What I learned from our Primary coverage

As you probably know, here at ACMi we have been very busy over the last few weeks with our coverage of the State Primary Elections coming up on Tuesday, Sept 9. We have done in-depth interviews with 24 of the 33 candidates on the ballot, and we also hosted a debate (the one and only one, in fact!) in the race for Governor’s Council. I had the privilege of doing 14 of those interviews, as well as hosting the debate. I am grateful for the chance to participate in this way, both because it is an excellent example of the unique resource we provide for our community, and because the experience offered several revelations for me personally.

Like many of you perhaps, I have lived long enough to grow quite weary of “politics” as we mostly experience them – from the morass of bickering inertia that is the current U.S. Congress, to the strident caterwauling that emits from the respective ends of the political spectrum, to the persistent disconnect between campaign promises and in-office actions. So I’m very happy – thrilled, even – to report that after taking part (either on camera or behind the scenes) in the vast majority of the 24 profiles we have here on our website, I’ve come away with a certain degree of reassurance. Here’s why…

While the candidates we interviewed aspire to 13 different state and national offices, and they represent a very broad range of experience from neophyte to decades in public service, almost to a person they exuded a genuine sense of commitment, even zeal, for this work. Some were more directly responsive to the questions asked than others, but on the whole the candidates displayed a commendable respect for the process, yes, but even more importantly for their audience. Sitting across the desk from the candidates as the proxy for the audience they were speaking to, I could palpably feel the earnestness with which they were attempting to connect and communicate with their constituents, and I have to say it felt real.

In the end, am I more confident that those we vote into office in this round of elections will be better at genuinely and effectively representing the interests of Massachusetts residents than their predecessors may have been? I wish I could shout Yes! to that…

But what I DO believe is that my own time was very well spent listening to what these folks have to say. On Tuesday, I will walk more confidently into the voting booth to exercise MY right and responsibility as a citizen in a more informed way than I ever have, and with the conviction that I will be choosing among a slate of candidates who have earned my thoughtful consideration, and are not simply faceless politicos.

Don’t forget that you can find all the profiles and the full debate here. If you would like to respond to what I’ve written here, please feel free to email me at James@acmi.tv, and thanks for listening.

ACMi Swings into Community ACTion

We are very excited to announce the inaugural episode of a new series we’re calling Community ACTion. Every Friday morning we will open Studio A to non-profit organizations in Arlington and the surrounding communities, inviting them to come and tell us what they do and how they do it. At ACMi we are always seeking new ways to foster closer connections throughout our community, and helping Arlington residents become better informed about the important services and opportunities provided by our local non-profits is one of our main goals in introducing this new series.

We filmed our first episode this morning! The Young Adult Vocational Program (YAVP)photo 3-2 is a transitional program that provides daily structure for young adults with psychiatric disabilities. YAVP’s Program Director, Ray Thomas, came to Studio A with a number of the program’s clients. Several of them worked behind the scenes on the production, and two  were featured guests, discussing the success they have enjoyed as YAVP participants and the beneficial effect it has had on their lives. Under the artful direction of ACMi’s Jonathan Barbato and Jessica Barnthouse (gotta love those JBs!), the whole shoot went smoothly and was a worthy introduction to what promises to be an exciting, enriching, and highly informative addition to the ACMi schedule.

photo 2-3

If you are connected to a local non-profit or know someone who is, Community ACTion is for YOU. Make arrangements to join us any Friday morning at Studio A and help us and Arlington get to know who you are. Email us at info@acmi.tv, and we will follow up from there. Let’s make some community magic together!

ACMi is BUZZING this week!

It’s SummerFun Week, and we’re all having a blast with IMG_0326the dozen students who have enrolled in a week-long television production “camp” at ACMi. All the kids are soaking up information like the sponges they are, from camera operation to sound boards to studio IMG_0321production. They will also be learning about how to film events on location, how to do animation, and how to edit what they have shot into a broadcast-quality program. As you can see in these photos, all of us on staff have been taking part in both the instruction and the proceedings, and we have really been enjoying ourselves in the process! And boy, these youngsters sure do pick things up quickly!! IMG_0317IMG_5290 IMG_0319IMG_0316

iPhone Filmmaking for Boston Herald Literacy Champions

Something special occurred last week at the Boston Herald headquarters. A group of diverse educators from around the state were each awarded a $1000 grant for being recognized as Mass. Literacy Champions. ACMi’s Production Coordinator Jonathan Barbato arrived to spread media literacy through an iPhone Filmmaking Workshop.

“Jonathan brought a special energy into the room with his workshop. Everybody was excited about creating videos on their phones and sharing their ideas with others,” says Julie DeFrancesco, Director of Mass Literacy Foundation.Inline image 2

Everyone has the ability to create beautiful videos on-the-fly with a smart phone. Jonathan’s number one tip is to hold your phone in the landscape position, or sideways (see photo above), as opposed to the portrait position, which is upright.

Come to the ROUGH CUT Social Event at SCATV!


ACMi is partnering with our colleagues at Somerville Community Access TV (SCATV) to present ROUGH CUT MEDIA SOCIAL. This event is open to all media makers who have a video work-in-progress. This means a TV show, documentary, experimental film, music videos, etc. You will screen 3-5 minutes of your piece, and the audience will give their feedback immediately following. A select group of filmmakers will guide the feedback process throughout the event. One such esteemed critic is Mike Oliver from the Medford Arts Council. Feel free to come just to watch – no film submission is required! And Free Snacks will be provided!!

Here’s all you need to know about ROUGH CUT:

Date: Sunday, June 29th, from 3-5pm

Location Details: The event is held at The Uniun, 3 Sanborn Court, Union Square (across from Stone Place Park). 

Contact: Erica Jones, programming@scatvsomerville.orgor at


Technical Specs: Bring your video on a thumbdrive or DVD

RSVP HERE to the Facebook event!

Here comes the Steve Katsos Show 5th Anniversary Spectacular!

ACMi is delighted to pass on this exciting news about the Steve Katsos Show Fifth Anniversary Spectacular, coming up this Sunday, June 29, at 7:30 at the Regent Theatre in Arlington. Please read on for a personal invite from the Man himself…
Dear Friends and ACMi Community,
This Sunday at the Regent Theatre, we will have The Steve Katsos Show Fifth Anniversary Spectacular at 7:30 pm. The event will be carried live on ACMi and aired as a Katsos_5thSpectacular001special on CharterTV3 on Thanksgiving. The taped version of this show will also air on public stations all over the world, helping us to raise money for The Jimmy Fund. We have a real HD production truck donated for the event for the first time ever. This is a one-time deal, and I am so excited for the donation. Come to the Regent Theatre to feel what it was like to be on the set of The Ed Sullivan Show or The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The cameras are professional, the technicians are top-notch, and the truck is used on national events for ESPN. I am grateful that 150 staff and performers donate their time on this night to maximize our gift to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It is an amazing event, and I am humbled to have my name on it.
We need the community to come celebrate with us and help support our drive to raise $15,000 for a great cause. We have opened the balcony up at the Regent Theatre and tickets are only $10. Orchestra seats are $20. Please come enjoy the show or make a donation using the links below. Thank you for doing all that you can do.
Steve Katsos
Buy Tickets to The Steve Katsos Show Fifth Anniversary Spectacular: