I'm Doing a (TV or Radio) Documentary/Show

Written by: SphynxCatVP
Link to original: http://sphynxcatvp.nocturna.org/faq/most-tv-radio.html

What can you tell me about the vampire subculture?

The people in this community come from all walks of life - students, lawyers, medical staff, IT professionals, factory workers, etc. There is no single unified appearance or occupation - while some go for the "overboard" goth look, others prefer to dress in a manner than blends in, particularly if they're working for a living.

The best way to get an understanding is to read the FAQ pages of some of the better sites out there such as:

Why are you reluctant to appear on TV/radio/etc.?

There have been some media staff in the past who have said "We plan to treat this subject with respect" and what was actually delivered was a "Ewwww, look at the freakshow!" final product. This is embarrassing to those of us who have done such shows in the past, and each time it happens is yet another reminder of why we don't believe people are ready to understand us or treat us fairly.

Example of shows that are done better are:

  • A&E's "Secret Lives of Vampires", 2005
  • History Channel's "Vampire Secrets", 2006
  • History Channel's "Monster Quest: Vampires in America", 2007

Examples of shows done "badly" is an"In Search Of"'s epsiode on Nikolai Tesla, Vampires, and the Loch Ness Monster, as well as the various talk shows that seem to thrive on conflict between guests, and radio shows run by sensationalist "shock jocks" that delight on shocking or horrifying their listeners/viewers and mocking the guests, rather than simply informing the listeners.

Things to keep in mind

The people who LEAST object to being on TV tend to be the entertainers, lifestylers and self-employed - people who can "put this away" if they work a normal job, or don't have to worry about being fired. They tend to have the more flamboyant appearances and go for the more dramatic approach. Entertainers and lifestylers who are not vampires themselves, but only play the part, and are not qualified to speak for more ordinary REAL vampires in the community.

If you truly wish to speak to the "more normal looking" people in the community, most of them will not appear on TV without some sort of anonymity guarantee - either disguising voice, face or both - because many of us have spouses, jobs. children and non-vampiric friends, and are concerned about the impact TV or radio appearances will have on our private and working lives in the long run. A couple of these impacts are:

When job markets are tight, employers are less likely to hire "that freak from tv" than someone with no apparent weirdness because they're worried about the impact "that freak from TV" will have on company morale or customers...or they just plain give the hiring manager the heebie jeebies.

Divorce / custody court: Things like this HAVE been brought up in the past, in an attempt to discredit a potential custodial parent's ability to raise a healthy child. Some vampires are parents, and can raise children just as well as anyone else, however the courts don't always see it that way.

What can we do to put your minds at ease?

We want to see and/or know:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What company/network do you work for?
  3. Your contact information at the company/network?
  4. Toll-free number if you want any of us to voice-call you?
  5. If your show is part of a series, what series is it?

As well as:

Summary of how the subject matter will be presented, or how you would like to present it, on the show. The oh-so-generic "present things in a better light", "let the subjects tell the story", and "treat people with respect" has been used SOOOO many times before by people who have produced a "ewwww, look at the freaks!" final product, that at this point it is 'kiss of death' for interview negotiations. We want details, not fluff assurances.

If you are unable/unwilling to provide details on how guests on the show will be treated, don't expect many willing participants who are not either entertainers or lifestylers themselves. If you truly want to present *all* sides, or at least the side of real vampires that most people aren't aware of, we must know how we will be treated first.

If this is for an established show, let us know how we can view or listen to previous episodes of the show. You can offer to send tapes or discs, but not everyone will take you up on it for privacy reasons. If clips of prior shows are available online (even as a low-bitrate stream) via YouTube or something, it will help greatly. If your company hosts it on their site, provide more than one format please - not everyone will install RealPlayer because it comes bundled with spyware and other malware that can compromise a user's system and create security risks. MPEG is a common format across multiple platforms and is recommended, but Windows Media Player will do as an alternate to RealPlayer. Otherwise, YouTube or other movie sites are certainly an acceptable alternative to post something for us to see.

Examples of shows you've done in the past - especially if the current show has no prior history - with people who are also extremely unusual, such as drag queens, psychics, voodoo practitioners, etc. This will allow us to get a valid comparison between how you've treated them, and how you may treat us. However, historical shows on the history of Salem witchcraft or profiles of people such as high profile criminals or even inventors of weird or unusual things - while not "mainstream" - are not unusual enough for us to make a valid comparison.

If you've worked with someone from our community in the past, we want to know who you've worked with, and how we can contact them.

Is a show on the vampire subculture feasible?

Only if the guests are treated with decency and respect. We ARE people, you know, even if what we do is not something people accept as "normal". If you wouldn't treat your loved ones the way you plan to treat us, what makes you think we'll appreciate it any more than they do?