Creators’ YTV vision will take time to develop

YTV co-founders Garren Givens ’04 and Tyler Golson ’04 have a vision for Yale’s first television station, but they know they may not see it fully realized before they graduate.

“The project is bigger than us,” Givens said.

After three weeks in existence and three years in the making, YTV is still working to compile a full schedule of shows. But Givens and Golson said they are focusing on their ability to give people who are interested in television a learning opportunity.

Golson said YTV is serving in its first months as an umbrella organization for people who are interested in developing TV shows.

“We’re a collection of people who know how to get things done,” Golson said. “While some of us may be producing our own shows, as a group we act as keepers of keys to the system.”

Many students propose basic show formats during YTV organizational meetings, Golson said, but it is important students consider logistics.

“How are you going to get [the show] done; how will it be filmed? In a Yale building or in a dorm room? How long do they want it to be?” Golson said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘I have this great idea for Conan meets Saturday Night Live.’”

The only student-created program that boasts a new episode every week is “The Yale Show,” a variety show that airs each Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Alexander Cote ’05, who co-hosts the show with Nick Evans ’05, said producing the show requires more time than most students expect.

“It’s a 60- to 70-hour commitment for two people,” Cote said. “We do everything from editing, to getting the camera working, to calling people to be in the skits and interviewing people.”

Cote is an Arts and Living Editor for the Yale Daily News.

Cote said the production crew not only tapes skits and interviews each Friday and Saturday but that he and Evans spend “all of Sunday until four or six in the morning” working on the show.

Givens said YTV has few programs at this time and currently organizes filmings of student events such as Master’s Teas to broadcast on the network. He said YTV is seeking students with a determined interest in television to develop more shows that will air regularly.

“We just need people like Nick and Zander who can take the initiative and attend workshops at the DMCA, find a friend with a camera and make it happen,” Givens said.

Givens produces YTV News, which will debut Nov. 7.

“The weekly news is ambitious for where YTV is at the moment. We’re still paying for our own tapes to film onto,” Givens said.

Golson said YTV’s production capabilities are limited because of a lack of resources. He said the administration initially provided an office, taping equipment and a connection to the cable system. YTV gets semesterly funding from the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee, but they get no additional money to purchase cameras and other technical equipment. Golson said YTV is considering selling advertising time to make money. But he said the limitations on resources should not frustrate students because YTV is intended as a learning opportunity.

“We can provide people with technical advice. We have contacts with every department and every media outlet on campus. We know the process by which you can rent things and where to borrow or buy cameras,” Golson said.

Givens said he hopes YTV will eventually be an organization that can provide for those who want to test their interest in television, as opposed to just catering to those who are certain television is what they want to pursue.

“With the News in particular, we’ve tried to mimic the structure of more established student organizations like the YDN and like WYBC, that are training grounds and can take in freshman and by their senior year, produce people who have a wealth of knowledge [in that media field],” Givens said.

Golson plans to produce “Queer Eye for the Yale Guy” for next semester, a project for which he received a JE Sudler Fund. He said he plans to involve local business and salons with the show. “Blind Date,” another program in the works, is currently filming its second episode and should air mid-November.Ê

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