I begin the first chapter of this book about journalism with an example from a similarly hallowed field:
Golf. (Don’t worry if you don’t know much about golf. Neither do I.)
I spent countless hours during my mid-20s trying to master the sport, usually spending my mid-week days off on the fairways of Buffalo’s finest courses. (In Buffalo, of course, “golf season” meant “mid-May to midSeptember”, which may explain why I never became very good.) I did not learn much, but I did pick up one piece of advice that applies perfectly to solo video journalism:
In chaotic environments, try to eliminate as many variables as possible. In golf, the chaos exists because of the perfection required to succeed. Each
swing features numerous elements beyond one’s control – and thus numerous opportunities to make mistakes. Think about all of the variables:
• The sun, or lack thereof • Wind, rain, or any other type of weather • One’s view, which is never the same except at the start of a hole • The placement of the pin on the green
The swing itself creates even more anarchy, because once a golfer pulls back the club, he or she begins a continuous movement that will not stop until that club strikes the ball. If something feels a bit off – the speed of the backswing, the turn of the body, the height of the club at its apex – the golfer cannot stop mid-shot; he or she must decide how to adjust on the fly. This further unfolds the chaos and underscores what makes golf such an elusive game.