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BY BRETT PRETTYMAN
For more than two decades I’ve watched my OWAA colleagues in the television world produce amazing work.
I’ve done many similar pieces in print for the Salt Lake Tribune or for freelance assignments, but I have always found myself a little jealous about the ability of video to connect with people in ways print cannot.
As it turns out, watching my friends for all those years helped prepare me for an eventual debut in front of the camera.
The newspaper world, as everyone knows, changed dramatically with the birth of the Internet. I soon realized it was my chance to add video to my outdoors coverage for the Tribune.
I was as green as they come on camera, but my experience in Utah, the West and the country — thanks to OWAA conferences — helped when I pushed record.
Confidence gained from years of forming relationships with sources gave me the courage to lead my newspaper into the video world.
A partnership between my newspaper and the state wildlife agency led to more than 40 wildlife-related videos the paper and agencies posted to their Youtube channels.
The agency wanted video coverage of their efforts posted on their own site and needed someone to help nervous wildlife biologists through complex interviews.
I was looking to make myself more valuable in the ever-changing world of newspapers by adding video to my resume, and I knew the Tribune did not have the resources to do the quality of production viewers expect these days.
The videos were spotted by the director of production for the Salt Lake City affiliate of the PBS.
A partnership between the Tribune and KUED-Channel 7 allowed me to produce stories for the paper while shooting “The Utah Bucket List.” The stories, photo galleries and short videos produced by KUED did well on the Tribune’s website, and the hour-long program was shown during the KUED pledge drive in 2013.
I was excited to enter the EIC television category for the first time in 2014 and thrilled to take second place in the outdoor fun and adventure category. My placing was the first time the Tribune has ever won a national award for television and my editors were ecstatic.
I was more content to poke fun at Kris Millgate for letting a newspaper guy beat her at TV and start talking trash with Lisa Ballard about taking the No. 1 spot from her next year.
Millgate and Ballard, being great sports and good friends, offered some advice after they watched my show. I have high hopes that applying their tips to recording “The Utah Bucket List 2” will carry my 2015 entry to the top at OWAA’s conference in Knoxville, Tennessee in June.
How to put paper on video
- Do your homework. Know the topic and share that knowledge not only with the viewers, but with the people being interviewed. Don’t, however, pretend to be an expert.
- Millgate suggested I talk to myself. I was reluctant to appear as loony as she does sometimes, but her on-camera presence is so strong I had to at least try. It worked.
- Have fun and be yourself. Viewers can tell when you are putting on a fake identity. ♦
—Brett Prettyman has been a member of OWAA since 1992 and an outdoor writer at the Salt Lake Tribune since 1990. He is currently serving as the second vice president of OWAA and busy planning the 2015 OWAA annual conference June 26-28 in Knoxville.