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How to find video stories in the classifieds

Ever read any of the "Missed Connections" ads on Craigslist or in the back pages of your favourite alternative weekly? You know the ones that go something like:

"Me: 30-something poet with pony tail and messenger bag. You: Flustered blonde with polka-dot boots and a 30 gig Video iPod. We never talked, but our eyes met briefly on the 86-B at 9:30 pm Tuesday night when you dropped your copy of Jane Eyre…" etc.

Reading the ads can be a kind of guilty pleasure, a form of social voyeurism in which nobody gets hurt or too creeped out. But do you ever wonder who these people are?
Katy Newton did and then she did something about it – a weekly video feature for a cool new multi-media site on the Los Angeles Times site: ICU
It’s a crapshoot of course – a good number of the sad souls taking out "Missed Connections" ads may very well be people you really just don’t need to know about. But Newton doesn’t show us the failures, only people who are entertaining, touching, even funny. Check out "Hot Guy I Hit With My Car", sample line: "He was all rugged and … hot. The last time I hit a guy with my car he wasn’t very hot."
The point is these are simple human stories that translate very well to video. They’re on scene interviews whose story shape emerges in the editing, which is not always true of news coverage. This means however that there’s a little less pressure to find a fabulous interview or compelling story — they clean up nicely in the editing suite. Take a look, let me know what you think. (Thanks to LA blogger, Tony Pierce, for pointing out the ICU site)
Bill

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