It was just a week ago, on a Friday night, when I was walking out of office at close to midnight, that a tinge of emotions (just a tinge) ran through me.
I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but it was a mixture of: satisfaction, relief, and reassurance.
I always think and feel a lot, but this time it was somewhat different.
It truly was a moment for me to sink in.
No, I didn’t win an award, neither did I get a compliment from a director, nor was I given some amazingly good news.
It was because my package had been approved by the chief editor — and I did almost the entire process (at least, the ones which I was quite worried about) on my own.
If only I could let you in on the planning and execution behind it all…
To be sure, I was never worried about researching and scripting. If there’s anything I believe I am able to do, it will be these two things.
But it’s the MANY many steps behind getting a package out, i.e. uploading footage (that’s a whole process on its own with many set requirements), editing from scratch and selecting appropriate footage (including archive ones which require Chinese typing and hunting), submitting the video (and amending it according to the editor’s comments), that I have been a bit concerned on.
As a foreign hire, we are lucky to have a multimedia editor assist us with most of the administrative parts, such as liaising with Mandarin-speaking interviewees, translating the interview, uploading footage, other logistics, etc. However, unlike others who do not know the language, because I am able to read and write Mandarin, I needed to learn all of these admin stuff pronto because I can’t always be relying on others for help. And plus the quicker I learn, the faster I am able to focus on my main role which is reporting.
But beyond the above — this story wasn’t really a straight forward one. Don’t get me wrong, I was really happy when I was first assigned to do this package, which is on foreign banks in China achieving win-win solutions with China, as part of the side-stories leading up to the Fortune Global Forum. After all, I did use to work in a bank for a bit and used to cover only business news…
This wasn’t a newsy piece, neither was it a follow-up to a very recent announcement. The angles given were so broad, I researched and read-up all over to come up with a few possible angles — wearing the hat of a ‘foreigner’, of course, like what would I be keen to know if I were watching back home in Malaysia. Alas, last minute, a director wanted a human angle as well, and to make this story-telling as interesting as possible. I was scratching my head worried as hell, wondering how to deliver this the best way.
Then came securing the interviewees. This took up a lot of time, and all within a short period (a week) since my colleague and I only started contacting the banks a bit late after my other assignment. On hindsight, given that we were given sufficient time to lock in interviewees, I should have started early on. I wanted to give myself time to research first, initially.
Anyhow, after managing to speak to the corporate communications department of a few banks, came the many questions they have for us, understandably, like which other bank are we going to feature, when will it be aired, specific questions ahead, what’s my background, etc. Then came securing the date and time, if and whether I should fly to Shanghai, amidst getting a second bank confirmed there to make the trip worthwhile… all while I was doing my rotation in the newsroom.
Gotta say though, the corp comms people in foreign banks here are solid — prompt and professional. It was great working with them.
I also wrote a separate piece for our new media platforms here, which I thoroughly enjoyed! There were so many things I couldn’t insert into my package, including context, soundbites, etc so I am glad we also have this platform to input these other stuff. I do miss print so much.
The article is found here.
Thank you, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale, for speaking with me 🙂
Now, to many of you this may seem like a small matter perhaps not even worth celebrating or even thinking about.
But to me, it was a sense of progress and evolvement; from not knowing anything about video editing, to now being able to even nick and pick (I can already imagine being a perfectionist about this in the future — I hope not!). I suppose it was fresh for me as well, not having used Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere before, and hence I can’t compare it with our Sobey system here (which is all in Mandarin).
Plus, this video editing was tough (I am still at the learning stage!) as both interviews took so long — one was 45 mins and the other, 25 mins — and to transcribe and pick-up the best sound bites was hard. And making it sound natural as I cut and combined their answers while overlaying appropriate footage… But it was thrilling, as I searched for music on our system and added in it as well in my intro and ending. Haha.
This package reminded me of my Silverlake interview — in terms of the whole erm post-production of it. Except, I didn’t have to edit my own videos back then. But I was SO NEW, literally MY FIRST or SECOND video interview done where I knew nothing about sound bites and crafting a story then.
There is so much more I can improve in terms of making my script snappier, more creative, etc… but this small win has reaffirmed me that at my various times of doubt (trust me there were TONS), that ‘Hey, see, you can do it.’