Working alone in the field can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that Michelle Michael has mastered. Since 2003, she’s been shooting, writing and editing her own stories for the US Armed Forces Network. This year, she won the NPPA Solo Video Journalist of the Year award. What’s her advice to other one-man-bands?
“If you don’t really love doing it, you’re not going to do well,” she said in an NPPA interview. “It’s such a monster that you battle every day. You have to be so many things in a day.”
Here’s one of Michael’s prize-winning stories, a story that she says changed her life because “it showed me a lot about what people are willing to give up and do for other people.” It’s also an example of the value of listening. Michael says she met the man in the story when he demanded to see her ID as she entered a government building. She had to put down all her gear to find it. She wasn’t all that happy to see him again on her way out, but when he asked if she wanted to hear his story, she stopped long enough to hear what he had to say.
Michael does plenty of stories like that without a stand-up, but when she does decide to include one she spends a great deal of time setting up and shooting it. The result is often a multi-part stand-up, like the one in this story.
Did you count the number of shots in that stand-up? How long do you think it took Michael to get that done, working alone? Here’s the answer, in a behind-the-scenes look at how she produced that stand-up:
Thanks, Michelle Michael, for sharing your work and showing what it takes to do it well.