Perhaps you’ve seen or heard about the huge mural on the CMAC building in downtown Fresno and wondered to yourself, “What exactly is CMAC?” We could have a lot of fun figuring out goofy acronyms for it, like Chickens Must Accessorize Charmingly, but I think my editor would get mad at me if I do that. [Ed. note—I am mad. It’s clearly Cow Mustaches Are Confetti]
In reality, CMAC stands for Community Media Access Collaborative, and it’s where people in the Fresno area can access video, sound, and camera technology, create their own shows, develop camera skills, and even test their acting chops.
CMAC’s goal is to empower voices in the community through media. According to Bryan Harley, CMAC’s Director of Operations, “We know there’s tons of people in our community with great stories to tell or important information to share, and we want to help them do it.”
If you want to utilize today’s technology to get a message out, there are several ways to do this at CMAC. I asked Bryan to give me the lowdown on what’s available.
The Community Media Center
“CMAC has a community media center located in downtown Fresno. This is a place where the public can learn how to tell their stories through media. We have state-of-the-art facilities, like a 1,000-square-foot TV studio, classrooms, computer lab, private editing rooms, meeting rooms, voice-over booth, a mobile production van, and more. We also have equipment you can check out, just like you check out a book at the library. You can have access to all of this with an annual CMAC membership which costs only $50 for individuals and $25 for students — that’s for a whole year!”
“We provide access to three TV channels (public, education, and government) which can be viewed on Comcast and AT&T U-verse cable within the cities of Fresno and Clovis, and parts of Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties. The channels are also live streamed 24/7/365 on www.cmac.tv, Roku, and Apple TV. By ‘access’, I mean that these channels belong to the community. Anyone who has a video to share can send it to us and we’ll air it. There’s no costs involved—this is a free service to the community.”
“Before you can grab a camera, we need to make sure you know how to use it! We teach a variety of workshops on topics like producing, script writing, how to use camera and sound equipment, how to edit video, and more. If someone already has some knowledge, they can test out of our workshops and check out equipment right away. If you’re in the mood to learn, feel free to attend as many workshops as you’d like as often as you’d like. ”
Events and Activities
“Once you’ve gone through the necessary training workshops, there’s a variety of other things to do. You can check out equipment or reserve our facilities to create your own TV show. You can volunteer in the studio or connect with other members who need help with their show. Additionally, you can attend our monthly mixers to network with others or listen to special guest speakers. Finally, you can drop by one of our monthly member groups—there’s groups for aspiring actors, voice-over artists, producers, and editors. Every fall we hold ‘CMAC Fest’ to celebrate the achievements of our members and enjoy great food, drink, and live entertainment.”
“While a majority of the shows you’ll see on CMAC’s channels are produced by community volunteers, the CMAC staff also spends a portion of their time creating programs. We make sure you stay civically engaged by live-broadcasting every City Council and Planning Commission meeting, plus other government events. We broadcast school board meetings and programs from local schools and colleges. We partner with teachers and students to broadcast high school, college, and semi-pro sporting events. We cover community events like the Chinese New Year Parade and the Clovis Children’s Electric Christmas Parade. During election season, we provide important coverage of candidate debates and election results.”
So basically the possibilities for learning and creating are endless. According to Bryan, “You can use CMAC for just about anything—as long as you don’t break any laws! Unlike other TV channels, 99% of what you see on CMAC is created by the community, for the community.”
CMAC Informational Meeting Thursday, June 29
You can learn more about CMAC at a public informational meeting that will be held at the Betty Rodriguez Regional Library (3040 N. Cedar Ave.) on Thursday, June 29, at 6:30 p.m. The Facebook event page is here. You can follow CMAC on Facebook as well by clicking here.
Bryan says, “If you can’t make it to Thursday’s meeting, there will be another opportunity on Monday, July 3, at our community media center in downtown Fresno (1555 Van Ness Ave.). Every day there’s something happening at the media center, whether it’s a live or recorded TV show, workshop, meet-up group, or other event. Check our website for a full calendar. Stop by any time for a tour, we’d be happy to show you around.”
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