putting it together for you. This is the town’s project, the town’s show.”

WPSU will return on Saturday, Aug. 17, for a production day to talk about the stories. Producers will hold casual, on-camera interviews about the footage gathered to help tie the story together with narration and personality. The interview, video and photographs will head back to the the WPSU TV station to be professionally edited together.

Sam Komlenic, WPSU corporate support representative, said he will be approaching local business and industries to underwrite the program. Komlenic can be reached at smk12@psu.edu.

Members of the community who are interviewed for the program will be invited to an exclusive screening of the show once the footage has been edited. Video tapes and photographs will be returned and interviewees will also be invited to WPSU studios for the night of the live broadcast and answer phones during a fundraiser.

For information on creating a story, project updates and contact information visit wpsu.org/warren.