| Hard Work, Tenacity, and Timing Go into Getting
By Joy Short
Just exactly how does it all work, I mean, after one has
finished all the schooling that leads to a career in the media?
How do I get my first job? How do I move to another station
or market if I already have one? Those are just some of the
most asked questions at this year's APTRAPrep Las Vegas held
January 10 and 11.
In order to find the answers to those questions and more,
APTRA President and KCOP/KTTV Reporter Hal Eisner, created
a dedicated venue to which folks could bring video resume
tapes for constructive criticism and, at the same time, learn
from seasoned professionals how to proceed a the job hunt.
Eisner told attendees that resume tapes "are more than
just plastic. They are all about you. So, when you're rejected,
it's easy to understand why you take it so personally. Instead
of they don't like my tape, it feels like they don't like
me!" There were sessions held to address those feelings
of frustration and strategies for rising above them.
Since APTRA, the Associated Press Television Radio Association
has a reach from California to Nevada, Las Vegas was the chosen
the meeting place for this first such tape critique weekend
workshop in the organization's 57 year history.
Talking about job getting and tape making, the event's moderator
Ross Becker, a main anchor at KTNV Las Vegas, said, "If
you don't leave here with a way to do it, you will have failed
" Get a mentor," he said, "find one of us,
get a cell number, and find a way to do this!"
Those remarks set the tone for the 2 day seminar which included
bringing people to the point of exposing their fears, sharing
their dreams and learning how to put them all together.
The entire workshop was devoted to talking about the creature
known as the resume tape. It was dissected every which way.
How the make them? What to put in them? How to organize them?
How to get them to the people who hire? How to follow-up after
sending that all-important piece of videotape?
News pros from all over California, Nevada and Arizona to
Maryland were on hand to critique tapes, answers questions
and give advice.
In one of the sessions, Becker and KTTV Producer Tim Langford
stressed the importance of good writing as essential to getting
into the business. Expressing oneself on paper is the first
step to expressing oneself on tape. The story has to be told
so that people understand it. Honing writing skills is clearly
a must according to mentors Becker and Langford.
Probably the most memorable parts of the program involved
personal reflections shared by participants. Students barred
their souls and so did mentors. Especially poignant were the
reflections of one panel of women." I started out as
a gardener at a television station in San Diego, when I was
just out of high school" said Roberta Gonzales; three
time APTRA Weathercaster of the Year and Meteorologist for
KPIX TV in San Francisco. "The station was XETV. Then
I became the station messenger and had to drive the company
Edsell across the border to Tijuana, Mexico to deliver commercials
each weekday. My next position was film director, that's when
there was such a thing as film. Then, I became a video editor
when tape replaced film."
Gonzales had clearly captured the attention of everyone in
the room. She continued, "I was going to college, by
then and started to write news stories," she continued.
"I got a one-year contract at KGTV to do one story a
week and followed a reporter around. I was standing there
the day the station's weathercaster had a heart attack. He
survived, but no one wanted to go on and do the weather, so
I raised my hand and the rest is history". Gonzales'
message was clear. "Be the best at whatever job you are
doing. Make it known that you want to do more, but until that
time comes, do your best" she said.
Becker's KTNV Co-Anchor Cathy Ray served on the same panel
and she agreed, "Timing is everything," she said.
"I am a nurse with a bachelor and master's degree in
cancer studies. I started volunteering my time at a station.
I told them that I was looking to get a masters degree in
communications" she said. She went on to say that first
she did radio then moved to TV at the NBC affiliate at Notre
Dame. "I couldn't be an intern because I had a degree.
I would be in my whites, sometimes with blood on them. I started
writing, and then going out with crews. I had tenacity. Talk
about deadlines, I had been there. I had seen death. That
is a deadline, I could handle anything else," she continued.
Ray said that the news director told her that she was doing
a good job and had credibility in the health field. In her
situation that was important. She went on to share that when
an anchor position opened up, she got it. "It's luck
and tenacity, but I have been in the business for 25 years"
Perfecting the on-air look was an important issue discussed
by mentors. One student asked about make-up, another about
ethnicity, and another about accents. Mentors agreed that
packaging was important. The product was the person looking
for the job. Speaking languages in addition to English is
a certain plus.
Quyen Chung also spoke to the "look" that is so
often a major reason in hiring on-air people. She also talked
about finding the location that one would accept after blanketing
the country with resume tapes. "Make sure you would want
to work there before accepting the job. I flew to Hagerstown,
Maryland to check out the station and the town before deciding
to take a job there. I paid my own way there and kept in touch
with the News Director and when a position opened up, I got
it. I love it there. Chung left Southern California to become
morning anchor in the town just a couple of hours from Washington,
D.C. and Baltimore, Md.
If you've been dying for someone to look at your tape, for
job counseling or for some motivation, maybe this has piqued
your interest. If it has, don't wait until next year to sign
up for this workshop, because it will fill up fast. While
we don't have the date yet for next year, we do know that
it will be an APTRA annual event. Email your interest to Hal
Eisner at Hal@HalEisner.com