The power of interviewing

It’s stronger than you’d think

Considering within the last week that I’ve been more active on my YouTube page than I have in months, i’m going to keep this blog pretty short.

Last week in my journalism class we talked to novelist and columnist for New York Times Magazine, Nathaniel Rich. We were trying to talk to him about interviewing and what his processes are for going about it.

He admitted to being a pretty shy guy and that interviewing is still not really his strong suit. I’m all for this because some people are so uncomfortable with talking to others, they lose information and social interaction.

Believe me, I love putting in headphones and walking through life without a care about anything except what you’re doing in that moment. It’s peaceful. But social interaction is unmatched, especially if you get a solid story out of it.

It takes strong abilities and some work to get good at interviewing. But, interviewing shouldn’t be as daunting of a word that people make it out to be. It should be just a very informative conversation.

There were still certain techniques that Rich uses to get the quotes and stories he needs to craft his works, despite being this shy guy.

He said that there should be a script of questions that you must prepare before the interview. Without questions, there is no interview. In conducting the interview, one must focus on the things you want to get, but have an open mind. Sometimes, you get things you didn’t even know you wanted by just peeling the onion and not sticking to that script you prepared.

At the end of the day, you and the person you’re interviewing are just human. Everybody’s got layers to peel and the questions you initially write down might not be the most suitable questions to ask by the time you sit down. So, you have to feel out the situation and relax. Know when and where to ask the cutthroat questions and when to ask the basics.

Regardless of what questions you ask, surprise is the key element to any story. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, the surprise is what’s going to make a piece hard-hitting. It’s what makes the reader stop and say “I didn’t know that.” Plus, by the end of their reading of your story, they get to hold onto a memorable piece of writing.

Rich also covered pressing questions specifically. He talked about the information that’s necessary.

As a writer or journalist, there are circumstances where certain information is vital to keep a story alive. Annoyance with a source can bring out different answers out of people. That’s why it’s important to know that every interview is really at least two interviews and maybe even more.

When accuracy checking your quotes, you should always call your source back if you’re unsure about something they said or you need further explanation for context. If you ask the source specifically the same question or you press them about the matter, they may give you an even better answer than before.

Despite having pressing tactics, the goal for a source/writer relationship is just like any other relationship in life. It’s important to have a good and healthy relationship that can thrive, not to be remembered as that annoying journalist. So, proceed with caution with how you represent yourself during interviews.

To conclude, I must say that despite all the intricacies and non-intricacies of interviewing, the most important thing is to never falter from being the author. It’s your story and you’re getting the supportive benefit from others to make your story legitimate.

You mustn’t get to flustered with the workload and the distractions that constantly try to rip your story and sanity to shreds. Attention to the beauty of words and sentences mustn’t get swallowed by work.

You’re a writer. Write the story the way you know how. Now go get ’em.

~DS

Kingdom Hearts 3- Big Hero 6 Full Trailer Breakdown!

After a tiring day full of Kingdom Hearts 3 news, I’ve finished my breakdown of the brand new, “Big Hero 6” trailer from Tokyo Game Show 2018!

There’s so much information to talk about. Including: the trailer, Norted theories and the beautiful Box Art for KH3! I hope you guys enjoy!

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL

Kingdom Hearts 3- TGS 2018 Big Hero 6 Full Trailer Reaction!

I told you I’ll be back to do this! I’ll have a breakdown of the trailer later, but please enjoy my reaction from very early this morning to this brand new Kingdom Hearts III trailer!

Description:

I’M IN TEARS. THANK YOU SQUARE FOR THIS AMAZING TRAILER! There’s so much to work with here and my breakdown will be out soon!

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL

Just a quick update on sourcing and whatever else I’m about to write beneath this headline

There’s a decent anecdote about sourcing hidden in this

The Bears are on Monday Night Football right now. If you’re reading this blog and you’re wondering where my mind is at right now, it’s basically at Soldier Field in Chicago.

After the devastation of a loss last week, the Bears could use this win. Chicago could use this win. I could use this win.

I’ve already got a win from earlier today when the Patriots traded a fifth round pick to the Browns for a very talented receiver in Josh Gordon.

I’m also winning because there’s going to be a new Kingdom Hearts III between now and like, 10 AM tomorrow.

Why the uncertain times? Because Square Enix and Disney just like to mess with everyone.

They just said “tomorrow.” “Tomorrow” is today in Japan. Japan is where the big gaming conference, the Tokyo Game Show, is happening. So, I think they’re going off of Japan time. If they are, I will get very little sleep.

I’ll be damned if I miss the premiere of a new trailer, even it’s at 4AM CST (8PM Japan time).

