A PodCamp SoCal report

Audio gadgets, workflows, meeting people, and stories. PodcampSoCal was a good day yesterday. I was expecting to have different breakout regions in the room, but we all followed a single track together as one room. I saw several Zoom Handy H2s set up on small tripods, recording the proceedings. And one or two Zoom H4, too. Looks like I’ll be turning from The War and what’s your story to an audio geek gadget maven for the next day or so. The agenda was full and continuous I didn’t get a chance to ask people what their experience was like using their various recorders. But I’ll be at the show Friday and Saturday, so I hope to do that then.

Oh, and family stories did come up; I managed to get myself on the agenda at day’s end and spoke of the Veterans History Project. One guy, Dan Bach (he produces a math show and wore a tee shirt filled with lovely graphic symbolic goodness related to prime numbers), mentioned his dad during the Q & A: A WWII vet, a prisoner of war who received his purple heart 60-some years later. Perhaps I heard about him in the news? Just looked it up, and here’s the story of Leo Bach. He was at Pearl Harbor the day it was bombed, and he was shot down over Germany. I told him, you gotta interview your dad; this field kit has your name on it (I only had a handful of Veteran History Project field kits).

Some other good questions that came in… do you stop the recording if the interviewee gets emotional in midst of interview? My answer is to use your best judgement in that moment, and ask the interviewee if they want you to stop the recording while they gather themselves together. But my sense (not that I’ve experienced much of this) is that you don’t make a plan ahead of time for what you’ll do, you let the situation in the moment guide you, and above all, you look to make the interviewee comfortable. If someone is overcome by emotion in the moment and forgets that the recorder is there, let it roll. But if there’s any self-consciousness of the recorder, by all means, offer to stop the recording for a moment and (if it seems right) take a break.

What do you do about someone who is reticent, or does not typically talk about his experiences? I offered a few suggestions: ease in with easier-to-talk about topics such as How did you come to be in the armed forces? What was your training like?, record over multiple sessions to gain trust, and maybe get another veteran to conduct the interview. Though I don’t like this last suggestion the more I think about it, especially if the interviewee is a family member. I feel a bit out of my element on it, though.

With both of the above, I’d love to find out more from people with more interviewing experience how they handle these situations.

Another person I re-met at PodCampSoCal is Steve Holden, who’s got a website, Veterans Stories. So far just a couple of recordings, and he encountered the Veterans History Project materials that one of the interviewees had. (He got another one of my field kits. The few, the proud) So check out his site.

I was approached by Laura Fitton of Pistachio Consulting about a foundation (Fitton’s on their board): Twilight Wish Foundation is an organization that does wish-granting for seniors. She says that life stories are a frequent wish.

Also another coupla great conversations with Kari of TPSRadio.org who’s got a show recorded at the Veterans Day Parade at Podcastpages.com, and with Greg Patterson who told me about the stories of seniors he hears about through his mother’s daily contact with them.

Other speakers had good stuff to say, such as a videoblogger workflow demo for a daily show. Whoa, that was impressive. Good to see familiar faces, too: Doug Welch (Hey! He shot me!), Victor Cajaio, and Heathervescent.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 28, 2007 in • AudioAudio: HardwareInterviewingVeterans History Project
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