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Being a Media Producer: A Livelyhood Guide

• Find a location. When doing this, think about things like space (size as well as indoor or outdoor), furniture, what kind of lighting you might want to use (natural daylight, lamplight, etc.), props (a painting, plants, etc.) You may want to go to where your subject is to make it easier.

• Give the subject clear directions to the shoot. Make sure they have a way to reach you: telephone, pager, etc.

• Make sure you have all the equipment you need for the interview. For television that might mean a video camera, special microphones, lighting equipment, etc. This should be done at least a couple of days before the shoot in case anything needs to be replaced, fixed or borrowed. If you are doing voice, make sure that you have batteries for your tape recorder. Whether you are writing a print story, doing TV, or voice, bring along a pen and paper to take notes.

• Storyboarding: Plan your camera shots together with your questions and the subject's answers. For example: you may want to have a wide shot of both you and your subject when you're asking a question and then go to a tight (close-up) shot of only your subject when he or she responds. If you are writing or recording only sound, you may want to describe in detail the visuals make it more interesting.

• Be prepared with questions. Rehearse them beforehand. But don't feel wedded to the questions -- don't be afraid to stray and ask something you didn't think of in advance, or follow a particular line of questioning you find interesting!

• Your subject might be uncomfortable being interviewed. Help them to feel relaxed. Thank them for spending time with you and ask them if they have questions. You may want to tell them that they can repeat something if they donít like the way it comes out. If you are doing television or audiotape, ask them not to refer to previous questions -- not to say "like I said before," or "like you asked me last time" -- in case you want to edit out of order.

• Make eye contact. The more you do this - and the more you've prepared your questions - the more intimate you and your subject will feel. Try to make them feel as though you're having a conversation with them.

• Be friendly. Once again, comfort is everything and friendliness goes a long way in a potentially uncomfortable situation. Remember, the more comfortable they are, the more comfortable you will feel.

• After the interview, choose your favorite quotes from the segment: quotes that you feel may sum up a certain idea or are interesting. Use those to structure the final product and then gather any additional research you need. You may want to call and check quotes if you are unsure of exact wording.

• Mail letters of thanks to your subjects and anyone else who helped with arranging the interview.

Remember to brainstorm with your classmates. What may seem obvious to you may not be for someone else. Oftentimes, the more you discuss an idea the more it grows and the more chance there is for other ideas grow out of it. If you know someone who has experience producing, ask them for advice and share share that advice with your classmates. Finally, everyone has a certain style, a different way of doing things. Decide what style best suits the interview you're producing. Good luck and have fun!