Green Left TV was launched at the end of March. Six months down the track, it's useful to assess our work, the lessons, and possibilities for GLTV's future.
This report will briefly cover the following areas with some projections in each:
The motivation for GLTV is broadly the same as for Green Left Weekly: that the key battle for socialists in Australia today is ideological, the battle of ideas. From the anti-Muslim hysteria to refugee bashing to war and occupation and every other aspect of politics - the dominant corporate media plays a huge role in shaping opinion and defending the 1%.
So GLTV is another arm to fight with. The specific importance of GLTV, of fighting in the video/film arena, includes:
Continue to see GLTV as a valuable addition and complement to our key project and most powerful political tool, Green Left Weekly.
Strive to follow developments and possibilities in technology and online TV etc, to consider how GLTV can grow.
In the 6 months since GLTV was first launched, as at September 28, after around 180 days of GLTV we had:
Below are some groupings of our most popular videos, and the lessons they indicate.
Other areas that we have touched on in the first six months include:
Continue and build GLTV coverage of well known radicals (filming meetings, interviews, etc), plus trying to cover events which show clashes/conflict.
Build distribution and sharing, and try to get our videos promoted on other sites.
Develop experience around humorous and/or scripted videos.
Look to do more educational and explicitly socialist videos.
In six months from now, we should be able to have 600+ subscribers, 150,000 views and 200+ videos.
The Green Left Report is our feature, centrepiece program. The show is hosted by GLW's Simon Butler and Mel Barnes, and filmed and produced at Art Resistance at the Addison Rd Centre. Each show generally includes:
The program usually runs for 20-25 minutes. A crew of around 6 - 8 people help with production (3 cameras, 1 sound, 1 vision switcher, 1 teleprompter, 1 directing), and 2-3 help editing. Most, but not all, are members.
Interviewees so far have included: Christine Assange; Mohamad Tabbaa (Muslim commentator); Chris Graham (Tracker); Antony Loewenstein; Austin Mackell; Dianne Hiles; Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, plus our own members including Fred Fuentes, Jay Fletcher, Karl Hand, Mike Karadjis and more.
The response to the GLR has been positive, from interviewees and beyond. GLR has averaged around 1000 views, and have often been sent around broadly.
However, we could be doing much more to promote GLR. Some branches have started watching episodes in branch meetings (or in the meal period branches often have before meetings start). This would be a great way to get more people connecting with GLR.
GLR, as our most “professional” show, and working with the experience of Art Resistance, is a great training ground for us to learn activist film/video making skills.
Another success with GLR was the launch show (show #2), where around 60 people packed a live filming as part of the studio audience - raising funds and building support.
In Sydney, a further public taping is planned, where we also plan to involve the audience more, and we want to have regular public/audience shows - perhaps every two months or so.
We have now moved to filming the show fortnightly, with each episode planned to go live one week after filming.
Try to keep up fortnightly filming/producing of GLR - will need to expand team with Paul's role limited next year.
Collective screenings of GLR in branches where possible (ideas could include before branch meetings, at Resistance meetings, linked to film nights, special screening nights with the show and dinner, etc).
Try for some studio audience shows in Sydney, maybe every two months, with focus on audience participation.
Try to make shows as national (and international) as possible, with coverage from as many cities as possible, so that GLR is useful to all branches/areas.
Most SA and Resistance branches have had some interaction with GLTV since its beginning. Very broadly, the breakdown of involvement so far is:
There is plenty of room for involving more branches and comrades, and we want to help branches (and also comrades where a branch doesn't exist) to be part of GLTV.
A key way to achieve this is Activist Film Skills Training. We have so far run training sessions in Sydney; Hobart and at the last Res Conference.
These sessions are “train the trainer” - so we have a growing number of comrades with activist film skills (preparation, production/filming, post-production/editing) who can teach others so we can build teams.
We also need to see GLTV as an important recruitment tool, drawing people toward SA/Res/GLW, and/or radical film/video people who want help out and then get exposed to our politics and may get more involved. It can also help build our networks.
We can also try to think about GLTV producing videos that help with activist film skill training; but also with all manner of socialist training, education, skill sharing etc. Imagine someone in a more remote area, who can't get to a branch, but could watch a video on anything from the importance of GLW, to street campaigning, to organising a rally.
Teams: To strive to have either GLTV teams, or at least one comrade trying to coordinate GLTV, in each branch
Run activist film skills training whenever and wherever possible, especially at national gatherings.
Be conscious about using GLTV as a recruiter to Socialist Alliance, GLW, and Resistance
Consider “skills videos” that could help branches and comrades
The GLTV appeal raised around $50,500 during July/August, with a further $1000 coming a couple of weeks later, taking the total to about $51,500.
We can assess some things from this result:
There is considerable and growing support for, and excitement around, the GLTV project. While the total amount included all fundraising and donations over July/August, its clear there were numerous and sizeable donations specifically for getting GLTV on its feet.
Related to the above, the inspiration around GLTV seems to be linked to it being a new / different project, and also a “forward looking” project - supporters can readily understand that something like GLTV is the kind of thing the Green Left project needs to be branching into.
The funds naturally enough seemed to come from where GLTV is most active - it makes sense that if people can see GLTV being produced, and there is consciousness about talking up GLTV, that will bare fruit in support.
While GLTV so far has been able to be produced mostly with equipment that comrades already had or through the generous support of Art Resistance, we do need to start making some strategic purchases of equipment so we are at least partly “paying our way” in terms of equipment.
Continue to promote GLTV as a reason for people to donate to the GL Fighting Fund and have GLTV related fundraising events.
In liaison with the Finance Office, make some strategic GLTV equipment purchases for both (a) central production of the GLR (and other more professional centrally produced videos); and (b) to fill key gaps in branches around film equipment (of course with finances tight, this budget will be very limited, but some expense is reasonable given the strong donations to the GLTV appeal).
This section is very open ended. It would be great if at this National Council meeting, and beyond, comrades threw in ideas for GLTV (but also thinking about how they can help bring these ideas into being).
Here are some ideas to kick things off for future GLTV projects: