TV Studio Inc. this coming Tuesday afternoon. According to Willy, the equipment is partially functional but should be just enough to shoot the puppet stage single shot with audio, but no effects, video switcher or roll-ins. That is really not a problem, since I will then perform post-production on what limited stuff we shoot back at my place.
The plan is to do a pawpet show, with marko_the_rat making a guest appearance as he wraps up his New York visit and cross-country USA tour following his attendance at Further Confusion last month flying in all the way from Australia. Following that, we will tape just the pawpet wraparound for the 24th Anniversary of the RTR Show. Due to lack of full studio time though, this will likely be shot "blindly" without the cast actually seeing the annual highlights reel in the studio, I will have to edit that in later (and may have to finish that later for the matter). The anniversary show is scheduled by me to air on MNN on Wednesday February 21, and that date in fact will be the actual anniversary, since it was on Presidents Day in 1983 and we originally aired live on Mondays throughout our first decade.
Beyond that studio session....things look doubtful, or at least it will be a tougher fight to keep the show alive. My deteriorated financial status is a major factor, but just today how that relates to the show just got compounded further when the owner of the studio, told me that he will have to raise my studio rental rate, up from what I had been paying when we moved the show there in 2003. This is due to the higher rent he has to pay for this new office location. (DAMN you REAL ESTATE marketplace again!) The fact that TVSI's feed to MNN via Time Warner Cable has not been restored is not even an issue at this point, because with the new studio location now five blocks further away from 23 Street and my job now clamping down on stuff like punctuality, I no longer can get away with clocking in, "sneaking out" with permission to do the Live show (relinquishing my dinner break time) and then sneaking back. For those of you who don't remember, that had to do with Manhattan Neighborhood Network kicking my show from Mondays to Wednesdays after 20 years in it's original timeslot. (Monday is my day off work.) So doing the RTR Show live is now out, and due to the cost issues, same-day delay broadcast is out too, without my even asking.
I originally was hoping to go back Live so I could minimize the number of trips I have to make to Manhattan Neighborhood Network and their awkward broadcast location, arduous walk from the subway and along a tardy crosstown bus route...and at a time when my job is looking to fire people over lateness, every trip to MNN puts me at risk. They only allow me to keep four tapes in-house at any given time...so when my show was still going out Live, I only had to go there once every other month. Presently and for the past year I've had to go there monthly now, and even more frequently as I deal with my editing my shows at home with what little spare time I have.
So to keep the show going, aside from going into endless repeats (not good), I have to make the stopgap measure of taping for free at ESPY-TV with Willy more the mainstay of the pawpet production. But because his facility is really small and cramped (it's an editing suite, not a studio), there is only room to shoot Cuppy/Rupert and RTR in there, against a key background. If I had a guest on, absolutely needed to use my pawpet stage, or did a show entirely in costume, I would still have to rent TV STudio Inc. and only when necessary to justify the expense. I also would have to continue what I did for most of last year with regards to taping all RTR costumed appearance events and making those into partial or standalone show episodes.
That's the current status of RTR+F. We're just barely limping to our 24th anniversary here in New York...and after that it will be a fight to stay alive, both for the show and my real life. It's not like I can hold a telethon to support the show either (that violates the worst rule you can break on Public Access television anywhere), and besides, who would contribute anyway?
I just can't help feeling that for all I've done, I deserve a better fate in this world... :(