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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Keep Your Cool and You'll Be Fine

    Andrea Edoria, Annenberg TV News Producer. It has a nice ring to it.

Producing this semester for ATVN has given me some of the longest and shortest experiences of my life. The semester has run its course and, yet I remain to feel like a novice in this whole news world that I’ve gotten myself into.

I remember almost not being able to sleep on the night before my first day as lead producer. (Okay, it was a practice day, but I was still terrified) I went to bed around 11:00 p.m and woke up every two hours until 6:30 a.m. I did not get the good night’s rest I was hoping for that night.

My first morning meeting was nothing like the ones I’ve had in the past few weeks. It was quiet, awkward and very spastic with Faith filling in most of the story board ideas and the occasional chirp from me.

After the initial shock of knowing that I was responsible for essentially all the content put forth in the morning meeting, my first and probably most important lesson made itself clear to me. In the midst of scrambling to fill my rundown with VOSOT’s (Voice-over plus sound) and packages, I found solace in Faith’s words.

“Calm down,” she told me. “You’re fine.” It didn’t sound like much more than a soothing anecdote at the time, but, throughout the semester, those same words have helped me keep my cool in the heat of the fast-paced ATVN lifestyle.

There are many things that can cause a story to go wrong: a cancelled interview, bad audio, shaky camera work (not to mention the extensive laundry list of technical issues we’ve run into). So what do you do when that happens? Take a breath and know that it will be alright.

So to those of you who are producing for ATVN next semester, mistakes and mishaps are inevitable in this line of work and having a negative attitude won’t change them. If you’re lucky enough to have such an amazing group of hardworking and supportive people working with you, it shouldn’t be difficult to turn to them for a laugh and maybe even a hug. Stories will get floated (more and more as the semester progresses), but assuring yourself and others that it will be okay enough times actually makes it real.

It’s a cliche that turned out to be one of the most useful mantras I’ve adopted. Nobody is a superstar on their first couple of days in the producer’s seat. Whether you are the lead, video or graphics and web producer, patience is key in knowing that there is still a lot you can learn. At the same time, be attentive when you are corrected in making mistakes. Enthusiasm can give you and the people you are working with the boost you need to power through your day of air.

So when you blank out on how to format a graphic or get caught having to decide which story to float and which to pursue, remember to “Calm down. You’re fine.”

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