PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: April 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


After visiting the Watts Bar Nuclear plant Monday, U. S. Sen. Lamar Alexander stopped off in Harriman to visit the Channel 15 studios and tour the Princess Theatre.  

He told the large crowd that Harriman has a had a good idea for a long time and kept it out there until an opportunity came along to make it happen.  “Sometimes it takes a good idea a while to happen,” Alexander said, and "Harriman has done itself proud!"

He told the crowd that the television station was destined to be one of the top TV stations in "media education" in the world. “This is a very impressive achievement for the citizens of Harriman and everyone involved,” he said.

You can’t make people go downtown,” the senator said. “You’ve got to attract people to go downtown.”  Alexander said this studio and the education that will be going on here will continue to build on Harriman's tradition of loving to come downtown.  Not only that, he pointed out, but "it will be an attractive place to work!"

The Senator looked around the room and commented on the number of faces he saw that he knew was involved in making the dream happen, and commented,  "Usually (when there is a project like this) you have too many people trying to be what they are not, but here people are trying to be what is needed."

Inside the Princess, Sen. Alexander could see the progress that has been made, and continues to happen.  People were working above on the scaffolding as he and other supporters toured.  Mr. Sparkman, the restoration architect told the Senator, "When the scaffolding comes down, that's when the fun begins!'' 

Standing beside the Senator was James "Dub" Harmon who had managed the theater from 1951 until 1964.  It was the first time Mr. Harmon had been inside the Princess since the restoration began.  You could see surprise in his face at the work that had been done, and also the reflection of his thoughts on the years he had spent working at the movie theater.  For me, this was the best moment of the day!

Our project is so blessed to have so many good people involved, but there is room for more talented people.  Come join will make the fun to come much more enjoyable!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


What's going on at the Princess is not always obvious.  Naturally, there is ongoing work inside the main auditorium, but you have to go around back these days, in the alley behind the Princess, to see some of the major changes and work.

On my way up Queen Street Saturday, where I normally park for "Cruisin' In Harriman", I spotted new construction behind the old Margrave Drug store and the old Dr. Tappan office.  The construction is extended from those old buildings and down the side of the Princess Theater.

This construction is currently a new addition behind the old store fronts that will house the stage prop and prop design area, and dressing rooms for the Princess stage performances.  This portion will also house the new men and women's restroom facilities, while the front section (nearer the street) will be remodeled to form part of the newly expanded lobby.  This expanded section of the lobby will contain the TDOT “Trailhead.

How exciting to see "the dream" coming to life!  It's hard to imagine all the wonderful things we all will receive from this new construction.

So, while you may not see any recent construction activity as you drive by on Roane Street, you can see plenty going on in the alley behind the Princess!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The dream to bring arts education to students of Roane County began tonight in the Channel 15 studio in Harriman, with 12 area high school students attending.  Two others could not make it this first night, but will be present when the class convenes again next Tuesday at 4:30.

For nearly 13 years the dream has smoldered, but it wasn't until September of 2009, when the Princess Theater Board of Directors voted to accept the $1.7M donation from the Tennessee Valley Authority, that anyone ever really began to think the dream would ever come true.  Since that time, some new part of the dream comes true daily.  The restoration began in earnest with a new roof and the gutting of the wet, moldy, and rusted insides of the Princess.  

Then came Channel 15, leaping to life on the Comcast network and then the Internet!  It was this entity that showed a lot of people that this dream was really going to happen.

Today, these 12 students proved to us that others share the same dream.  They illustrated that there is a strong desire among the youth of our area, to reach for their future through mass media and the arts.  Now we know it all wasn't just a pipe-dream.  The dream for us all is coming true!  

True, for some, it won't be until the Princess awakens again, all bright and shinny, that most will begin to believe.  But for us that have been waiting all these years, we see it happening each and every day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This coming Tuesday evening, at 4:30 in the Channel 15 studios in Harriman, 15 area students will under take a nine week study of film and television production.  The class will be taught by Brooks Benjamin, a local teacher, independent movie maker, and actor.

The class is free to Roane County students and is a non-credit class, so the study will be undertaken by those with a true love and aspiration for media production.

The following is the syllabus for the course of instruction.

Intro to Film and Television

Course Syllabus Instructor: Brooks Benjamin

Course Description:

This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of film and television production. Students will be directed through the writing, pre-production, production, and then to the post production phases of filmmaking. Students will be divided into teams where they will collaborate in brainstorming sessions for writing and continue through to the completion of 2 short films. Students will be expected to arrive on time to class (4:30) and remain at the studio until class dismisses (6:00). Although time will be given in class to complete most of the writing and pre-production, students are expected to work with their teams via email and phone to continue any unfinished work to prepare for production. Completed films will have the opportunity to be broadcast on RSCC TV Channel 15.


  • April 5— Introduction to the class. Tour of RCSS Channel 15 studio. Basic camera rules and techniques. Team formation for group projects.
  • April 12— Lighting and sound. Basic 3 point lighting. Boom microphones vs. lapel microphones. Roles on a filmmaking team.
  • April 19— Storytelling and your audience. Narrative vs. documentary. Group project 1 (script provided). Writing brainstorming session 1 for narrative short.
  • April 26— Continue writing brainstorming narrative short to first draft. Documentaries. The Princess Theater. Finding a story and telling it. Begin pre-production for independent group project 1 (documentary short) and project 2 (narrative short).
  • May 3— Independent group project 1 filming (documentary short).
  • May 10— Continue filming group project 1. Group project 2 storyboarding and pre-production.
  • May 17— Independent group project 2 filming (narrative short).
  • May 24— Continue filming project 2. Editing on Final Cut Pro. Three keys to make editing easier. Editing group projects.
  • May 31—Editing continued. Exporting final DVDs. Official screening of group projects TBD.

This is the true beginning of "the dream", a dream of giving back to the area youth through the arts!

My heart is warmed by this first great expression of interest in this class.  It shows that there are youngsters in our area that have dreams of a career in the arts.  Please do all you can to support these kids in obtaining their dreams and goals.

This is just the beginning of our dream coming true.  There will be more classes and Roane State and area high schools plan to add credit courses to their schedules.  In America, and now in Roane County, we can do anything we want if we will just apply yourselves!  The dream is truly reachable and closer to home than ever before!
Related Posts with Thumbnails