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September 01 2012

22:12

Business…

Photo courtesy Kathleen Newell (http://www.kathleennewell.com)

Heads up – this is a “shameless self-promotion” posting. My visual storytelling business is up and running.

While small (with intentions to stay that way), I have plans to make it big – in quality. Although I’ve dabbled a bit with video production and its many challenges, I find my love of news and storytelling is leading me back into news – both feature and general.

So…if you want to keep up, check me out at the following sites:
http://thinknews.wordpress.com/ – my biz site
https://www.facebook.com/thinknews – facebook
https://twitter.com/thinknews – twitter
https://vimeo.com/cyndygreen – videos on Vimeo

Just FYI: work in progressing on The Basics of Videojournalism, although life is getting in the way some days.

And I will continue to post from time to time here on this blog – my first and favorite. Thanks for dropping by.


June 05 2011

15:49

Long, long time ago…

…in a backwater little valley town called Sacra-tomato, change was afoot.

Broadcast news…long the bastion of white males wearing cameras and suits…opened up to minorities and women. (Thank you FCC.)

Enter into this a tough talking chick from New Yawk and a kinda shy kid from further south in the valley. They met, they meshed and for one year they were a team.

As we age, those golden days of our youth resurface in memories that are probably pretty accurate. Oh, we may be better looking and smarter in our recollections than in reality…but I can live with that.

Me…I was the shy valley girl. Picked up a still camera at age 12 and never let go. My goal was to become a newspaper photographer, but even with a college degree, getting an internship was tough. So I took whatever job I could after marrying the love of my life and moved on. Sigh.

The roller coaster ride was about to begin.

After a year or so Ron and I moved from said Sacra-tomato to the raisin capitol of the world, Fresno, to continue with our higher education at my ala mater – CSU Fresno. Where I was called Cyndy Mog and he was called Mr. Mog. (Took a while to get those surnames corrected.)

Somehow in this move I hooked up with the college community affairs department, writing press releases and shooting publicity photos.
My goal: somehow become a news photographer.

In the meantime, diminutive Joann Lee was laboring in one of the largest markets in the broadcast kingdom – Los Angeles – as a production assistant.
Her goal: somehow become a TV news reporter.

After researching and writing a nifty little story on a new intern program that combined federal, state, and local monies to get college students into low-paying jobs, I applied for and was accepted as the first fem-photog at KFSN, Channel 30. Fresno’s CBS affiliate.

Joann, meantime, had talked her way into the field and was following cameramen around on stories. And one day she talked one of them into letter her stand in front of the camera.

“Ginsing – an oriental herb.”

On the strength of that story, she landed at job at KXTV in Sacramento. (Tomato capitol of the state – or so they liked to think.)

Meanwhile I was finishing up my internship at KFSN…rolling with the cameramen, learning the craft of shutter speed, f-stop all over again with sound and motion added. How to wear forty pounds of camera, camera brace, audio mixer. Use of an light meter when there was time and how to make quick guesses when there wasn’t. How to load film and how to process said film. My specialitie: mixing the chemicals and filing the film at the end of the day. (The new kid got the work no one else wanted.)

Magical times. Met my first dead body rolling out with Chuck “Boom Boom” Hoover, the station’s scanner freak, to a drowning in a canal. He also showed me how to artistically backlight broken windshields at accidents and once even beat the fire department to a fire (something I did twice more in my own career).

Time for convergence.

Some months after Joann got established at KXTV, I got my first ever interview with chief photographer Bob Helmes. He seemed to like what he saw and heard, and only had these words before putting me on staff: “If you don’t work out, we’ll never hire another female again.”

Gee. Thanks.

Of course, those being the times, I didn’t think twice about it. Just did my best to work up to and beyond expectations.

And totally screwed up on day two. Shooting some little nothing story at the local college, I forgot some shots, crossed my axis…horrible stuff.

And Bob – who was taking a quick nap in the newscar – commented: “Yesterday I was glad I hired you. Today, I’m not too sure.”

That rammed me straight back into the ground. Put me in my place and made me even more aware that I had only this one chance.

Fast forward six months or more on the weekend shift…got moved to nights and introduced to this tiny little thing with a big, opinionated mouth. My new partner.

How DO you DO?

I’m Cyndy. With two “y”s.

I’m Joann S. Lee.

We initially worked together warily…and I’m sure she was more nervous than me. No reporter likes working with a newbie cameraman. They don’t always know what they’re doing and they make you look bad.

Somehow we became a team…and I am sure the shortest (most petite) broadcast news team on the continent. I was five feet two…she was five one. I was afraid people would look at me and she could drill a subject with her voice and glare from one hundred feet. (Privately I called her the “Dragon Lady”.)

What brought us firmly together was our newness to the profession and our passion. It was us against the world some days…like the day when we got sent out to interview the family of the last man executed in the state. The angry family members’ response when we knocked at the door: “If you had been a male crew we would have beaten the crap out of you.”

The day we got sent to do a story on the local rice cooperative: “Why didn’t they send a real news crew? Why didn’t they send MEN?”

And talk about the times – often Joann was mistaken for Connie Chung – the “other” Asian reporter. Me, I never got mistaken for anyone. There was only me.

And the good times. Covering state politics in the days of Governor “Moonbeam” himself – Jerry Brown. Cruising the highways with scanner on high on summer nights. Pushing deadlines…telling stories of joy and tragedy; making chaos into something understandable. Partying together on weekends.

Eventually we both moved on…me to Washington, D.C. and then to the SF Bay area. Her to Chicago, then CNN in New York.

