Missing persons in Detroit & the search for them (view this story)

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Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely Jan. 4, 2011, 8:19 p.m. permalink

Eric - Overall, I liked this piece a lot.  I sent it out to my networks when I first say it.  It combines a news story and the back story at the same time, which is a great thing.  It is full of emotion and characters that resonate.

But we're supposed to find something you could do better, so I'll nitpick:

Perhaps it feels a little lethargic and slow paced at times - I think you fell in love with the great voice and quotes from Sandrew King and sometimes let him take control of the story.  Shortening his sound bites would have solved the problem of too many shots of him holding the picture, as well.

What would happen if you moved the woman-in-the-attic part up higher in the story?  Open with King, establish that his grandfather is missing and then transition to crime scene/woman in attic stuff, then come back to King talking about unrolling the rug in the house with the smell of death?  I dunno.... but I feel like the story structure is a little too linear if you know what I mean.   I think you could maybe intercut the characters a little more and get the crime scene action up sooner.

Narration/script was a little awkward around the 1:00 mark - one trick I do when I'm writing a script is to say it first then write it down, instead of the other way around.  Usually sounds better that way.

The voiceover intro of the grandfather's name at :41 didn't register with me the first time and later left me wondering who was Draper Williams when the detective talked about never forgetting him at 3:45.  A little more emphasis on the name would have helped.  Establish that King's grandfather is named Draper Williams - and is missing - to get the connection of that name to our main character clear.  When you used the "Draper williams is one of hundreds...." syntax in the voiceover, it sounded like you were moving on to a new subject.  

I would have waited another heartbeat or two before bringing in the voiceover at :14 in the beginning...  maybe with a second medium shot of King in there.

These are not major criticisms - just things I noticed that maybe you could look at.  It's a good story.

Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely Jan. 4, 2011, 8:21 p.m. permalink

oops... that should be "I sent it out to my networks when I first saw it."

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 5, 2011, 12:24 p.m. permalink

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for watching my video and the good critique of it.

Did it feel "a little lethargic and slow paced at times" because my voice in the narration was different in terms of mood or feel it or are you saying it was that way because of the whole edit?

To me Sandrew had a compelling story to tell. I don't think I fell in love with him and let him take over the story but it is why I wanted to bookend him and the woman who was dead in the attic with a "cop story" in the middle. 

I don't know how many of us or our viewers out there can relate to a loved on that has gone missing and never return but when viewers watched my piece I wanted them to feel what he was feeling and that what he had to say spoke directly to people.  There was lots that I left out doing the initial edit. Did the part where he talks for 33 seconds about searching abandoned homes and smelling death and unrolled a rug play to long for you??  I struggled wondering if I should cut that up or cover parts of it with b-roll.

Love your idea with narration on saying it first then write it down! :-)

"I would have waited another heartbeat or two before bringing in the voiceover at :14 in the beginning...  maybe with a second medium shot of King in there."  Watching it again GOOD point there!


Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely Jan. 5, 2011, 8:26 p.m. permalink

Looking at it again, I think the part that drags is the explanatory part between :42 and 1:52.  I'm terrible at voiceovers but when I do them, I've learned to be really over the top when I'm recording them - and it helps if you write the script like you talk and not like you write.  Don't write a script like a news story.
The part where he's talking about the rug and the smell of death was really compelling.  That was great.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 5, 2011, 8:37 p.m. permalink

"helps if you write the script like you talk and not like you write" thanks man jotted that down for future reference :-)

I didn't think being over the top with narration was the right thing with the mood of this piece, I wanted it more subdued.  Had bounced that idea and a few other things off a couple of TV guys from KARE in Minneapolis Jonathan Mallett and Boyd Huppert before I did a final edit.

Going to look again at :42 --- 1:52 to see the dragging part.  

Thanks again!

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 5, 2011, 8:41 p.m. permalink

Hey, by the way Chuck, did you watch any of the HBO 24/7 Penguins vs Capitals Road to the Winter Classic hockey sports doc?

It was really amazing to watch.  So much good stuff and talk about voice over!!  It think it was the same guy that does NFL Films stuff

The shooting, editing, story and sequencing was great.  

Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely Jan. 9, 2011, 4:30 p.m. permalink

Being over the top doesn't mean it has to be reality-show stupid when you do narration - what I mean is that you have to put emphasis on your words and use a tone of voice and put yourself on a stage in front of an audience.  It can be quiet and somber and still feel over the top to yourself when you're recording it.  When you're sitting in your car or your office  recording yourself and trying hard to remember the words, it's difficult to remember you're connecting with an audience out there.  It takes an effort to think of them and be on stage while you're doing it.

Missed the hockey sports doc - I'll look for it.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 9, 2011, 5:11 p.m. permalink

Agreed, quiet and somber is good for something like this.

I always write out my narration and do my best at making it, short, concise and direct then I show it to two or three reporters who are good at either scripting and/or cutting it down to bare bones facts.  It's a process for sure, you should of seen my long winded narration during the summer, ugly!!

I've also picked up points from some TV and recording artist to do narration standing up not sitting down which, without training at this most of us probably do.  Doing that helps with the diaphragm and the lungs in annunciation 

If you get HBO they are re-running it a few times a week.


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