Meeting Challenges with Improvisation

William at WAMU

By Dean’s Intern William Reid at WAMU

After a summer spent working, volunteering and riding the bus back and forth to New York to intern at Democracy Now!, it would have made sense to take a break. Instead, I casually sent in an application to intern with WAMU 88.5. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to interview and now here I am. I’ve been interning with WAMU for about a month now as their video and photo intern.

One of my first assignments was to shoot a video of famed violinist Joshua Bell while he performed at Union Station. I loaded up WAMU’s gear, and made my way there. Upon arriving, I was disappointed to find that all of the good camera set-up locations appeared to be already taken. Even worse, there was such a tremendous early crowd, that it seemed as though there would be no way for me to get the footage I needed. Without hesitation, I began looking for a solution.

I went up to a second floor balcony, to find crowds obstructing my view. I went around behind the make-shift stage, to find a gate blocking my way. After trying a number of options, I did the last thing I could – try to get as close as possible and hope for the best. I politely pushed through the crowds until I found a giant planter. Carefully, I began preparing to stand on the planter to get the shot I needed. Seeing my determination, people in the crowd began making space for me to get through and I took advantage of their goodwill. Eventually I made it right up to the stage where a security guard invited me past the roped off areas. Somehow, I managed to shoot my footage from on the stage – making me one of the closest videographers at the event.

At WAMU I’ve been given opportunities to challenge and test my abilities to improvise within the context of an assigned task with time limitations. It’s different to work on a photography or video assignment when the product is something that you are making for someone else – instead of something that is purely a labor of passion.