How many times have you been working on a story when you think you have enough?
You have some pretty decent soundbites and b-roll and it sure would be nice to be done and edited early for once. That’s when you have to ask yourself, is there an extra step you could be taking?
Quick story: There was a kid I covered during my first job who had a mom who was in a car wreck. He gave unbelievable sound during a media event about her recovery and how much it was hurting him to be away. Great stuff!
I went back to the station super excited and wrote a pretty good story. I even got a pic of his mom- which was way harder to do at the time without twitter and facebook. The story was good. It just wasn’t nearly as good as what my competition managed to do.
The reporter from the other station took another step.
He called the affiliate from the kid’s hometown. Turns out, the station covered the car wreck because it was pretty serious. They sent him the clip from the newscast from when they reported on the wreck. They also went to the hospital and got a quick soundbite with the mom and a little video of her in her bed. The affiliate did this in exchange for the really good sound from the hometown boy.
(People from other stations tend to be extremely helpful when you can offer a great story in return.)
My competition did this all with the same amount of time I had. I just didn’t think to do it. It felt like a huge punch to the gut when I saw their version. I got my tail kicked.
This was a huge lesson to always be asking myself if there is another step.
Is there one more phone call I can make? Is there another angle? Is there a piece of video I should get before heading back to edit? Is there one more interview I can do?
If I could have ANYTHING in the world to make this story better what would it be? If you can think of that, try to go get it.