When Farmington Hills resident Jody White found out about classes in televsion production were being offered at Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission (SWOCC) Studios, she jumped at the opportunity.
And she brought a few people along for the ride.
"I love video production, and that's why I love Public Access University," said White, who homeschools her children Allison, 14, and Mitchell, 12. They took the classes with her, as did a group of parents and kids affiliated with Palaestra, a Livonia-based nonprofit that offers enrichment courses for homeschooling families.
SWOCC's Public Access Promotions Committee offers the certification classes taught by volunteers, committee chair Brian Golden said. The goal is to create a "sustainable model" that keeps people "doing TV", rather than just viewing it, he said.
Allison White recently spent time in a small studio at SWOCC, interviewing 12-year-old Mariah Gallagher of Southfield for a show called "Practical Professions". Jacob Elliett, 18, of Dearborn Heights, taped a tour of his backyard garden, talking about how the different plants are beneficial.
"I talked about how gardening can be fun, ways to make gardening easier ... and how to keep your garden organic," he said.
Being in front of the camera comes naturally for Jacob, who has performed with local theater groups. After working on "Practical Professions", he said he has enjoyed working behind the camera as well.
"I like every position," he said, adding, "I've always been intrigued by the sound board, especially at the theater."
Brothers Nicholas Gallagher, 23, and Derrick Gallagher, 20, also worked behind the scenes the "Practical Professions" show. While both have different career plans, they could both see themselves producing TV shows as a hobby.
Their mother, Colleen Gallagher, said she has gotten something out of the production classes as well. "I need to broaden my horizons," she said. "Eventually, when I get some more skills, I could make a living at it."
Jody White said she'd like to see more awareness in the community for Public Access University and channel 12 (Bright House), where shows are aired.
But her main goal is to "make sure my kids graduate from Public Access University with a homework assignment done."
"Then hopefully, they get the bug and they want to do it more often," she said.
To learn more about Public Access University, call 248-701-8112.
Editor's Note: Brian Golden is the husband of Farmington-Farmington Hills Patch editor Joni Hubred-Golden.