Manhattan's Public Access Television Station

Producer - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a "fill tape"?

A “fill tape” is a program that we air when a regular series or single show isn’t available. In short, we use fill tapes to fill in any vacant timeslots in our TV programming schedule.

We strive to broadcast continuously and, at times, request fill tapes from producers who have an active series or who have submitted programming in the past. Fill tapes are scheduled at will - sometimes even at the last minute. Therefore, MNN staff is not obligated to inform producers when their fill tapes will air.

Once a tape is submitted as a fill tape, it becomes the property of our tape library until we determine it to be out of date. We require a signed Program Agreement with each submission. This agreement contains information stating that the program is a fill tape, the title of the program, and a short description of the program topic.

When are my tapes due?

Tapes for programs that have already been scheduled are due at the Tape Library four days before they are scheduled to air and can be dropped off during these times:

TAPE LIBRARY HOURS
212-757-2670 x302
Business Hours: Monday – Friday, 12pm-8pm
Saturday: 10am-4pm
Sunday: Closed

Thursday tapes are due on Saturday;
Friday tapes are due on Monday;
Saturday tapes are due on Tuesday;
Sunday tapes are due on Wednesday;
Monday tapes are due on Thursday;
Tuesday tapes are due on Friday;
Wednesday tapes are due on Saturday.

Late tapes will not be played. Tapes submitted after they are due will be considered for the next scheduled air date.

If the due date falls on a closed holiday, tapes must be submitted on the business day before the holiday. MNN observes all national holidays. Any tape submitted after closing counts towards the next business day.


(Click here for schedule of MNN holiday closings).

What are MNN's requirements for tape submissions?

All submissions must meet the following technical requirements:

To ensure a higher quality playback we prefer tapes in mini-DV format, however we also accept the following formats: Mini-DV and DVCAM mastered DVD. All tapes must be recorded in the SP (two-hour) speed. We do not currently accept HD programming.

We accept only one program per format. DVDs must be mastered, or playable in a standard DVD player, with no chapters.

The program must start within three minutes from the beginning of the recording. A half hour show will air for a total of 28 minutes and an hour-long show will air for a total of 58 minutes.

We will not air submissions that have noticeable video dropout, no video, or extremely low audio, as well as DVDs that are damaged, contain debris, or are hazardous to MNN playback equipment.

MNN is also not liable if the program or material submitted is damaged, lost, or stolen while in its custody except in the case of gross negligence on the part of our staff, resulting in damage or loss of submitted tapes. In the case of gross negligence, liability is limited to the cost of replacing one blank DVD in exchange for the submitted program. For this reason, MNN does not recommend submitting master copies.

How can I air a show on MNN?

There are two ways to have your show air on one of MNN’s community channels. Producers (that means you) are able to submit a single, pre-produced show or apply for a regularly scheduled series. A single, pre-produced show is a show that appears just once on MNN; a regular series is an ongoing television show that appears regularly on one of our network stations. Just remember, you cannot have a single show and a series airing at the same time. We also give priority to Manhattan residents and all submissions must meet our technical requirements.

To submit your show, follow the directions outlined here.

Regularly Scheduled Series: For Manhattan Residents Only

To apply for a series, submit a Series Timeslot Request form and pilot tape to the Programming Department (Room 205) within the two weeks before the quarter deadline. (Applications are not submitted before or after the two-week period.) Tapes must be either Mini-DV, DVCAM, or DVD. You must also submit a photocopy of your photo ID and proof of residency. Only one tape per series application. These guidelines apply for any quarter that you wish to submit a new series for.

Click for series deadline dates here.

Single Programs: For Manhattan and Non-Manhattan Residents

If you have a 28- or 58-minute program ready to turn in, download and complete the Single Timeslot Request form. Hand it in at any time with your tape to the Tape Library or the Programming Office (Room 205). One tape per Single Timeslot Request application form.
A half-hour long special will air three times within a month period, and an hour-long special will air twice. Episodes that are longer than 58 minutes will be scheduled at the discretion of MNN. Specials applications take 3 to 4 weeks to process. You will then be called or emailed with the airtime, channel, and day.

You cannot have a special and a series airing at the same time. If you want your episode aired immediately, submit your tape as a special. You may apply for a series next available quarter.

What exactly do you mean by "advertising"?

We do not allow advertising on MNN’s public access network stations. By “avertising,” we mean that you cannot use MNN to sell a product or service. However, you can give credit to services rendered for your show. Please read the details of commercial programming restrictions in our Programming Policies for more information.

What can I put in my show?

MNN champions freedom of speech. You can take any political stance or preach any religious idea. You can also even record a flower for 28 minutes or play a ukelele and sing expletives! We encourage you to use MNN as a platform to broadcast your voice to the world.

However, as viewers, we hope you will show us the fascinating subjects, characters, and voices that are often left out of mainstream media. We encourage you to have fun, but also to take responsibility for the world around you.

What you cannot do is: advertise or sell products or services; use copyrighted material; show animals or humans being injured or killed; slander anyone; or show hardcore pornography, such penetration or any genital contact. Any shows with adult content or language must be aired after 11:00 P.M.

If you feel that the content you wish to air would be considered “questionable material,” we suggest checking out our Programming Policies.

 

Do I have to make a TV show to get involved at MNN?

Yes - after all, MNN is a community-based TV station. We believe in creating TV by the people, for the people!

After completing one of our Certified Producer tracks, you must create a show in order to move on to other classes. However, it is not necessary for you to produce a regular series to stay active at MNN. You can always help other people on their shows - our Community Bulletin Boards have frequent postings from producers looking for help!

Who owns the rights to my program?

You give us the right to air your program, but all ownership rights belong to you.

How can I sign up for workshops?

We give you the information you need to sign up after you attend an Orientation meeting. Once we hear a little bit more about your intended show, we will help you determine which workshops are best suited for you.

Be aware that because these are free classes, the demand is very high. We encourage you to speak with an instructor or another staff member to help you target your workshop needs. Once we’ve helped you select the workshops you will take, we’ll sign you up for the next available course. This usually takes between 15 to 45 days, depending on the demand.

Students who have already attended orientation can sign up for classes by calling 212-757-2670 x312 or emailing workshops@mnn.org.

How do I sign up for an Orientation?

To register for an Orientation meeting, you must visit MNN's reception desk during Monday through Friday, between 12:00 and 8:00 P.M. You will need to bring a valid photo ID and proof of Manhattan residency with you to sign up for the Orientation meeting.

An MNN staff member will make copies of your documentation and you will be informed by mail of the date of your Orientation.

How long do I have to complete a project using MNN's facilities or equipment?

Once you start a project with our facilities and/or equipment, you have three months to complete a show. A good public access show usually can be shot in a weekend and edited in two or three days.

How do I go from Orientation to becoming a full-fledged producer?

After successfully completing a workshop, you will take a one-night Producer's Workshop. Here, you will get your MNN badge, fill out paperwork to start your project, and learn how to reserve and use the production studios and/or equipment. After completing a Certified Producer track and all relevant requirements - which includes projects, internships, and volunteer sessions - you will be a full-fledged producer ready to start making your own show!

Can I sign up for more than one workshop at a time?

Our introductory workshops are designed to be taken one at a time, so you can focus on learning one area of production while starting out. If you're following one of our workshop tracks you will be expected to create a show before you can begin another workshop track. Experienced students who are already active at MNN and have completed the requisite classes can take more than one Advanced Studio class at a time. What is a track? Workshops that go together, like Digital 3-Camera Studio and Digital Control Room, are grouped into specific tracks, to better focus your education at MNN. Once you master a set of skills, you can go on to another track. We are investing time in your training, and we need programs to fill up 4 channels 24 hours a day. Please use your training to produce a show for air before you sign up for more workshops. To determine which track best suits your needs to start, please speak with a staff member or call the Orientation Hotline at 212-757-2670 x312.

When are your classes and how long are they?

We teach workshops every month in studio, editing, and field equipment. Workshops range from two to six sessions a month. We generally offer daytime and evening classes, though sometimes we provide weekend sessions to accommodate varying schedules. On your Training Agreement, please let us know when you are available.

Can I start a series at anytime?

There are four times a year when you can start a series: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Our deadlines are posted online or you can always ask the Programming Department when the next deadline is by calling 212-757-2670 x305 or x334.

To submit a regular series proposal, follow these directions.

 

If I already know how to use a piece of equipment, do I still need to take the workshop?

If you have used a prosumer or professional camera, iMovie, and/or Final Cut Pro, you can attempt to test out of the class showcasing your familiarity with the equipment to one of our instructors.

However, even if you have some experience, we highly recommend you take workshops to improve upon your skills. Workshops are also a great way to meet other people interested in making TV and you never know when you'll need another helping hand!

How can I find out more about signing up for classes or equipment?

For more information on MNN's classes and how to get access to free equipment, call our Education Hotline at 212-757-2670 x312 o email workshops@mnn.org.

What is the difference between a series and a single?

A regular series is a program with a regularly scheduled timeslot. You can apply for a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly slot. Keep in mind that a regular series is a 13-week commitment and you will need to be prepared to provide us with new shows on a regular basis. A regular series is great to build up an audience for your work.

A single show is a program that has a one-time slot. You make a show and we air it in one of the empty timeslots in our schedule. We will air a 28-minute show three times and a 58-minute show two times. There is no deadline for submitting a single show and it is a great way to get your video aired faster, without the commitment of multiple shows.

What facilities does MNN have for producing a program?

MNN has television studios, production equipment, and editing facilities available for Manhattan residents. In order to use MNN equipment and facilities, you must be trained and certified as an MNN Certified Producer.

Why does the workshop I signed up for have a wait list?

While we wish we didn’t have to put you on a waiting list, we recently outfitted MNN’s facilities with state-of-the-art media production equipment. This once-in-a-decade upgrade means that all of our producers have access to the most up-to-date media production equipment to produce their programs. It also means all producers must be re-certified, and has increased demand for our training workshops.

What is your wait list policy for workshops?

If you sign up for a workshop that is full, you will receive a spot on our waiting list. If a spot opens up, you will be notified via email. If a spot does not open up in the workshop for which you are on a waiting list, you will receive an email from MNN the day before the workshop is scheduled to begin.

I am signed up for a training workshop but can’t make one session. Can I still get certified?

You cannot make up a missed session, and we ask that you arrive on time. If you are more than 15 minutes late, we may not permit you to attend that session. If you know that you cannot attend a session you are confirmed to attend, please contact us and we will gladly place you in the next available workshop. If you do not show up for your workshop and do not inform us in advance, then we will place you in the last slot of the waiting list for the next available workshop. Please note that it may take up to three months to be rescheduled into another workshop.