Thursday, August 4, 2016

VSA Texas Unsung Heroes of the Week: Gene and Dave

This week we have the privilege of introducing our dear friend, Gene Rodgers, to tell us the history of The Gene and Dave Show in his own words:

Have you ever wanted your own television show? Have you ever wanted to be your own producer, writer, director, and on-screen talent? These are questions that never occurred to Gene and Dave when they were involved in performance arts. They just wanted to share their creative talents with as many people as possible. Well, look at us now!
Gene and Dave with an image of the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue,
Town Lake, and the Austin skyline digitally placed behind them
Dave and I, both electric wheelchair users, were involved in VSA Texas-sponsored live performance group called Actual Lives Austin. We wrote stories about events in our lives and then shared the stories on stage. One day during rehearsal, Dave approached me and said, "Hey Gene, I’ve got an idea for a script, and you’re the only one I know crazy enough to do it with me." Well, I was all ears. We immediately wrote the script for a skit called ‘Who Works Monday.’ I had a friend film us. I edited the video on my computer, and we posted it on YouTube. It was about a guy who hired several attendants and had trouble keeping track of who worked on which day. It was a parody of Abbott and Costello’s ‘Who’s On First.’ See it at

A lot of folks told us they really enjoyed it and that we should have our own TV Show. That was all the encouragement we needed. Just several years previous, I became a certified producer at public access Channel Austin. My show was called "Geno’s Place." I just had to go to the public access studio, learn how to operate a camera, and learn how to get that media edited and back to the station for broadcast. Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but in essence I was already a producer.  Dave and I just needed to come up with a show theme and start putting shows together.

Our TV show had pretty humble beginnings. Celia Hughes, at VSA Texas, helped us find funding. We set up some lights in my apartment and filmed ourselves in my living room. Then we started using a green screen, which allowed us to digitally change the background of our set. Once Channel Austin remodeled their studios, we started to film there. Since we were able to use our own digital cameras and edit our shows on our computers, we created shows in a fairly accessible venue.
Gene and Dave seated at a table with 2 microphones
in the Channel Austin studio. Behind them a blue screen
covers the entire wall.

The editing station at Channel Austin shows the process of
digitally placing an Austin postcard behind Gene and Dave.
Being co-hosts of The Gene and Dave Show has allowed us to meet all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. We can always be seen at SXSW. In fact, Dave interviewed R2D2 there. We get to interview folks at public and private businesses to learn more about how they include people with disabilities in their activities. Our show covers many disability-related topics, including employment, recreation, health, and many more. We can be seen on Time-Warner channel 16. All shows are archived on our website at

Gene and Dave sit on either of R2D2 as Dave, microphone
in hand, conducts the interview.
Contact us at and

No comments:

Post a Comment