August 8, 2008

Carr-ving my way at Salon

David Carr is a writer and video blogger for the New York Times. He's also an author -- and a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. That last bit is why I met him.

Mr. Carr -- as one would refer to him on second reference in a New York Times article -- is quite the character. His phlegmy laugh, wide smile and are more than a little inviting on camera. And that's where I found him -- trained in my lens.

I shot this piece and edited part of it. And again, it was a pleasure to work with Salon's Andrew O'Hehir. I don't like some of the clips that were included here, partially because I was trying to refocus my shots during some of them, but that's what was put in. The b-roll was very limited because the review was of a book and we usually have film clips to cover the change in camera shots, due to one-camera shooting. But I'm happy with what we got together.

As for David Carr, I was more than a little excited to meet him. He spoke at NYU's welcome reception back in September 2007, and I was delighted by his honesty about the journalism profession. And it wasn't the gloom and doom bit that is so tired, which is so often spouted by journalism lecturers. He made journalism seem like an adventure again.

Since then, I've followed David Carr from the streets of New York with The Carpetbagger to Sundance to his most recent destination: his past. A few Sundays ago, I read an excerpt from his book in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about his history.

I was stunned.

The drama hooked me. He was an addict?! He was an alcoholic?

And then my editor told me I would be filming an interview discussing his book.

I was starstruck when I found him in my glassy Panasonic eye -- and so, so happy that my trusty tripod was there to avoid the embarrassment of my shaking limbs.

He was just as I suspected. Laid back, but right on top of every question. His unassuming, chill air is an impressive facade -- one that most journalists would kill for. But I knew when to pull back the zoom and when to go in for a close-up. His pauses and mannerisms to the Carpetbagger-trained eye let me know what was going on with his responses.

My video doesn't show everything -- some of my favorite parts didn't make it in -- so listen to the podcast (and subscribe on iTunes to us--Salon Conversations).

Carr really interviews well for a journalist. I've read that journalists aren't usually good interviews, but his was pretty stellar. He seems so comfortable in his skin, particularly when talking about his screw-ups. His self-critiques aren't easy, but they're fair. The interview makes you trust him and his viewpoint, while at the same time, ironically reminding you of what he's done and how far he's come. I caught myself wondering a couple of times, am I being naive? Should I trust this narrator?

I can't help it, but I think I do.

Oh yeah, and if you listen to the podcast, do you recognize a familiar voice -- yeah, that's me, "The Voice of Grapenuts". Ha. I get a good laugh out of that, but it's pretty cool.

Now I know how those women feel in the Sears catalogs when they look for bras.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at August 8, 2008 9:14 AM | TrackBack
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