I’m going to be honest, I didn’t think a three minute feature story would’ve take me as long as it did.. and it definitely doesn’t help when your hard drive crashes two days before it’s all due.
The hardest part of it all? Coming up with a topic, and then having to figure out what to do with it. There are a lot of issues out there to cover, yet this assignment asked for something more unique, something that would keep people hooked.
I’ve gotten so used to putting together a story with a group of people or at least one other person that I almost forgot how hard it is to get all the sources yourself, get all the good interviews, and shoot the perfect shots.
I felt so lost not having a solid topic a week into the assignment. Even after looking through current issues in the news, nothing stuck out to me or at least seemed good enough for a feature story.
My original topic was related to the 7 billionth baby story, and how the earth’s population is rapidly surpassing the amount of natural resources the earth can reproduce in order to support our way of life.
I found it difficult to figure out who I was going to interview, and what stand point I’d take in the story, so I decided to move on. I pitched my topic on student housing affecting residents, right after I came across an article in the Kitchener Post. The article talked about residents who have decided to move to a different house, due to how much the students were disrupting their peaceful neighbourhood.
It sounded to me like the perfect story, since I am currently living in a neighbourhood and a city with three post-secondary institutions drawing in 50 thousand students every year, who in most cases are choosing to live away from home, and into student housing.
Since it was already hard trying to find a story for one of my other classes and getting footage for that, I found it very time consuming just to shoot the b-roll alone. After shooting b-roll for my promo, I was missing shots of the other two post secondary institutions in the area, Wilfrid Laurier, and Waterloo University.
Getting shots of the two universities actually took me three hours, having to take at least six buses getting there, transferring numerous times, and back to school to edit. It was difficult to get footage of a house party because no one I knew was really comfortable having shots of their friends partying and drinking.
My first interview was of a student at Waterloo University who had an experience where one of her neighbours called the cops while she had people over. My second interview was a landlord in the area who was a student as well only a few years ago, and told me that he understood what it was like being a student, so he was more lenient as a landlord.
I had two other interview options, which was a police officer from the Waterloo Regional Police, and a real estate agent in the area. After my interview with the Waterloo Regional Police fell through, due to lack of planning, and time constraints, my only other option was getting an interview from a real estate agent.
Unfortunately, although I was able to get a hold of five different real estate agents over the phone, none were willing to give me an interview. Personally, out of the five I spoke with, only one was friendly.
So now I had to put together my story with one strong interview, and another that barely gave me anything to work with. With the due date drawing closer, I had to start putting pieces together, with what I had. The audio for both the interviews I got were really low, which made it hard to match the rest of my story.
…Then my hard drive decides to short wire itself… making it impossible to work with. Even after getting a new chord, and having all of the IT guys in school look at it, it was impossible to get it up and running again. Even Brian, the head of the IT department said it just happens sometimes to hard drives, and there’s nothing anyone could have done to fix it. Now I’ve lost most of my footage, and have two days left to do the rest of my story, faaantastic.
After reading through a few more articles on the topic, I found one that was about a bylaw in the process of getting passed due to numerous complaints in regards to the disturbance in the Doon area, pertaining to student housing. I was able to get a hold of the reporter who covered the story, and he was able to give me an interview the morning before the assignment was due. I actually had to record the phone interview using a video camera, because all the audio booths were occupied.
I had only a few hours left to hand in my assignment, so I worked with what I had. I put together the b-roll and the two on camera interviews, and managed to add the phone interview hoping it would add to my story.
In the end, I’d still say it was a lot of work for such a small story. There are a lot of things I would have done differently, but all my mistakes certainly taught me a lot.