Monday, April 11, 2011

And I Thought Doing It in Five Minutes Was Hard [Video]

I got an email the other day from Mike Piotrowski, one of the teachers I interviewed for the "Gami TV" story that premieres tonight at 7 pm on NJN. He wanted to let me know that he saw the finished package and he dug it. I love getting those kind of emails.
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However, the rest of his message was a bit of a bummer.

The day after we taped the story he found out that Absegami was going to scale down its homeroom time from fourteen minutes to a mere four.

"Big deal," you might say, "It's just homeroom. All they do is take attendance and do announcements."

Not at Absegami. For the crew of my favorite high school news cast, it's a very big deal. Homeroom is when they air their live morning show, which used to run fourteen minutes. Since February, they've had to try to do it in four.

Take it from someone who makes five-minute videos for a living. Four minutes is nothing. Even in the nightly news world the average segment is about 90 seconds. Throw in an intro, outro, and transitions and you're not left with time to do much more than fancy announcements. And while I'm sure Gami TV will be the most kick-ass four-minute show possible, it definitely won't be the same intense real-world experience I witnessed back in January.

Mike and his colleagues are trying to bargain with the district to get at least four of those minutes back for next year. He's hoping tonight's story will send a positive message to the board members, administration, and community to help their cause.

The "Gami TV" story starts at about the 7:20 mark, but make sure you check out the other great stories in the week's episode.

Speaking of working within time constraints, I ended up cutting a couple of angles out of this story in order to make the five-minute mark that I really wanted to tell. The biggest cut was the angle about Mike being a boomerang. He was a student at Absegami, went on to a career in media, then took the alternate certification route so he could come back and teach the program himself. This got reduced to a "Gami TV Alumnus" super. It also tips off the fact that we record the host's bits before the packages are finshed when Wendell mentions the missing angle in his lead-in... because I told the writer that's what the story would be about. Oops. The other angle that got short changed was the school's film production program, reduced to single B-roll shot and brief mention in the voiceover.

So you see, five minutes is not a lot of time. Neither is four.

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