Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Community Relations

U.S. Navy photo by MCSA Alexander Ventura.

For about the past month, I've been spending my Saturdays at comrels, or community relation events.  Every weekend, groups of motivated Sailors volunteer their time to serve the community's needs.  

This is kind of my thing.  

I really like seeing positive interaction between military and civilian groups.  I think it's important for many reasons, and it feels good to volunteer.

In the above photo, I'm interviewing a Kitsap Humane Society staff member about what it means to have the Navy out there working.  I've found that my subjects glance over at the camera lens much less if I position it further away and zoom in.  The shot is framed just above the waist, keeping the wireless microphone out of the shot.  (that little black box on her pocket)  Usually I have the person attach the mic so their shirt covers it, but I was hurrying to beat the rain. 

There is one powerful question I always ask my interviewees.  The instructors at DINFOS taught it to us.  It results in more great quotes than any other question.

"Is there anything else you'd like to add?"

It's the same almost every time.  They'll say "No, just that....[begin great quote]"

U.S. Navy photo by MCSA Alexander Ventura.

To break the ice, I ask the group if they can critique my American Idol audition song, You Light Up My Life.  No, not really...

I want the people I'm going to be shooting to know why I'm there.  I believe it shows respect that I don't just show up and tape them without ever bothering to say why.  Also, word of Drydock is spreading.  When I say their comrel will be in an upcoming episode, they warm right up.

At this particular volunteer event, Nimitz Sailors organized cages, cleaned, and built outdoor dog shelters.  These were projects that had been on hold for months.

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