Go out there, get a story and share it. Those were all the indications we got in the most remote classroom of Plymouth University.
The team, Shannon and me, the ideas, limited. We happened to be carrying a unicorn balloon which lead us to think of getting a children related story. On a Wednesday morning, in the city centre, the only place we thought we could find some children was the Public Library. Unfortunately, to interview children in there we should have asked for permission in advance. We got quite disappointed but I tried to bring the motivation back up, we had hours to go and there were millions of other things we could do our story about.
Shannon came up with the next idea, the poem written on the window of the closed BHS store. We are back on track! Although it wasn’t fresh – apparently it had been there for a couple of weeks- we considered that the debate between freedom of expression and anti-social behaviour is always fresh.
We decided to gather people’s opinion on that poem in particular and on freedom of expression in general. We started interviewing people walking pass the window, specially those who stopped to read it by their own choice. We also interviewed the manager of the restaurant opposite the BHS store who gave us some good quotes. However, by the time we finished doing that, we realized everyone we had interviewed so far had a similar opinion and that we needed to balance our story to make it impartial. We tried with a few more random people but none of them was against the poem or against people expressing them selves, as long as it wasn’t offensive.
An idea came to my head then. A police officer must be against anti-social behaviour, no matter what. We were lucky we found quite of a chatty policeman who was okay with being recorded by two journalism students talking about a poem he hadn’t even noticed. As sometimes happens, he gave as the better quotes once the iPod was turned off and into Shannon’s pocket. Still, we had an authority on camera and that already upgraded our story.
Next, the worse and most painful part of the day, editing the video in the tiny iPod’s screen using, for the first time, iMovie. As difficult as it was, I am glad we learnt to do it as it might be greatly useful in the future.
We then shared it on Facebook and Twitter and so far it has got an amount of views and likes that I am quite happy with.
Even so, there is a few issues I should try to manage better next time, starting by the sound. For some reason people tend to walk slightly away from a mic. I usually try to stretch my arm to the limit, but that is not good enough in some occasions. Maybe, the best way to do it is indicated to the person from the beginning how close to the mic they should be and if that doesn’t work then step forward with no fear, at the end of the day, what does it matter if they think you act weird?
An other thing I could improve next time is the variation of people interviewed. I will try to interview more people of different gender, age, background, etc. In this occasion, the video showed three middle-aged men and one middle-aged woman which did not showed any kind of diversity.