NECAT wants us all to spend more time with the TV screen. No, really.
Nashville Education, Community, and Arts Television, also known as NECAT, exists to teach people how to make TV shows in their cutting-edge studio and then broadcast those shows so that the world can appreciate the art and education of Middle Tennessee. This nonprofit offers an array of programming that shows individuals and organizations how to express their perspectives through this one-of-a-kind outlet.
“The way I see it,” said Trish Crist, CEO of NECAT, “is you can stay home and watch TV or you can come here and make TV.”
Most parents prefer their teenagers make TV, as evidenced by NECAT’s booming Fall, Spring, and Summer break TV camps. Themes range from zombie movies to stop-motion to sports TV, which is now a recurring camp thanks to support from the Predators Foundation. Sports TV camp exposes young athletes interested in a career in sports to an array of jobs they never even knew existed, whether it is camera work, play-by-play, editing, or even hosting sports TV.
“We want to inspire young people to consider a career in filmmaking and television production,” said Crist.
NECAT works closely with Metro Nashville Public Schools to offer career training that counts for credit in five public high schools with broadcast career pathways, plus Nashville School for the Arts. In just four years, NECAT has equipped over 400 juniors and seniors with the technical skills that could get them jobs in TV and film production.
The most driven of these students are invited to join the NECAT Super Crew, a team of 35 students who serve in every technical role creating Our Nashville. The series features a different local nonprofit every episode, from the Barbershop Harmony Society to Interfaith Dental Clinic.
“Most often these organizations don’t have the money, staff, or time to take advantage of media,” said Crist. “We’re able to offer this resource while showing our students the behind the scenes of working in production.”
Our Nashville is currently filming its second season, which airs on NECAT’s arts, education, and public access channels (Comcast Channels 9, 10, and 19 and ATT Channel 99) reaching 19 counties in Middle Tennessee. Content is also available On Demand and through NECAT’s livestream on necatnetwork.org/watch-live.
It’s not just teens that get to make TV, though, NECAT has programming for adults and organizations. Through evening workshops and annual memberships, anyone 13 and older can make a show. NECAT’s members have made sketch comedy, fashion shows, documentaries, cooking shows, music videos, and talk shows.
“A LOT of talk shows,” according to Crist.
NECAT wants people to share what they love with the world and to connect with their neighbors in the process. Members are as diverse as the community. People who may have never crossed paths become each others’ crew members and friends. Their TV shows become an expression of themselves, which can make for challenging discussions, but ultimately allows the audience to better understand who they are.
In a time where we may feel divided and disconnected, a little more screen time might be just what is needed.
Learn more at necatnetwork.org.
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