Finding Your Niche Part 2
By Rebecca Coates Nee
So, youve figured out your DATA (see my last column)
now its time to put those Desires, Assets, Temperament
and Abilities to work on your own behalf. Whether you want
to create a side project or start your own business after
TV, this formula will help you find your niche in the marketplace.
Heres an example from my own life.
As many of you know, my husband and I adopted a baby girl
from China last January. Like most former news types, most
of our trip was documented on video. Getting everything on
camera becomes second nature to us after awhile put
that in your asset column.
So, when we returned, I looked at all this great video we
had captured with a simple home digital SONY DCR-TRV17. Now,
even though I was a one-woman band when I first started reporting,
I am not technically inclined in the least (not an asset).
But I do enjoy creating stories with pictures (desire, ability
and temperament). So I bought a software editing program (Video
Factory) and began putting together a 20 minute montage of
At first, this did not go well. Since I was coaching, writing
AND caring for a 1 year old who was still in culture shock,
I didnt have much free time to figure out how to edit
on a computer. Plus, much of our video was shot by my husband
a great guy but not a broadcaster. He talked through
virtually all the nat sound. For example, during the critical
moment when Nikki was handed to me, this is what you hear:
What a cutie! She doesnt know who
you are. Look at the way shes looking at
you. And for the life of me, I cannot recall why he
was clearly standing on a boat while the rest of us were on
BUT I was determined to put this montage together for
family, friends, my daughter and myself (desire, desire).
Nothing stopped me not even tantrums by both my daughter
and husband. I was up late and early. I was on a mission and
I couldnt really even explain why. Note: This is the
type of project you should look for something you feel
you MUST do, even though circumstances seem prohibitive and
everyone else thinks youre nuts.
I made four trips to Circuit City, many phone calls and emails
to tech help and SOS pleas to my former photogs. When it was
finally done, I was amazed at the response. My friends and
family were passing it around to total strangers! People were
crying and it wasnt just my daughter and husband
any more. They were touched and informed.
Then, I realized there was nothing like it on the market.
While much is written about China adoption no videos
have been produced that actually show the whole process. And
China has now become the number 1 country from which Americans
adopt. So, that became my niche.
I took my desires, abilities old and recently acquired
- and my assets (camera, computer and software) and single
handedly, with the help of a few patient friends, produced
an hour-long documentary on the process. I interspersed the
shaky video from China with re-created shots of what we packed
and our paperwork. I put props on an old navy blue evening
gown, set the camera on a tripod, picked up my crying daughter,
hit record, walked around the room for 10 seconds, hit stop,
and repeated the process.
I used my journalistic skills to write the script and research
the details. I recorded the voice overs in a closet while
my daughter napped. Still, there were more challenges. I had
to do all the on camera parts twice because of a mysterious
buzz in the first taping. But again, I was on a mission and
I couldnt explain why.
Finally, it was finished and I began taking bids on dubbing
services while changing diapers (literally). I put together
a web site, www.adoptingfromchina.com, designed by Hals
web maven, Jocelyne Rohrback. Finally, I ordered 500 copies,
crossed my fingers and posted one announcement to one Yahoo
listserv. Within the first week, half my inventory had already
sold through Amazon.com!
Now, I am embarking on the next phase of the project
heavy duty marketing to media and other online groups. My
assets and abilities from TV will undoubtedly help me with
that aspect too. The production quality is not ready for prime
time, but the people who buy the tape dont seem to care.
And, although Ive had a great time coaching former and
current broadcasters, Ive decided to put that part of
my career on hold for at least a year while I concentrate
on my daughter and the video. My training and experience as
a coach, however, was a huge asset in helping me to persist
through this production.
So Im sorry to say this will be my last regular
Big Picture column. I want to give my deepest
thanks to Hal for letting me spout off here for the past year
and to those of you whove bothered to read my musings.
If you have any questions about home video production,
adoption, coaching or just want to say hi please email
me at email@example.com.