Somehow we both ended up in education. Professor Joann Lee (Chow) set up shop as head of the journalism department at University of Nevada, Reno at the same time I was starting my first program at Middle College High School in Stockton, California. She had more than half a million to spend…me, I had five thousand.

So we get together…less and less frequently it seems. Miles and lives lived apart have built walls that hinder meetings.

But those memories still surface. Those days when we were young, brash, invincible.


April 17 2011

16:19

Goodbye Anaheim 2011…

I’m back in my digs after a two day hiatus to the southlands. Getting a bit old and creaky for this semi-annual run, but the few hours of dancing around in front of an audience and seeing students play with toys was worth it.

What made it different this year? Well, when I’ve gone to conferences and workshops, I’ve always loved to get my grubbies on gear. Listening is all very well and good and educational, but I’m a hands-on type of person. So this year I took a bunch of new and old equipment so the workshop participants could do the same.

“Establishing a Broadcasting Program” had a mini-studio setup, with my (older) Sima video switcher, two cameras, and monitor. Nothing fancy, but enough so that folks could see how a very basic two-camera setup works. We even did a trial talk-through of a show (Camera one on two-shot, camera two one-shot of anchor two, take camera one, switch to camera two…camera one QUICK! get in on one-shot of anchor one, take camera one…). Also went over EVERYTHING I could think of that you might need for a basic broadcasting program and what each piece of gear does. Hung onto the mike topic a mite long…but pushing for good audio is important.

The workshop that really got going was “Painting with Light.” Took the attendees from using natural light to reflectors to a one-light setup with umbrella and on to three-point lighting. Kinda hard in a room where I had no control over the ambient lighting AND had to demo using an LCD projector (washing out the image a bit with the lights). But when the workshop was over the KIDS came up front and stayed for half an hour to play with lights and the effects of moving lights up/down/around. Backlighting was their favorite from what I could see. Oh…that and down-under-up-in-your-face Halloween lighting. Played with silhouettes and back-lighting.

They left happy and I was left exhausted. But happy too. Thanks all for dropping by and hoped you took something away with you.

COUPLE OF CLOSING NOTES.
1. Yes the camera (HMC150) was in manual mode. I told ya I don’t like auto mode, so the zoom was NOT in servo.
2. Yes the lights ARE hot. Use the C-47 aka clothespin.
3. What I use works for me…what I brought is what works for me. What you need may be something totally different…which means research (and yes, I’d be glad to show you how I research for gear).
4. Safety first and safety always. The lights are hot. Folks are gonna trip over cables and can get hurt. And please please be very very careful about posting student images online without all of the necessary paperwork. I may moan and groan about how restrictive administrators/districts are about allowing easy access for posting videos online…but I do NOT want to be the one responsible for any repercussions resulting from thoughtlessly putting a student in harm’s way.
5. About that printout of the Powerpoint I handed out? Teachers – the basic lessons are in the “Lessons” category on this blog if you are interested. Try looking at earlier postings, say from spring of 2007 on.


March 31 2011

05:37

This ‘n that…

Summer is not approaching as rapidly as I’d like. What I thought would be a short term gig in the classroom teaching photography is now a full term of five months, so planning and prepping for my post-retirement production site is going slowly.

On the up side – I did order and have worked with my new camera: Panasonic AG-HMC150.

Went out on a trial run last night with dishcrawl. Think pubcrawl, but with food instead of beer. Nearly five hours of in-and-outs to four restaurants. Began by tagging along with official videographer Diane as she and dishcrawl founder Tracy Lee interviewed the owners/chefs at some of the restaurants. They allowed me to shoot some b-roll for them as well as work as backup camera on several interviews (This was a camera-only trial run, so I was mikeless. They plan to synch my video up with Diane’s miked video in post).

A challenging night. We began with setting sun light and shadows and progressed to full night, shooting by streetlight, in dining rooms, kitchens, and at one point even tried shooting as the crowd crawled past a dark corner. I got to test the little Panny out in a wide range of light temperatures and started becoming familiar with the placement of the buttons and dials.

Becoming familiar? A REAL videojournalist/shooter doesn’t even have to think about where her buttons and dials are on the camera. The camera should be as much a part of the VJ as their nose or fingers…an extension of their body. That used to be the case when I was in the daily mix of news…but it is now eight years later and I have to get back into the zen zone of shooting.

Back to the future. Over the next few months thinknews will have fresh new video examples, posted to vimeo and shot on my new camera. The intent is to show potential clients what I can do with current gear…what my current skill set is.

My byline has always been, “Can’t live without a camera in my hand.” So in retirement I do not plan to retire from who I am…but continue it at a pace that makes sense.


December 28 2010

15:55

New links to updated sites…

In anticipation of the New Year, my other two wordpress sites have been updated.

Check out The Basics of Videojournalism, an overview of a textbook on visual storytelling I am currently working on.

Also, beginning in June I’ll be out and available for hire as a freelance videojournalist – the site for that is think-news.

If you look to the left in the sidebar, you’ll see I’ve added both sites to the blogroll.


June 09 2010

18:23

Need a VJ?

Two weeks and I’m officially off the district payroll (no longer teaching) and unofficially looking for the occasional job. Here’s how the ad reads:

Master storyteller, visualizer seeking compelling stories. Thoughtful coverage, precise writing, solid shooting and editing skills. Available for hire as freelancer or long term contract basis.

Wishful thinking maybe…but then if you’re a regular, you know already I can’t live without a camera in hand.


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