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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 04 February 2009

Portland Community Media hosted one of its largest orientation meetings ever Jan. 28. About 70 people turned out to learn more about the television training and production center and to sign up for classes and volunteering opportunities. Extra chairs had to be brought in to seat the diverse crowd that ranged from 20-somethings to seniors. According to Pam Carsten, PCM's community relations specialist, the usual turnout is around 35.
"That was the second orientation in January so I was surprised," Carsten said. "I think with the economy and the recession people are really hungry for learning something new and this is a great place to do it."
Portland Community Media produces and schedules programs for community access television channels. It offers training in studio and field production, lighting, sound, multimedia, program distribution and video editing. PCM also works with K-12 students to make youth programs. The aim is to offer a diversity of community voices and points of view. 
At the Wednesday meeting, media educators Tim Rooney and Peter Poire-Odegard explained how people can get involved in the center. The cheapest way to begin is through volunteering. Fees are charged to join and to take classes, but they are kept low in order to make the center accessible to as many people as possible. To volunteer on productions, you need to have taken one or more classes. Rooney and Poire-Odegard said they are specialists not just in teaching tv and video production, but in using video to tell stories. 
Space is limited, Rooney said. "So make sure you can attend all the classes on the course, because they fill up early and that spot is in demand."
"If you take all the classes within a year you can make programs in PCM," Rooney said. "It's easy but you have to invest the time to learn."
Carsten says people of all ages can learn how to make video and television. "We have an outstanding education program here. People can come here and earn for a lot less than at the community colleges and certainly for a lot less than at other film schools here in Portland."
Check out what Portland Community Media has to offer at www.pcmtc.org. The next orientation is set for Feb. 25, 7 p.m. at 2766 NE M L King Blvd. Portland, OR 97212  503-288-1515

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