I’ll be doing a set of blogs on the website now. These will cover actual professional experience- No BS and fluff or puffing up of what happened plus a piece of production/post productions tip that could help any filmmaker.
Early in the year I cover E3- a video game expo where the latest yet to be released video games are released.
I wanted as much access as I could get to get that I needed to be hired to go. I had done somework with Rizzle and pitched them on it. A certain number of hits was required to qualify as a Media Outlet and Rizzle had it.
The Pitch letter was sent endorsed by Thom Woodley of Rizzle. I got notified I would be covering E3 1.5 days before its start.
I was naturally ecstatic but had to now plan for an event. E3 was completely digital this year due to covid amidst some controversy about the already dwindling relevance of E3. To explain E3 was and is to some a vestige of an era before major game companies could simply post a video on their own twitch channel or youtube to promote an upcoming product. Others have said that the emergence of other company based press events also leave people wondering why have E3. As an indie artist myself, I disagree with all of this. Firstly, E3 is written about every year with vigor and lots of coverage despite media outlets saying it is irrelevant. Secondly, the value of a “Sony” or “Microsoft” stand alone event does not breed interest of other artists or the ability to stand side by side with major companies as a tiny to medium sized art team; for a simple fee, lesser known artists can attend E3 right along side names like Nintendo.
I am not going to cover the games in this article ( you can go watch the series on Rizzle), instead I want to talk about the fear and excitement of my first E3 coverage.
E3 implied in their language that they would have digital booths where someone could be accessed. Their original description was kind of like AIM in it is later years; You’d be able to see if someone was online and chat in text or video with them if they were available. There were even signs on the portal for E3 that those technologies were created. However as you may have guessed from my tone, these were not working.
It therefore fell to journalists to do 1 of 2 things, simply watch the feed of very corporate presentations and react or contact the developers and schedule an interview. I chose the latter.
It was day 2 into press day and I had written almost every video game company at E3…no…responses. I was terrified that my first E3 would leave me with no footage at all.
There was another issue with the portal. For journalist covering a conference meeting other journalist was a big part of it. A chance to offer your work and abilities to others and meet new people. The portal kind of had set up the ability to make “friends” with other journalist but there was very little way to A. Introduce yourself. B. Incentivize people to use the social network on the portal. C. Chat.
You can see all the interviews I did get at E3 using my persistant networking skills but it was rough. I even spoke to one video game creator who was “in Florida on vacation and didn’t even know he had gotten confirmation on his booth at E3.”
Recording remotely was key to doing E3. Here are my best tips for doing journalism afar.
TRUST NO DIGITAL RECORDERS. What I mean by this is don’t rely on or even run a recording program built into zoom or skype. I always run a headphone splitter into an mic input and screen record.
If you have quicktime on a mac go to NEW- Screen recording. Options will pop up to record a mic at the same time or even determine the frame shape and resolution. Iphones also have a screen capture option. It is an icon that looks like a large white circle with a large white dot in the middle. If you don’t see that in your CONTROL CENTER (swiping down menu thing) it can be added in SETTINGS-CONTROL CENTER-SCREEN RECORDING.
2. Ask if the person owns a camera they can set up. Coverage coverage coverage. It doesn’t hurt to ask someone to record video or audio separately on their phone and send it to you. This technique is not as good for an ornery subject or gotchya journalism.