There are some days I yearn for the days of a notebook and a pen.
Those days were relatively easy: jot down notes, write a story. Well, writing is never easy. “Just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein,” said Red Smith.
Producing multimedia projects some days, I would say, would be like plugging that vein into a USB port and downloading all your energy into a work folder on the C drive. Learning audio and video from scratch, when you’re used to only carrying around that notebook and pen, takes time. It can be frustrating, especially in our business when the world doesn’t stop for you to go through training and catch up to it.
Still, the future isn’t coming so fast you can’t catch up. You can only get better in this area by doing. Even the best training in the world won’t make you good. The more you practice, the easier it gets. I still struggle on days, when I’m trying to figure out a multimedia hurdle, such as finding one interview room in my newspaper where the lights don’t hum excessively or my microphone doesn’t pick up ringing phones and police scanner traffic.
One of the first times I tried to edit a significant video project, I got lost in a time warp that started at around 3 p.m. Somewhere in the middle of a haze, my wife called at 9 p.m. and said, “Are you ever coming home?”
And the web doesn’t have press runs. You can actually finish at 2 a.m., as I have some days, and it will still get on-line.
All you can hope for is a boss who will help nurture through the rough parts – when your chest aches because you can’t get one edit in an interview to sound as if you edited it digitally, and not off an old cassette tape with a pair of scissors and Scotch tape, or you’re trying to cover up that camera shake when you brushed up against your tripod at a key moment.
There are even days when I get out in the field and I have remembered everything: video camera, tripod, microphone, proper patch cords, extra batteries...
What I usually forget is to bring a notebook and a pen. Occasionally, I still need them.