Seniors Are The Stars, Before And Behind The Camera

June 06, 1991|By Jennifer Keats | Jennifer Keats,Contributing writer

Glen Burnie resident Howard Smith knows life doesn't end at retirement, and he has the videotape to prove it.

For the past year, the 68-year-old retired Baltimore Gas and Electric supervisor and nine other seniors from Pascal Senior Center have videotaped events at area senior centers -- everything from bazaars, ceramics classes and dance classes to fairs and much more.

Their efforts will culminate in a 10- or 30-minute segment, highlighting activities of the Department of Aging, which will air on Jones Intercable's Channel 42 early next month.

Smith, who helps run the camera and edits the tapes, described his responsibilities for theproject as "various and sundry."

Nancy Allred, assistant directorat Pascal Senior Center, said, "There's been a lot of trading off inthe group," since some enjoy being behind the camera or writing the script, while others enjoy editing.

About two years ago, the Pascal seniors began taking courses in video production at Anne Arundel Community College. Once the students had learned the basics, the group moved on to bigger projects.

By contacting production manager MarkTabor at Jones Intercable, the students were able to begin taking courses on the use of industrial video equipment. Producer Amy Poskin said Tabor piloted the program, but she has helped the seniors review the tapes and has offered suggestions on making the tapes look more professional.

"Howard is really the point person. He coordinates personnel, does all the leg work and works with the management at the Pascal Center," said Tabor.

Since the seniors have finished instruction, the cable company has lent them camera equipment, lights and tapes.

But, occasionally, problems arise.

Producers and directorsstill call Poskin with questions from the field. "I really enjoy working with them. They're great people," said Poskin.

The seniors' program is in the final stages, Poskin said. It may begin with an interview between Dr. Carol Baker, director of the county's Department ofAging, and County Executive Robert R. Neall speaking about the benefits of the area senior centers.

It will cut to music and show a montage of highlights at the centers, then cut back to Baker and Neall,Poskin said.

In this format, the segment will run for 10 minutes.Poskin also suggested the program could be made into a 30-minute show.

Several husband-and-wife teams have joined the filming crew, taking on a variety of responsibilities, including script-writing, lighting and working behind the camera.

Severna Park resident Joel Garber, who owns a video production company, said he and his wife, Fran,got involved in this project about two years ago when they stopped by to see what senior centers offer to retirees.

Fran Garber took the video production class and has been doing a lot of the script-writing.

"She had been doing this for me over a period of time," said Joel Garber, who often videotapes weddings.

Since he is a professional, Joel Garber says he tries to stay out of the project as much aspossible.

On June 18, the directors of the centers will meet to review and approve the tape submitted by the filming crew.

The filming crew at the center includes: Dorothy and Joe Calvert; Bill Ferguson; Gil Fontz; Fran and Joel Garber; Lorene Grogan; Tom Melhuish; BobOutman and Howard Smith.

For people who do not have cable, videotapes will be available for viewing at the centers.

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