Regardless, this is how everyone who follows the Kingdom Hearts series feels:

It’s also the 16th Anniversary of the Kingdom Hearts series today! On this day in 2002, my life and the lives of many other nerds were changed.

So, that’s pretty cool.

If you’re still reading, I still really haven’t found a subject to focus this blog on.

Maybe sourcing?

Sure, let’s go with that.

Because I want to make this blog as journalistically significant as I can, I’ll talk to you briefly about sourcing now.

Sourcing is very important for a quality, journalistic piece. Considering what’s going on at the New York Times right now and all that’s going on with Bob Woodward and Washington right now, you’re probably thinking, “How can these works be quality if they use anonymous sourcing?”

They can be with trust. Bob Woodward is a very trustworthy writer due to his past works involving Watergate. The op-ed piece is different because it supposedly came from the White House.

I’m not a politics guy. I do know that the anonymity of that piece is important because there’s more information to come.

If a source fears that their jobs, positions or their life may be harmed in the result of their information being released, anonymous sourcing is completely ok. This anonymous piece gives the author room to continue their work and reveal more about what’s going on in there.

Sources are the cornerstone of journalism regardless. The journalist exists to be the medium between the masses and the source. Journalists are the story tellers and the sources are the stories waiting to happen.

Get what I’m saying? Like,  the Kingdom Hearts Twitter account didn’t tweet that tweet up there just so I could write a half-assed blog about it. I operate around the tweet as a story-teller and include it in my content so that the tweet itself reaches my audiences.

Sources can be easy or hard to find. Just make sure to be nice to people so that you always are on a good enough ground to call someone when you know that they can be a help to you.

It’s all about who you know; in all aspects of life.

Keep your sources close.

Yeah.

Go Bears.

I’ll see you at 4AM or whenever the new Kingdom Hearts trailer drops.

~DS

Why Social Media is cool

A brief write-up on the significances and the insignificances of social media

As I said in my last blog, I have been doing little besides swinging through virtual New York City in Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4.

Legit, it’s the greatest game I’ve played this year. Above Fortnite. Granted, Fortnite is a massive game and is still the most popular game in the world. Therefore, it takes one helluva game to overtake its popularity.

Marvel’s Spider-Man has done that folks. It’s Amazing. Some would even say that it’s Spectacular. Others might even say that it’s Ultimate. (These are all different comic book iterations of Spider-Man and now I feel like it’s a wasted reference because I had to explain it.)

Anyway, this blog isn’t about gaming. Ok, there’s going to be some gaming mentioned. It’s hard to not to. Because today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking to you about social media.

Social media has made the world a smaller place due to the simplicity of connecting people from all over the world onto one social hub. Within the last week, my social media accounts were peer reviewed for their professionalism and content.

I was graded well because I limit my social media posts. As a journalist, I need to stay in the middle on most things. Except, I can’t be in the middle about my video game habits nor about baseball and football. Knowing this, though, gives me an advantage.

If you followed me on Twitter, you’re going to see daily motivational posts, retweets and actual tweets related to gaming (mostly Kingdom Hearts) and then of course, ALL BOSTON RED SOX. Pretty soon, it’ll be all New England Patriots but baseball season is still in full swing.

Now, as an objective journalist, is it bad that I tweet and retweet so much about the Red Sox? Unless I had to work for the New York Yankees or interview a Yankees fan, no. I’m not currently tied to any organization that prevents me from doing so. As a matter of fact, I worked for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox, this past summer. Some would say I’m just supporting my co-workers!

But really. Being in Columbia, Mo., there’s really not a big deal in tweeting so much about the Red Sox.

This is part of the reason why social media is so cool though.

I find myself being a fan of the Boston Red Sox but along with many others. You don’t have to be at the ballpark or near Boston to follow the team or the league. Other people can do that for you.

The best example is Barstool Sports reporter Jared Carrabis who consistently posts Red Sox game updates and also the best way to post Yankees losses.

Every single time the Yankees have lost this season, the Saugus Rocket has posted this video of Red Sox legend David Ortiz exclaiming “DAAAAA JANKEES LOSEEE!”

People are now even getting really creative with it:

Twitter is just so great. Reporting and connecting has never been easier for sports reporters.

You’ve got threads like these where hundreds of sportswriters who’ve made their mark in the BIZ giving out advice to up-and-comers like myself.

Sportswriting has thrived in the age of social media. Athletes use it as a medium to get the word out and whether you’re a team’s beat reporter or just a fan, you know exactly what the athlete says and what the athlete is doing.

You have highs of athletes and you have the lows:

For Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, his lows came as like an eighth grader. But that’s why Twitter is so cool. You can just get anything from an athlete if they’re willing to share.

