The Fair on March 4

You brought with you the fanfare
the Ferris wheel, the winding and zipping rides
and the brain freeze of a slushie
pinching the space between my eyes with metal
forecepts.

And when you left, my life became
the fairground on March 4.
The children screaming as the rides make
loop-di-loops are gone, crushed styrofoam cups
litter the empty walkway. A ride-all-day wristband
dangles haphazardly from a tree branch, threatening
to jump to it’s death. The smell of fried hot dogs
Oreo, funnel cake, and french fries hangs
faintly in the air. Strawberries
crushed along the sidewalk, green tops ground
into the finite paint that colors the world.

You always told me to paint
the world in a light it didn’t always deserve. You
told me, with your eyebrows knit together– the creation
of my grandmother’s knitting needle wielding hands–
to take the sun in my fingertips, to roll the moon like a
big blue play-doh ball. You told me to take
a blade of grass and try to count the threads
painted emerald, and to never let the clock
divert my attention from the task at hand.

Your cheeks, glazed with saltwater,
wrinkling beside your nostrils
creating rivulets of rain
saunters through my mind
as I pick up the smudges and messes made
by others, and get ready
for the next fair.

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The Bee

There is a bee buzzing close by
and I am allergic. The sound of its wings
like a barber’s clippers too close to your earlobe.

You tell me not to worry about it, don’t
bother it and it won’t bother you,
but I know that it is waiting, calculating
the perfect moment to slice it’s stinger through my skin
like a letter opener, eager to carve through my red ribbon seal
with a Publisher’s Clearing House check just for you inside.

You are not afraid of the bee. You sit
quietly in your chair, the breeze blowing
your hair like flowers. Your yellow jacket
covers your small arms and you are here
and I am here and in this moment we are fine
except for the bees.

My eyes follow the bee as it makes its every
innocent move. It teases me as it races
past my ear, playfully around my ankles
and suddenly I think that I might actually get away.

You tell me I am crazy
that bees fly by lots of people.
I won’t be stung.

You look at your pollen colored hand and I realize
the buzzing is not a bee at all,
it is just your phone.

With a solemn nod, you tell me
that they can’t do anything more for you.

I knew the bee would sting.

Mary-Janes

Her small foot was rooted
for a moment until
she slowly lifted it to the dismay of
the bugs.

Her black patent leather
rubber bottomed
Mary-Jane shoes
came down with a loud and resounding
thud.

Only a toddler size 3,
these shoes were lined
with accidentally chopped off
legs, heads, and antennae
along the heel.

The sharp smell of green grass
and the dank, sweat
smell of the scuffed black
shoes sent ants and bumble bees
running to protect their queens.

The cold, smooth silver
buckles blinding
as they made their way into the mounds
before sticky, sweet
pink socks and black shoes
with chubby toes inside
could stomp again.

Until her mother came with
tissues in hand to usher the girl back
into the church
to say goodbye to her grandmother,
could the bugs begin to breathe.

Farewell to Fall, It’s Been a Ball

Well, it is that time already. The semester has ended, and with a bang! Literally. There were fireworks last night!

When I first started this semester, I felt like I was reaching for what my sister calls the “Super high unreachable cupcake in the sky”. Not unlike Sully here, the end of the semester and a decent grade felt like a hamburger making me salivate but that was completely far away.

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As this semester has progressed, I have learned more about multi-media journalism than I ever knew before. I thought that I was just a writer, that is always how I have seen myself. People ask me what I do, and I have always answered firmly with “I am a writer. And no, that is not code for unemployed blogger, but I actually write things. Here is my business card (which of course is a napkin with a crayon scribble of my name and phone number because I live with a two year old and crayons have replaced pens in my life).” After taking this class, however, I see that you need to do so much more than write. The opportunities can be endless for a journalist who knows social media, blogging, photography, podcasts, and video package production. Writing is great, but multimedia journalism is important because it can show people instead of just telling them about a person or event.

One of my favorite things that we learned this year was making videos. I have always loved people watching, and making videos is like a memorable way to people watch. It has been so interesting and fun to learn that I can make a video that I am actually proud to share, and I can do it myself!

Another main thing I learned is the importance of a tripod. I am not a very steady person. I shake so much that I considered asking my doctor if something is wrong with me. However, I learned that with a tripod my life can be made easier. Also a heavier camera for some reason makes me less shaky, which is a very odd thing to know.

Additionally, I learned better interviewing skills this semester. With video and audio, you have to stop and really listen to what they are saying, and not interrupt. I don’t think I had issues interrupting before, but I have learned to become more comfortable with the awkward silences that fall when someone is thinking of an answer.

I also loved learning about making a podcast, and I learned a lot more. I already knew how to use Audacity, but I really wasn’t sure how to make an interview more compelling. Using the photos with it adds a whole new dimension that I really had not ever considered before.

This semester was extremely challenging. I struggled with finding interviews that would fit my work schedule and very hectic family life. It was a challenge to find someone who could meet me at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning for an interview because that was the only time I could do it, and sometimes the people cancelled. I had to learn how to think on my feet and find someone else quickly. It was frustrating because I would have my interview questions ready, storyboarded in my head, and then it would crumble like a house of cards.

