3 Ill-Considered Videos
Back in 2009 and 2010, I spend a great deal of time making the Rediscover Mid-Valley videos. In addition to boldly illustrating why I am in print and not broadcast journalism, the videos also remain a testament to the lasting power of the bad idea.
Back in 2009, my favorite rapper (Ludacris) came out with a cognac. Even though it wasn't sold in Oregon, I heard it had a great press kit, so I emailed the PR rep and asked her to send me one. And then ... I made this video, when no editors were around. Obviously, there was a little too much honesty in this video, from me, former SJ reporter Stacey Barchenger, and most of all from an unnamed, off-screen reporter.
We are not allowed to accept gifts worth more than $25 here at the Statesman, but there is a sometimes-used workaround: I looked up the price of the cognac, then paid that to the SJ's United Way fund. And then promptly drank all the cognac, which led to its own troubles.
Lessons learned: Don't try to get rappers to send you cognac, because not only will your editors be annoyed but also you will have a terrible headache the next day. But DO make sure you have that certain reporter sitting just off-screen when you need a blast of honesty added to your video.
This video was actually shot on the day of my 25th birthday, hence the ridiculous, totally-not-suitable-for-a-fair outfit. But here is what was left on the cutting-room floor: about 45 minutes worth of me holding animals that were freaking the f out. My love of baby animals, apparently, is not mutual. But at least I got to hold one that seemed OK with me. Maybe because rabbits don't make much noise and this one had not yet learned how to scream. (Originally I was going to link a YouTube video of that, but googling "Rabbit Scream" takes you to a very dark place. Don't do it.)
Lessons learned: Baby animals don't like me as much as I like them. Don't dress up on your birthday if you have to go film a piece at the fair. Don't ever, ever, ever, touch a baby goat's hooves for ANY REASON, because it will send them into loud hysterics.
This video was the worst video idea of all. It was also, incidentally, one of the very first videos I'd ever made.
In Dallas, they were having a rubber duck race down a creek that was very low during the summertime. I was told that it'd take maybe 5 minutes, and thought it would make a cute video — I'd talk to city officials, and do color commentary on the race.
But it didn't take 5 minutes. It took 31 minutes. And we were broadcasting live.
What does one say, for 31 minutes, standing in the hot sun on the side of a trickly Dallas creek? If you're me, any ole words will do!
At the 23-minute mark, the chief of police and I have the following exchange:
Chief of Police: They're just trickling in, aren't they?
Me: Yeah, they really are. I thought they would be in more of a rush.
Chief of Police: Yeah. We all did.
At 27:17, I give in to madness.
"Emotions are high, as this duck that once looked so promising now seems destined to bonk into those smallish rocks. It's tough. You can think you're on top, you can think you have everything going for you, but then you can get stuck on some rocks in Rickreall Creek. It's kind of like life. But we can't focus on loser ducks, because there are some much more dynamic ducks coming down the way much more quickly."
Lessons learned: Do not do a live broadcast of anything, ever. If you have to broadcast live, make sure you're not in direct sunlight, because then anyone will actually be able to watch the progression of your sunburn.