She crushed it

January 31, 2014 • Posted in blindness, guest blog, questions kids ask, Uncategorized, visiting schools by

Must be Video Week here at the Safe & Sound blog — Monday’s post featured a YouTube of me jamming on the piano with our talented friend Keith Pickerel, and now here’s a guest post about a short video a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism filmed a few weeks ago.

by Eliza Larson

I’m pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, but I’m the first to admit: I am quite the novice in the world of video techniques.

Today's guest blogger, Eliza Larson.

Today’s guest blogger, Eliza Larson.

My professors are helping me learn more about putting together videos, but believe me when I say there is plenty of room for improvement. We were given an assignment to do a minute and a half long profile piece on an individual in the Chicago area. There are a lot of interesting people in Chicago, but getting someone to sit down and talk with you on camera is a real challenge.

I was taking the L home after a day of classes about a week and a half ago. Usually I doze off and listen to music or read a book, but this day I decided to tune into the world around me. I know, crazy, right? Sure glad I did, because I spotted a man on the opposite track standing with a dog. I wouldn’t think twice about this, but this guy was different. His dog was a Seeing Eye dog. The man was blind.

I thought to myself, how cool is that? Even though the man had a disability, he still was able to use public transportation just like everybody else. So I got to thinking, why not profile someone who is blind and lives in the city? Not to focus on the disability, but to highlight how a person doesn’t have to let a disability define them.

I did a little research and stumbled across this blog. I was inspired. I decided to try to reach out to Beth, and to my great surprise, she got back to me and agreed to an interview! The class assignment came with instructions to get three different shots in the video:

    • the interview subject in the main frame (the video had to start with this shot)
    • a two-shot (where you and the interview subject are in the same frame)
    • a reverse shot (where you are in the frame but the subject’s head is just barely in the shot)

When I sat down with Beth and her very friendly dog, Whitney, I almost forgot about my assignment. Beth and I had a great conversation about living in the city without sight and what it was like emotionally to lose your sight. We spent almost 45 minutes on the interview itself. I wish I could have shown the whole interview in my video piece, but, alas, I only had a minute and a half. I had a lot of logging to do later on with the many great sound bites I gathered. Totally worth it.

Another part of the assignment was to get an interview with a secondary source, someone who could attest to the impact this person has made on his or her community. I read through some recent posts on Beth’s blog and thought I would try to reach out to one of the teachers of a school Beth and Whitney visited this month. A teacher at the Joseph Sears Elementary School in Winnetka agreed to be interviewed on camera, and what that teacher said really hit the nail on the head. “Her big message was just because you have a disability or some type of impairment, it doesn’t have to stop you from doing the fun things, it doesn’t have to stop you from doing routine type things,” she said. “Like she’s still able to get dressed in the morning, they were curious about how she gets dressed.”

Crushed it! My professor seemed to like it, and now you can look and listen to the video here and judge for yourself. I did my best, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to revisit this subject later on and really flesh out the piece.

Cheryl On January 31, 2014 at 9:39 am

Great job, Eliza! I think your video captured the Beth we all know. Looking forward to your future stories.

mary kaye On January 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm

beth — loved the interview — much too short (but within academic parameters) — loved your hairdo — glad to see your refrigerator is as messy as mine — good to see you again,

bethfinke On February 1, 2014 at 10:07 am

Messy refrigerator? Busted.

Fancy Nischer On January 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I really enjoyed that Beth – especially seeing you from Tennessee!

Carl On January 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

She discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and now she has a guest post here. I like it!

provb3110 On January 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Great job Eliza and Beth!

Maria On January 31, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I think I’ll be hearing that name around…..seems like she will have a promising future from what she did with a minute and a half!

justcallmekath On January 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Wonderful piece, Eliza! It was so nice to get to know Beth a bit better through your work … and clearly Whitney enjoyed your visit! <3

bethfinke On February 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

Oh, yes. Eliza definitely has a fan in Whitney.

Marilee On February 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Wow! Amazing how many people you reach through your blog! Great video Eliza!

bethfinke On February 2, 2014 at 12:38 am

It *is* amazing, isn’t it? And pretty wonderful, too.

Deborah Darsie On February 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Eliza did a very good job, *especially* for her first ever video!
I enjoyed seeing it…and ‘meeting’ one of the teachers who had you visit her class.
Those criteria were fairly restrictive and she did a nice job exploring the boundaries. How she trimmed 90 minutes down to 90 seconds is impressive.

I love how you make yourself available to people of all ages and levels of curiosity.

Robert Ringwald On May 9, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Beth, I can’t find the link to the minute and half video. Can you send it to me?

-Bob Ringwald

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