By the end of the first year, Network Q had evolved quite a bit. The first show came out in September 1992, and was produced in July and August. We were producing a feature-length episode each month, with the focus on events, culture and people in a particular city. At the time it was available only on VHS videotape, through the mail and in a few retail locations (Tower Records, for one). The public TV run was still a couple of years away.
At the beginning, I -- as producer and host -- had only been out a short time, and watching them now, the early episodes have a sense of celebration and exploration I can remember feeling as I learned about this new world I'd joined. Before coming out, I'd been completely ignorant of the political issues facing the LGBT community, or the health crisis AIDS represented. The show, then, became my classroom, and by the time we ended up in Washington DC that fall for the AIDS Quilt weekend, my perspective had started to become more political.
By the time we got to episode 2.3 in Seattle (September 1993) the show was markedly different in content, production values and style. A major change was that we started producing more of the content with a core traveling crew, rather than the original approach where we did a big chunk but commissioned others for individual stories. Another was the move to BetaCam SP. Earlier episodes had been shot largely in Hi8.
Taking on more of the content creation had its downside: exhaustion. In addition, my straight business partner, with whom I owned the advertising agency which spawned Network Q, decided he wanted to go his own way as we were editing the March On Washington show. So in the space of a couple of weeks, while I finished editing, associate producer Carol Morgan packed up the Q portion of the office in Las Vegas and moved it to Albuquerque, where the editing facility we used was located, and ABQ became home for the next year. All of a sudden I was wearing all the management hats as well as doing a fair amount of the actual production. The financial picture turned out not to be as rosy as I had been led to believe (and hadn't had time to verify before agreeing to split the businesses), and so there was sudden stress about money too. It was not a sustainable situation, although it persisted for another year and a half.
Even so, it was those shows which I look back on as the best examples of what we did. I'm really grateful to the small but committed group of people who were so instrumental in making them happen: Louis Rodriguez on camera and lighting; associate producer Carol Morgan; the crew at :30 Second Street in Albuquerque, where we did most of our editing; Ched Kindley and Heidi Shewchuk, who handled a good bit of the administrative load; and SF Video, which did the duplication and shipping during most of this period. People in the cities we visited were also enormously helpful, and our subscribers stuck with us through any number of bumps in the production/editing/duplication/shipping process.
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