Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The confidence machine

Wouldn't it be great if there was a device television reporters could use to turn their confidence on to its highest level when it came to job hunting?

Well, there is. It's called a microphone. Stick one in the hand of the most shy journalist you've ever met, and chances are that person will morph into a take-no-prisoners reporter with absolutely no fear. The microphone and camera and live truck give you license to act outside your personality, to become someone you're probably not. They are your shields, protecting your true self. You're almost bulletproof, protected by the First Amendment.

And that's why so many of you lack confidence when applying for jobs. No microphone. No live truck. Pit bulls in the field, wallflowers with resumes tapes. It's almost as though the resume tape sucks the confidence out of you like a vampire. Give a man a microphone and he's Brad Pitt in a singles bar. Take it away and he's a tongue tied kid at the high school dance.

It's amazing to look at resume tapes of reporters who can truly kick the competition in the field, then hear them over the phone as their self-doubt won't let them put a tape in the mail.

So, wise Grape, how do you get the confidence in the field and translate that to your job hunt?

For that, you need to watch the movie "Hoosiers" with Gene Hackman.

(At this point you're thinking the Grape is heading off the deep end, but bear with me.)

In case you haven't seen this movie, it's about a small town basketball team heading to the state championship. Toward the end of the movie the kids walk into the biggest arena they've ever seen and their jaws drop. Hackman takes out a tape measure and shows them the rim is still ten feet off the ground and a foul shot is still fifteen feet.

And by the same token, a package on the network is the same as a package in market 210. Video, nat sound, sound bites, standup, good writing and editing. There's no magic formula that makes a network or major market package any different than the one you do today.

Opportunities for young people have never been better, as my generation is leaving local news in droves. Take your shots now. And if you have to hold a microphone while going to the post office, well, so be it.

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