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Doing feature video pieces vs news/hard news ones

Rep: 444
Eric Seals July 14, 2010, 8:37 a.m. permalink

Question I struggle with is that I just seem to always do video features and nothing "newsy" or stories with "meat" to them.  Issue stories, topical things, etc.

I feel like I'm in a comfort zone doing features, it's not boring at all for me and I really love it. I know should be branching out but I just don't. It's not that I can't do them there is just so many feature ideas out there and there are a few other video journalists at the Free Press that only like to do news/hard news ones, so in a way it balances things out I guess right?

There's nothing wrong with staying on the same road I'm heading down as long as I keep pushing myself with my shooting, story arc and editing right?

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! :-)


Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany July 14, 2010, 10:05 a.m. permalink

I think you should continue to do what you do best, but don't lose sight of a chance to expand your vision and skills. Though you're not feeling it now, boredom  with the repetition will eventually set in. Doing a one-man band story that needs deep investigative reporting might not be your cup of tea-- It's not mine either. That’s when you should look at collaborating with a newsroom reporter on a story. That way you can concentrate on the visuals and editing and let someone else deal with the words and script. In your producer role, you still have the ability to shape and mold the story that will work best in the video medium.

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans July 14, 2010, 10:31 a.m. permalink

Not to parrott Yoda, but I think your reference to the "comfort zone" is all the answer you need.

Part of the fun of challenging yourself and growing is to do work in areas that are not comfortable. Many times working a "hard" news story informed how I shot a feature piece because I remember that I wished I had "that shot" to go with the story. Some times we just don't have the shot that we need and so it forces us to be more creative in post production.

I just finished shooting a short non-news feature film because I wanted to challenge myself, and boy did I ever. The good news is that it helped me with pre-visualizing my news shooting, it helped with my storytelling and I just plain learned a great deal.

I like Colin's idea of teaming up. Collaboration can also bring about growth and challenges in itself. Sometimes the "verbal" folks can be annoying, but sometimes they ask questions about things we assume everyone else knows and then we have to reconsider how we tell stories visually.

You are asking the right question(s) and making sweet videos. Glad you are part of the site.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals July 14, 2010, 11:17 a.m. permalink

Thanks guys!  Totally agree with you.  I'm so use to doing long term still projects for the paper and need to turn back my focus to the same thing with video and hopefully I'm on my way...

I'm currently back to researching a story and finding the right family for a emotional story on how families deal with the birth of a still born baby, how they grieve, cope and memorialize the baby with pictures as they had bonded with him/her for 9 months. 

There is a group of photographers here in Detroit that offer to take nice and moving photographs of the family with their still born baby  at the hospital, many families want some memory to celebrate the life they shared with.  

I'm hooked up with a photographer that does this and a reporter friend of mine who I've done past still projects on.

Almost had the right couple but their baby was going to be still born in a few weeks and I wanted a family that knew at 5 months that horrible news so I could bond and gain their trust, go with them to doctors, ultrasounds, picking out the casket, plot at the cemetery.

Wish me luck :-)  It will be powerful once I get started.


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