Everyone will tell you that they have a favourite part of their job, and while paperwork isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, for me the best part of being a producer is having the ability and the freedom, to bounce between interviews and stories across a whole range of platforms.
At MiNDFOOD that means creating content for our magazine, website and radio program. As story ideas inundate my phone and email inbox, it’s up to me to decide how to best present them to our audiences. Knowing whether an event, personality or project will work best online, in print or broadcast has become something of a juggling art form. Sometimes, the smallest of ideas can give way to a whole multitude of story possibilities, but keeping track of them all can get tricky.
Luckily, I am a big believer in writing things down. I have been known to use a Post-it® Note or two, or six, to pick up and either pass-on to my colleagues, editor or grab on the way in to last-minute brainstorming meetings that may arise. (I may also have a slight Post-it® Note hoarding problem… I like to have one of every colour within my reach, but that’s another blog entirely).
Scheduling the weekly MiNDFOOD radio program, depending on how many amazing interviews we have waiting in the wings, begins with a long list which includes: booking the studio, confirming the recording times with our hosts – editor-in-chief Michael as well as co-host Ben Starr – and beginning the list of potential interviews that have I have been compiling over the last few weeks.
Having my trusty, very stylish, Pop-Up® Note Dispenser on hand means I can remind myself of important things, like the time difference for the interviewees! This week’s program included a discussion with an author based in the UK that had to be coordinated at a reasonable time; anything after 9am would have meant an interview in the early hours of dawn for him. Having my notes handy also means I can take them across from my little book of brainstorming ideas to my recording running sheet pictured below.
While Post-it® Note Filing Tabs aren’t designed specifically for this, I love the fact that I can place interviews into time slots and move them around as I go (fitting 16 – 20 people for 10-15 minutes recordings across a 4-hour schedule can get tricky!) Writing the interview names onto tabs saves me printing and re-printing the schedule hundreds of times. If I do have to swap a few slots around, all I have to do is peel off and stick them down again – they’re super sticky so I can do this multiple times and know they wont fall off the page.
Community – for me – is the heart and soul of MiNDFOOD. It’s the untold stories of our unsung heroes.The Smart Thinking Community pages can take up anywhere between two to five pages of the magazine, depending on the space allocated on our flat plans. The contents of these can also vary from country to country, hence why we print off different flat plans to keep track of all the pages. I keep all my ideas, interviews and even sometimes images – (I’m a visual kind of gal) in a manila folder. I empty out the used stories and keep the ones that have yet to run, using my Post-it® Note Filing Tabs, meaning I can refer to the story idea I am looking for straight away and avoid hours of rummaging.
I also prepare a little visual mock-up of the pages as they will appear in the magazine. It’s not just a matter of having the stories written up, but I also have to understand how they will sit on the page and flow so that the whole experience can be enjoyable and not tedious or disjointed for the reader.
The Post-it® Note Filing Tabs also come in handy here, where they are taken from the manila folder to the page-mock up. The best part it is that they are conveniently transparent, meaning I can read my writing underneath, and move around until I am happy with the overall presentation. It’s also a great way for my editor and the art director to see what I have envisioned and am trying to achieve this month.
Once the mock-up is done, I can begin writing the copy; knowing where each story sits helps me to understand roughly how much copy to create and help the art team search for the appropriate images.