Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things are looking up

Friday turned out better than I expected. I was in the Radio section of the Journalism Department at Rhodes University waiting for the Upstarters at 2.30pm as usual. They came in, one, two, three, four, five. I nearly got up from my seat to do a victory dance! All five of them had arrived for the first time in weeks. If you’ve been keeping up with the blog posts, you may be expecting there to be six members, but my colleague Tom and I heard from Shireen, Upstarts project manager, earlier in the week that our sixth member now has other commitments and can no longer attend. I’m happy to do a victory dance for five committed Upstarters. 
                                        Simakhele chatting to his guest

We spent Friday’s session preparing the Upstarters for the first two interviews that would be happening the next day. Bathabile and Aphiwe were scheduled to arrive with questions that they would be asking their interviewees the very next day. Aphiwe was scheduled to interview Shireen but she had indicated to him that she would be unavailable on Saturday at the time of the interview. So Simamkhele offered to do his interview.
Tom sat with Bathabile and helped him prepare for the interview. He had, as suggested, conducted a prelim interview but he went a little further by recording it on his phone. By Tom’s assessment, he had done well and was ready for the live interview. I then spent time with Simamkhele helping him tweak his questions and prepare for the interview.
The rest of Friday was spent on brainstorming ideas for interviewees for some of the other Upstarters. As well as recording some of the content that still remained to be voiced.
Saturday was the best part. In studio, the team was having a good time. Bathabile was the first to interview his guest. He did rather well for his first time. Both of them were nervous, but this was to be expected. While Bathabile interviewed, Simamkhele took me outside the studio feeling really nervous, so we spent a few minutes going over his questions again. He sat on the couch with his arms on his head trying to calm himself.  My words to him were that he was going to be having a conversation. He had had several conversations with his guest before and that’s how he had gotten to know him. The live interview would be no different, he just needed to stop thinking about the live aspect of it because that was what was causing him the nervousness. His main concern was that he may forget his questions so the advice to him was not to be note bound, but to know in his head what he would like to chat about and to let the questions flow from there and from the conversation. . He stood up, shook himself and said, “Thank you sisi, I’m ready.” 
The two YUNG Amplified anchors graciously gave Bathabile and Simamkhele space on their show to conduct their interviews, but at times tended to take over. This was done mostly when Bathabile was interviewing since he was the first to go. During a song, Tom asked them to give him the space to do the interview uninterrupted as far as is possible. They respected this for the most part.
Simamkhele had a moment during his interview where his fear came true, his mind froze and the question did not come. Up went his hands on his head and nothing from his mouth. His guest kept speaking and covered for him.  If you were listening on the other side, I’m confident you wouldn’t have suspected a thing because there was no dead air. A very lucky save. It was smooth sailing after that, with the occasional take over from the anchors.
Besides a few glitches, the energy in the studio was amazing. It was young and fun. I think that if Bathabile and Simamkhele were given one or two more interviews to do live, they wouldn’t need anymore lucky saves and they will be able to conduct amazing interviews. Nonetheless, they did very well.
I think that having the others in the studio was also good for them because as soon as we left the studio, Aphiwe came to me and told me he now understand why Shireen and I had, the previous day, tried to convince him to interview someone younger than Shireen. He will now be pursuing an interview with someone younger that Shireen had suggested while we brainstormed on Friday.
We ended off with a debrief session where Bathabile and Simamkhele spoke about how they felt the interviews went, what they would have liked to improve and what they enjoyed. They also gave the other three some words of advice about interviewing. Their main words were “stay calm, live radio makes you nervous, but if you stay calm you’ll be fine.”
The moral is high and I think we may be getting to the end of a tunnel and closer to the light. It’s now upon Tom to get stay in touch with RMR this week work out the logistics that remain around the collaboration of YUNG Amplified and Upstart. Sustainability is still our main concern as we near the end of our time working on this project.
If you’d like to get another take on this weekend’s sessions, please click here to see Tom’s post.
 I’ll be included some clips of the interviews sometime in the week.

No comments:

Post a Comment