As I drove down the highway, the warmth of the sun beat against my vehicle. I pulled into the parking lot at 9:00am and walked into the building, excited with each step. Although I knew I would spend a lengthy shift inside, I did not care. Today, I would not spend my time in the quiet promotions office; rather, I would spend my time shadowing a drastically different position.
Phones rang. A myriad of workers scurried back and forth between desks. Voices echoed across the cubicles checking and confirming information. Welcome to the newsroom. I walked to a desk. Bob, a producer for the 6 o’clock evening news sat typing. “Hey there, Zak! Pull up a chair and let’s get started,” he cheerfully said. His fingers flew across the keyboard with the grace of a virtuoso pianist. Immediately, he explained his process for producing his 6 o’clock show in iNews, the oxygen fueling WAVYs’ every breath. Imagine an orchestra. Each instrument plays an integral role in the production of beautiful music; yet, each player needs sheet music carefully orchestrated and structured. Now imagine, an extensive, yet, comprehensive Excel spreadsheet riddled with camera cues, descriptions, script, and a plethora of other information. As both conductor and composer, Bob painstakingly orchestrates the 6 o’clock news segment every single day. I could delve into the highly technical aspects of producing; yet, shadowing Bob showed me something me something more important.
First, Bob, not only taught me the ways of producing but also gave helpful advice for getting into the television industry. For instance, he provided a helpful website in finding positions in television, encouraged me to attend an event to meet and greet with television professionals, and even encouraged me to apply for various positions.
Second, Bob challenged me to ask bigger, fuller questions about television. Yes, it is important to learn the technical aspects of ones’ job, but Bob encouraged me to ask television professionals how to obtain jobs and grow my industry connections; and, third, shadowing Bob showed me one life-altering thing.
The show ended. Walking out of the control room, Bob and I discussed the highlights of the day. Immediately, Bob asked, “So, you want to be a news producer?” I gave a stifled laugh and answered, “I don’t think that’s’ my skillset or passion.” I found that I love working in television. More than anything else,however, shadowing Bob showed me that my skills, passion, and overall personality for television did not lie in the newsroom.
In an age of a myriad of choices, I think it is hard for most people to make a decision on what they really want to do. For, I know this truth all too well. Yes, I whole-heartedly believe in engaging in experiences and opportunities that appeal to persons’ passions. Yet, I think it is vitally important that someone also participate in strangely new experiences outside their comfort zone. With confidence, I could tell Bob that I would not enjoy working as a producer in the newsroom because my passion, interest, and personality did not match that of the job. For at the end of the day, I know that Bob desires to see me pursue a career that I could utilize my skills and passions to their fullest capacity, instead of pursuing a career half-heartedly.