An accurate account of the catastrophes I like to call, #j333 video FAIL.
By: Christina Renninger
When the video assignment was assigned on Thursday of week four, I decided to get an early start. After consulting with Suzi, I decided I wanted to do my video on a local farm. I remembered from my last interview with Kathee, the owner of Holy Cow, that she recommended I talk to Deck Family Farm. After getting the approval from Suzi, who also recommended Deck, I was excited to get started. After playing phone tag with Deck for a couple days, I was finally able to speak with a lady named Amanda. She was very helpful and had been corresponding with the owner, Chris, about my project. She said Chris was happy to help and we began the early stages of scheduling the interview. At this point, it was Tuesday of week five, and I was feeling pretty good about the assignment and pleased with my productiveness. I wish I could say the rest went smoothly but here is when my luck made an abrupt turn.
After not hearing from Deck for a couple of days to confirm the times we discussed, I gave them another call. To my dismay, Amanda informed me that Chris could no longer help me because she was too busy getting ready for a trip to Europe. Strike 1.
Still eager to film a farm, I began searching for another. My deadline was (at the time) about a week away and I was feeling a little pressured to schedule an interview. I used the Willamette Farm & Food Coalition website as a resource to find local farms in the area. I then began calling dozens of farms in desperation to find a new story. I kept running into the same issue, either farms weren’t busy enough to have anything to film or they were too busy to give an interview. However, a few farms like Good Food Easy and Living Earth Farm said they might be interested and would get back to me. However, after not hearing back for a couple days, and feeling the pressure of my approaching deadline, I decided to give them another call. I left a few messages with Good Food Easy, who sounded very promising the first time we spoke, but I still have never gotten a response. I finally reached the owner of Living Earth Farm on the phone after emailing with her briefly. She now was apparently uninterested and didn’t intend on informing of this, saying: “I knew I was too busy this week so I just didn’t respond to your email.” Strike 2.
After being denied by over 8 other farms in the Willamette Valley, I was officially back to square one. With my head drooped low, I knew it was probably time to abandon my eager idea of filming a farm. Not without one last try of course. I called a few more farms, all of which were dead ends like the others. My deadline was now four days away. After a frantic rush to office hours on Thursday, the 31st, I told Suzi I was going to try to film Sprout, a farmer’s market in Springfield. Their farmers market runs every Friday from 3-7 p.m. so I was hoping to be able to shoot something the next day. I called a couple times and got a voicemail. On the third try I decided to leave a message. Sprout did eventually call me back but it wasn’t until 3 days later, after the farmers market had already happened. Strike 3.
I decided I needed to switch gears and try something else. I made a post on all of my social networks (personal included) looking for someone who knew a local flexitarian. My idea was to film someone cooking a flexitarian meal and interview them about their diet choice. In class on Thursday, some classmates also recommended I try the Urban Farm. The only contact I could find was an email address for the program director so I sent him an email explaining my situation. In the process, I also got a couple bites from my twitter post (see above). However, one didn’t live in the area, and the other (Ashley) gave me a contact number for someone she knew in Eugene. After texting and calling the contact she gave me, I never got a response. Strike 4.
Other contacts I made were to Capella Market and the Kiva Grocery. My idea was to film their deli and meat department. However, I never got a hold of anyone from Capella and the Kiva declined on account of not wanting to be filmed. Strike 5.
Next, Harper from The Urban Farm got back to me and said it was okay for me to film student workers the next Saturday (11/1). I checked out all of my equipment and showed up Saturday morning ready to film. Unfortunately, the unpredictable Oregon weather did not work to my advantage. With the rain coming down steady, I was unable to get much footage, and with an audio recorder that suddenly wasn’t turning on, I wan unable to conduct any interviews either. Strike 6.
Here is a clip of some of the raw footage I got from the Farm. As you can see, the rain made it impossible to film any more without damaging my camera. You can even see my hand flash in the scene as I am trying to protect my camera from the rain. (note. This was my own personal camera and not one that belong to the SOJC J cage. No equipment was harmed in the filming.)
This concludes the catastrophes I experienced during week four and week five. It definitely was one of the most stressful times I have had working on a single project. With that said, I also had other outside factors such as midterms and other upper division journalism projects that contributed to my stress level. By far, this is some of the worst luck I have had in my journalism career. I honestly do not know what I could have done differently. I was proactive with this assignment and started making contacts early on in the game, but the combination of unreliable sources, time constraints, weather constraints, equipment constraints, and many others, made it near impossible to produce a video for this week. Therefore, this week I will be submitting a different multimedia experiment and save the video assignment for later down the road.
From these obstacles, I learned how to accept being denied over and over again by contacts and that sometimes it might take a dozens no’s before you will ever get a single yes.