By Nate Hadden
When I was initially told at Youth Radio that I was going to be partnering up with someone from KQED to create a video on health care that the average young person would want to watch, and do this, by re-telling several stories that KQED had already reported, I was very skeptical about the outcome of the project. The subject of health care is so vast and vague that it’s very hard to understand and relay to someone else who’s also uninformed. Even most people who have health care don’t understand why, what, and how their health care and the current health care system works. I felt the process would be like trying to teach a blind person colors or a deaf person what sound an elephant makes. Basically, it would be a very hard thing to accomplish.
When I met Amanda Stupi from KQED, I related my concerns to her, as she did to me, and we found a middle ground. We listened to many KQED shows concerning health care and then we used the facts stated in the KQED pieces in the video. While listening to the KQED shows for information, I found that I had accidently fallen asleep a few times. Also, when I was awake, sometimes I would go into a trance where I could hear someone talking, but I wasn’t actually listening to them — it was kind of like the sound the teacher from Charlie Brown makes when she speaks in class.
At that point, I told Amanda that young people are not going to sit through this video if there’s nothing entertaining for them to watch along with the facts. So I thought to myself, what is all health care related to? Answer: people getting sick or hurt and wanting to get well. What are the most watched videos on You Tube that young people love and watch religiously? Answer: music-related videos, and clips that are funny or show people getting hurt. I told Amanda that information and eventually, we both decided the roles each of us would be responsible for to create this video. Amanda’s role was to make sure all the facts are informative and accurate and my role was to make sure the video was entertaining.
Yesterday, Nate and I continued our collaboration on a health care video. The video is a re-telling, meaning we are taking a KQED story and making it appealing to youth. I cannot stress how much fun it is to work with Nate and hear his take on KQED’s work.
We listened to a recent episode of Forum that discussed Obama’s health care speech. We both took notes on the show, rewinding when someone said a fact that we could possibly integrate into the video. As we listened, we also exchanged thoughts on the show. As someone who has produced Forum, I was curious to hear Nate’s opinions. By the end, we probably sounded a bit like Mystery Science Theatre 3000. And yes, I know I just dated myself.
Nate found Forum a bit boring and thought music would liven it up. He pulled up iTunes and played some Hint, just loud enough too add some energy. It sounded great, and livened up a fairly wonky topic. He half jokingly suggested having a live DJ spin during the show. He also said some of the guests talked too much and suggested following MTV’s model where vjs balance information with entertainment.
Well, you can imagine, my head started spinning in that oh-my-god-I-have-so many-ideas-I-don’t-know-where-to-put-them sort of way. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone re-mix episodes of Forum? Forum: Remixed, the new weekly podcast. I started wondering whether KQED’s engineers could mic a turntable and guests? What topics would warrant such a treatment? Maybe you’ll find out during the next Tales From the Edit Booth.
As part of the Digital Natives project, Youth Radio will use their own words and platforms to re-tell several stories that KQED has already reported. I’m currently working with Nate, one of Youth Radio’s video producers, and the genius behind the Now! That’s What I Call Songs About Politics video. Our goal: to create a video on health care that young people will want to watch, that will be good enough for that compliment of all compliments, to be posted on Facebook.
Working with Nate has been fun and a good lesson in finding the middle ground. We both agree on our goals but we started out with two different visions of getting there. Nate firmly believes that the video must be funny. While I don’t disagree with that, I do worry about being insensitive to a serious topic. He has convinced me that humor will hook an audience that we can then inform. At one point he turned to me and candidly asked why a young person would want to learn about health care, what would motivate them to watch a video about it. I couldn’t really provide a good answer.
My priority on the other hand was information. I want the video to convey enough information to make it worthwhile. Nate and I have set a goal of including 5 facts in the video. Not bad for a project that will only be about a minute long.
Stay tuned for more Tales From the Edit Booth.