Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stay Classy...Kenai

One of my responsibilities this summer working part time for the Clarion as the Fishing Reporter was to be the Ron Burgundy of fishing on the Kenai Peninsula.
If you haven't caught one of these videos yet, by all means do so now. Click here.
As I noted when I first announced my summer plans, this was part of the deal that allowed me to avoid losing my job to the hiring freeze currently in effect.
Writing a fishing report and soliciting or doing my own column didn't seem too bad; but when they told me I'd be doing the movie, I had some initial reservations.
First and foremost, I've only ever worked in print.
It's pretty well understood that we don't speak the way we write. This meant I'd have to rethink the delivery of my printed reports.
Then came the whole thing about getting in front of a camera, in this case, a web cam, and spouting off about fishing.
I'm comfortable speaking, that's never been a problem, well at least not that I've ever been at much of a loss for words.
A few issues though. I have a pretty odd dialect, one that's easily influenced too. I never realized until I did my first test run, but sometimes I'm not the easiest to understand.
Additionally, while I go pretty heavy on the hand motions in conversation, point a camera at me and they go dead.
It's tough for me to try and gesture when I'm kneeled over talking to a camera.
Those are all things that need to happen on camera though.
The one thing I had going was voice tone, no trouble there.
So, through the summer I worked on it.
The first few videos were very CNN. My coworkers encouraged me to relax a little and try and deliver the reports more like I would if someone on the street asked me how the fishing was.
The advice was good, but I still felt I had to maintain a certain air or professionalism. I still look like a kid on the screen, I'm not going to pass for a salty dog no matter how hard I try.
Once I switched into camp mode though it did all start to come a little easier since suddenly just about my every waking moment had something to do with fish.
I think in July I finally hit my stride when I got to actually do some investigative fishing.
This weeks, the final of the season, was the longest I've done yet.
It was also the first time I thought to to one standing up.
Of course, as is always the case, the bulb came in at the last minute. Though I'm sure I looked a little more unusual than usual to passerbys, I felt a million times better on two feet than a knee.
As to the video software I was using, Videocue, is about the most intuitive thing I've ever done, and produces an unbelievably solid product.
I'm looking forward to seeing how we at the paper can incorporate it into our product later this winter.
So while Tightlines is no longer coming out every week anymore, the section proved to be such a success that we've generated enough advertising interest to run the section once a month through the rest of the winter. More importantly, there's strong interest to continue the section next summer.
I don't know that the video will be part of the winter program, but it certainly helped to make it happen.

As to what the whole experience provided me, I'm not entirely sure yet. It obviously secured my employment for a little while longer anyhow, and earned me plenty of praise from my colleagues, and yes, some definite chop busting as well, haha.
Professionally speaking though, it's harder to say. I feel like a skill set I've always known was there, but not refined, came out. Whether I take that skill and do something with it elsewhere down the road, I guess remains to be seen

-Well that's all for this week folks, keep those lines tight.

This was my favorite post of the year, not because it was necessarily perfect, (note sunglasses, not ok, lesson learned) but because it was the first where I really felt comfortable and balanced the lighting. LINK (Takes a moment to load, be patient)

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