Monday May 16th:
I learned so much the first day at the NPR boot camp. There was no way to write it all down and I am terrified I’m going to forget. I held a Marantz recording device for the first time. I felt the weight of a solid microphone. I was told you could hammer nails with it, but I think I’ll wait until the last day to test that. Walking around campus with sound isolating headphones, I heard the world the way a microphone does. The electric whir of a golf cart speeding by had a distinctly pleasant sound.
I think the format of our stories is the most interesting but challenging aspect of the project. I have never done a piece without voice over. Getting the subject to tell the entire story really puts the focus on asking the right questions, something I know I need a lot of practice on.
One of the most important things I got out of today was the encouragement to go after the story. I’m pretty good at meeting with someone face-to-face and asking them questions about a story I’m working on. However, putting myself out there and inviting people to contact me is not something I am comfortable with. I’m glad Catherine suggested I try it and I’m excited to see where it leads.
Tuesday May 17th:
Today was the most intense day of reporting I have done. Looking at my arms at the end of the day, my skin is definitely burnt. I’m staring at 58 separate audio files that need to be listened to and logged. I’m desperately hoping that somewhere in those files is everything I need to tell a story from start to finish. As the kernel of a story starts to form in my head, I can’t help wondering what I could have possibly missed with almost three hours of tape.
Remember that microphone? The one that could hammer nails? I may have left it in the parking lot of a Johnny Rockets in Carson City. I’m still holding out hope that it will magically appear in someone’s car or the Lady from Johnny Rockets will call back saying she found it. I feel like an idiot for losing it, but given the choice between that and coming back with no audio, I would definitely chose the former.
Despite feeling completely exhausted, I’m excited to wake up at the crack of dawn and do it all again tomorrow. I know I’m making a lot of mistakes but I couldn’t be happier. I enjoy feeling stressed. It means I’m doing something that I care about.
Wednesday May 18th:
Today was good news bad news day. The bad news is I had to wake up at 5 am in order to meet Farmer Craig so I can recording him picking up the university’s yard waste. The other bad news is that when I got back from the interview, I had 50 fresh audio files to go through.
The good news is that I finally have the perfect quote. The one that ties the whole piece together and makes it all worthwhile. I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up constantly worrying that I didn’t have enough to make something good. The amount of relief I felt after interviewing Farmer Craig is indescribable. It really is an amazing feeling when a story goes from a disorganized mess to something awesome.
Oh, and the microphone. Still lost.
Thursday May 19th:
I have a final mix! I felt good about the story yesterday and I feel great about it today. I actually enjoy the editing process. It’s really great when you stare at something for an hour, knowing the whole time that it’s wrong, and someone just gives you the answer. It’s like trying to finish a puzzle for hours and then someone walks up and picks up the piece you need off the ground.
The only thing left is to finalize the web story and I get to put the much anticipated X in the done column. As much as I’m looking forward to being done, I will miss the experience. It has been an exciting glimpse into what life might be like if my best laid plans work out.