Monday, 24 September 2012


Journalism is more than only reporting the facts, contrary to popular belief.

It is a form of storytelling, and it takes skill to be able to decide which details are essential to the progression of the story, and which details are not. It also takes skill to be able to think on your feet when you don’t know what the story will be - which is mostly all the time, and the way it should be.

Those are only two of the many reasons I chose to major in Journalism in university/college, even though I have known since I was about nineteen years old that I want to write movies.

But I still get asked, and quite often, why I am going to Journalism school, why I interned at a newspaper this summer, and why I didn’t at least choose Media Production as my major if I want to work in film one day.

The answer is the same as what I said above: Journalism is a form of storytelling and it takes skill to be able to do it effectively.

If you think about it, Journalism is the perfect way to start out if you want to work in the movies like I do. You get to interview people every day, to start off with. By doing that, you get a sense of the way they speak, what makes them get emotional (in some cases), and the words they use to describe particular situations and events. If you are lucky and you are interviewing them face-to-face (which you should be, I am against telephone interviews for a whole bunch of reasons but I’ll save that for another time), you get to watch their mannerisms and facial expressions, too.

That material is very useful when developing characters and writing scripts.

I was thinking exactly that when this girl at the newspaper I was at got to interview this woman who had a complaint about the health care system. She was saying the craziest things, comparing health care workers to Nazis and all of that, and the best part was her photograph. She was so dramatic-looking: Liz Taylor eyebrows and beauty-queen style hair. She was wearing a huge white fur coat standing in a yard full of lawn gnomes and reindeer and pitchforks, and her brother was there, too. They might of even lived together even though they both looked well over 60. When my pal interviewed her for the second time she asked if the photographer was coming back to snap another pic.

“I will absolutely be available,” she said. “And that photographer, well he was real cute last time.”

See, that’s a perfect character for a movie. In fact, she already exists if you combine Elvira with Blanche Deveraux and add a little CC Bloom from Beaches to the mix.

Anyway, the point is that Journalism, I have found, can lead to many different things, because it is multifaceted and journalists are challenged every day to see stories from many perspectives. Those perspectives are called sources.

That may also be the reason why journalists can also, somewhat easily, transition to “the dark side,” also known as PR. Once they fine tune thier eye to seeing stories from different angles, they can easily imagine it from the perspective of the audience, which is an important skill to have when working in Public Relations.

I admire and respect journalists who are in it forever and continue to improve as journalists because they choose to stay in that career, but for me journalism is my gateway drug to crazier things, and I think I will have the skills to get there now only because I took this path.  

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