When things don’t go as planned… or more professionally, journalism under pressure

I came up with a theme for this week’s post on Monday after a particularly frustrating day of trying to work out my assignments for this class. The funny thing is, I felt like after I came up with this idea, the next few days decided to match my Monday.

I came into this week ready to get my video project knocked out without a problem. I had an interview planned days ahead of the deadline (this is a really big deal for me), I’d used Final Cut before so I figured I’d be able to pick it up again and overall I figured everything would go smoothly.

Here’s a snapshot of how the week actually went: J-school runs out of cameras; I make a mad dash to find a new one; interview doesn’t work out; interview gets rescheduled for Wednesday; battery dies during said interview; source is gracious enough to help thread a giant orange extension cord up through the basement window to the front porch so we can finish the interview; I shoot a standup at the Art League; battery dies again; I get video; video takes over two hours to upload; I edit furiously for the rest of the evening; Final Cut shuts down just before I finish the project; Final Cut loses all my edits; I take a break so I don’t get frustrated and throw something out the window (okay, so slight exaggeration here); I put my project back together at warp speed; I take a break out of exhaustion and frustration; I upload video and submit it at 1 a.m. on Thursday; I sleep incredibly soundly.

This project challenged me to work quickly with Final Cut. While I have used this program before, making the switch to Pro X was definitely a bit of a challenge.

Anyway, now that what probably sounds like a cross between a hilarious story and a bit of a complaint-fest is over, I’ll be honest about what I learned this week and what actually went really well.

This week was a challenge, to be sure. I was stretched to use technology I’d never really worked with before, and I had to do parts of it in almost record time. I’ll admit it was stressful. But I think as a journalist, it was also a good experience for me.

I’m hoping to enter my interest area and work for the Missourian next semester. I picked up a couple of stories there over the summer, so I know a little bit about what the pace is like. It’s pretty close to making an entire video project in 12 hours, plus the added stress of knowing that people other than classmates will see your work and the pressure of finding a lot more sources. It’s a challenge, and it’s definitely an adjustment from my usual pace.

In a sense, I think this project gave me a great opportunity to work under pressure. I had to change my plans at quick notice and roll with whatever this project threw at me. I had to discipline myself to work quickly, to be patient when things didn’t go my way and, to a reasonable extent, keep calm when I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out. It’s a good exercise for someone who really likes to feel like she has time and control when it comes to assignments.

I interviewed Nancy Carper for my video project. She entered two pieces in the Art League's current exhibition and spoke with me about her art and the works she entered. She was very gracious throughout the process and I really enjoyed working with her.

Outside of preparing me for more professional experience, I also had the chance to do a really interesting interview. I spoke with a Columbia resident who entered a couple of pieces at the Art League. I got the chance to talk to her about her art and how she feels about the League. She offered me perspectives I hadn’t really gotten from sources yet, and she let me watch and film her working on a pastel piece.

So while it was definitely a difficult week, I think it yielded a lot of good things as well. I got to work under pressure and meet new people. So I guess that maybe having a lot of plans not go the way I wanted might, when I really look at it, have been a good thing after all.

2 thoughts on “When things don’t go as planned… or more professionally, journalism under pressure

  1. yay!! good job, cousin!

    even though i totally hate, hate, HATE projects that go wrong and screw up at every moment possible, you’re right…that moment when you realize that you’re capable, talented, and can get it done, it feels SO good.it just takes a little bit of freaking out in the middle 🙂

  2. Now you get to breathe in some relief… then get started on your long-form TV piece. 😉 The on-the-spot creativity is great – hopefully you can carry some of that over into this next piece.

    I’m glad you took this past week as a learning experience not just in terms of equipment and software, but yourself as well. Hopefully your future assignments aren’t as much of an exercise in frustration.

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