The Art of Willinet

So you think you’ve explored all that Spring Street has to offer. You’ve tapped the Williamstown mecca for all of its eating, film developing and extension cord-buying capacities. Before you begin feeling jaded with your familiarity of the quaint college hub, ask yourself if you’ve ever been behind the tinted glass doors of the obscure WilliNet office.

If you are like most of the student body, you have absolutely no clue what WilliNet is, except for a vague suspicion that it is affiliated with Williams College and the Internet – both of which are wrong. Although the WilliNet office has the much-coveted Spring Street address, few curious souls have ever ascended the linoleum steps to the bowels of this seemingly covert operation.

Those who have uncovered a fully stocked television studio complete with an editing center, cameras up the wazoo and anything else one could ever need to produce a TV show. So if you have always wanted to be the next Jerry Springer or Judge Judy, WilliNet can make your Hollywood dreams a reality!

Since 1994 WilliNet has been providing Williamstown residents with public access programming. Public access television is initiated in an area when the citizens request a television forum. By law, cable companies must fund these channels without collecting revenue. These channels are outlets for citizens to air whatever tickles them.

Any member of the Williamstown community, including Williams College students, has free access to the equipment and airtime facilitated by WilliNet. After four hours of training – two devoted to camera operation and two devoted to editing. You are then entitled to airtime on channel 17, free to submit any creation of your making and have it shown at a time you desire outside of the slots given to the nine scheduled shows.

Although WilliNet airs through super VHS – and the camcorders the network provides utilize the same format – submissions may take any form. Whether you submit material on your standard home VHS or digital camera, professionals at the station will convert it to the proper format. The WilliNet staff will not preview, censor or mutilate your brainchild. Your only responsibility for the content lies in the reactions of the public viewers. The sole repercussions that may arise will be those falling under the jurisdiction of a court of law. For example, show producers may be sued for libel or slander if a viewer is offended.

Much to our surprise, the enterprising Williams student body has yet to pounce on this local gem. The opportunities for student initiated projects are endless. Unlike network TV, public access stations do not rely on the approval of viewer ratings. Being released from this obligation, programming becomes user oriented and provides a great venue for any new talents or hidden creativity. In addition to individual showings of imaginative fancy, clubs and organizations on campus could benefit greatly from the publicity provided by segments featuring their meetings and activities.

If you have ever had an interest in any aspect of film production, WilliNet is the perfect medium to exhibit your work in a non-discriminating, pressure-free, self-scheduled environment. For more information about forming your own show, give Chad Lillie (WilliNet’s executive director) a call at 458-0900.

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