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Overall, despite the challenges of pulling all-nighters to edit and finish my lightning talks, this was a great semester. Many of the things that I have learned are things that I have gotten to start using at my current job (we are doing videos now! and audio interviews! and using Storify for humor posts!). Even though this has had big projects, this has been one of my favorite classes this semester.

So farewell! Bon voyage! Arivaderci! As the dolphins said: “Farewell and thanks for all the fish!”

Event Coverage: Santa Fest

To make sure that everyone is in the Christmas spirit, I visited Santa Fest and the City of Tampa Tree Lighting Ceremony. I got to interview some people that were quite the character, and parents and kids! The night and day weren’t coming up roses completely, however, as a few protests broke out against abortion, and the Grand Jury decisions in Ferguson and New York.

I hope that you all enjoy!

Telling Stories

An idea is not a story. That is one thing that Chapter 1 has made apparent. It is one thing to have this great thought, but when it is half baked it is just a thought. It needs to be fully and completely thought out, story-boarded, and only then is it a real story worth telling.

Thinking of stories as a three act play makes me think of my script-writing courses. Television shows, movies, plays, all are divided into act which makes it more digestible. The same should go for a new story. Without dividing it into acts, it can seem boring or like a very long blurb on tape.

I think the best stories are character driver stories. Like the text says, bringing characters into a story and showing it through their perspective is really the only way to personalize issues and make people understand and feel something about the problem that is at hand.

Just like when you write a news story, finding people to tell all sides on film is also extremely important. This makes me think of the coverage that I saw of the Ferguson riots that happened last night. We got the perspective of all of us- the on lookers. We were terrified and disgusted. It would have been interesting, however, to get the story of a rioter, why were they looting and lighting buildings on fire? It might have given the coverage a little something extra.

Just as the text says, the audience must care. In the end, it doesn’t matter what type of story you are telling if the audience doesn’t care. The audience opinion can make or break a video or even a news story.

Gamer Podcast Passion

 

My video interview is about Sturgis Griffin. Sturgis started a podcast network called .BitBlastPodcast Network. His podcast started as gamer reviews on board games and role playing games, and has since grown into multiple shows. The podcast operates out of an apartment he shares with his co-casters, and they are working to get a professional studio space. He has a passion for gaming and for making his podcast and hopes to grow his listeners. Enjoy!

Lightning Talk 3: Need for Speed… Effects on iMovie

http://prezi.com/embed/pdbp5pprjndj/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0&features=undefined&token=undefined&disabled_features=undefined

http://prezi.com/pdbp5pprjndj/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

I’ve got a need for speed, effects that is! Notes for presentation:

  • What are speed effects? Speeding or slowing down. There are more effects, however for the sake of this lightning talk we will just go over speeding up and slowing down.
  • Start off the same way that you would for making any video. Import your clips and select your clips that you want to use. Insert them into the movie.
  • Select the bit that you want to speed up or slow down. Click on the little turtle (even if you want to speed it up).
  • Check out the drop-downs. There is speeding it up, slowing it down, and a custom option.
  • The speed and slow are set options.
  • Custom includes speed and slowing in a percentage. You can preview before you apply it.
  • It will change the length of your clip as well as adding either a rabbit or a turtle to the top of your clip in iMovie.
  • Journalists can use this for a number of things, like instant replays in sports and slowing down a video to make it easier to see something happening. It can also be great for time lapse video!

Conducting the Right or Wrong Interview: How to Lose a Job in 10 Days

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When you select a central “character” for your video interview, it doesn’t have to be the most charismatic or obvious person. It needs to be somebody who is knowledgeable on the subject or at least involved in it, and it should be someone credible and cooperative. Sometimes I have found that a subject might not have these qualities, and in those instances I have kept them as a side player in the story but not the central character or central person.

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I love the idea of exploring the individuals motives. It can lead to a different central conflict than you originally thought and can help the person you are filming to open up more and to explain themselves in a way that might make them more relatable. It is also important because if they are being motivated by money (like a politician), they will be less honest because they don’t want to say something wrong and lose that money.

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An interview, to me, is a better way to tell a story, because in news we typically don’t have a narrator unless it is just the newscaster doing a voice over. I prefer video stories, though, without a newscaster voice over because the inflection in the newscasters voice can sometimes lead the tone of the story, when really the story and the people being interviewed should lead the tone.

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To structure your questions in themes is a very good bit of advice. You want your questions to flow like a conversation, but at the same time you don’t want to just be waiting for them to stop talking so you can ask your next question- which I think is a problem with a lot of journalists. You should let their answers dictate where you go from there while still maintaining a good flow.

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The thought of a confrontational interview is scary, but I think that if you remain professional it can be done. I also found it important and helpful to record a few seconds of silence to see what your camera picks up on. What are the ambient sounds. And finally framing the shot is equally important to all of it. The video clips need action and the interview needs to be clear and easy to see and hear. All of these are the formula for a great interview.