(I’m never going to talk about the Bears/Packers game from last night because it just hurt so much.)

Twitter’s made sportswriting a lot more accessible. Hell, it’s made all writing and reporting more accessible. That’s how most young people really find their news nowadays.

Anything from sports updates to journalists literally reporting the active shooting in their own newsroom. Journalists, just like everyone else, have means to connect and report to everyone on Twitter.

It’s just so good to have. It’s good to be aware. It’s good to know that big news can come at literally any time:

Like Kingdom Hearts III randomly having a random teaser trailer drop and a VR extension announcement at 4 AM. The connection and the reporting will never cease on Twitter and that’s why it’s great.

There’s also going to be a full-length, new Kingdom Hearts III trailer a week from today according to this tweet:

So, I’ll have to do a video breakdown for my YouTube channel for that trailer then. I can’t do today’s. There’s just so little time and it’s a teaser trailer. There will be more and I’ll cover it when there’s more to go off of, rather than just speculate.

YouTube is a good place for video game and movie trailers, music videos, TV shows, etc. to all show news. An underrated social media site for reporting if I’m being honest. But that can improve!

Facebook has turned into a pit for political speech and pictures of peoples’ babies. It’s not quite Twitter at all. It’s not as entertaining. The only reason I have it is to stay connected with my extended family and friends that I haven’t seen in a hot minute.

Plus, Facebook is dominated by mostly people around my parents’ age, reconnecting after years. For that reason, it’s very good. I like to keep my reporting off of there. It’s really just there to be like a “bubblegum Baseball card” for me. That’s it.

Facebook is a great place to share your works though. Considering a lot of your family members and friends are on there, you can get some traction on a web story.

Instagram is kinda the same way for me. It’s on private. I only post photos when I see something awesome or my friends and siblings have birthdays. That’s it. No need for my reporting there. However, it’s a great place for photojournalists to thrive.

That’s really about it for me.

Social media is really cool. It’s just such a great thing for journalism. As long as you’ve got a clean profile, it’s your medium to do as you please. Post Away!

I leave you with a post from Star Wars Prequel Memes, the funniest account on Social Media:

~DS

 

Nostalgia Sells

How supportive and manipulative nostalgia can be in all walks of life

In my previous blog, I mentioned how excited I am for the releases for several video games and movies. One of those titles is getting released at the end of this week.

That title being Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4.

Image result for marvel's spider man

This game is heavily anticipated by gamers and comic book readers of all ages. Me being part of that category, I have to take a step back and realize why I’m so excited.

I am a huge Marvel and Spider-Man fan. I’m also a huge gamer. But deep down, there’s another reason why I’m excited for this game.

On the original PlayStation 2, there were a few Spider-Man video games that had a punishing grip of my attention. Those games being the adaptations of Sam Raimi’s films Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. There was also Spider-Man on the PS1 that I played using my PS2 console. (Oh, backwards compatibility, you are sorely missed.)

Basically, I never finished those three Spider-Man games. I was between the ages of 5 or 6 at the time and I was still quite new to gaming. But also because these games were really hard anyway.

I remember specifically in the PS2 Spider-Man, there was this warehouse segment very early in the game. You, playing as a Peter Parker that just received his powers and not yet a cool superhero suit, have to navigate through hordes of armed thugs to escape the warehouse.

Watching this very slow, mechanized gameplay makes me feel nostalgic. I remember every single inch of that warehouse area. I remember the narrator’s voice and Tobey Maguire’s actual voicing of Spider-Man in the game.

What I don’t remember, however, is how easy this area was. Like I said, this part of the game was very early into it. By now, I’ve grown very experienced in video game playing.

I’d probably beat this entire game in a couple of hours if I played it today. Why does that make Spider-Man PS4 more appealing?

Because it’s finally a Spider-Man game I can fluidly play and have fun with. The way this new game is being hyped up, it’s supposed to rival the Batman: Arkham games as the greatest superhero video game ever.

With the incredibly high expectations set and my excitement through the roof, it’s time to analyze the deceiving role nostalgia can play in life.

Nostalgia can be your friend but it can also be your enemy. Nostalgia makes us feel young again and it can instill memories in us that we’d either forgotten or haven’t remembered in a long time.

Nostalgia is sometimes a sad feeling though. It’s a want for the present to be exactly like the past.

In life, the past tends to repeat itself a lot. However, in the repetition of the past, you become more and more numb to the root feeling of the memory. Thus creating an irreplicable standard for fun or happy memories.

Whether that be in video game playing, movie watching, article writing or picture taking, nostalgia can harm our greatest memories.

But it is nostalgia that sells. Nostalgia is an exploitable feeling.

If one can make people feel like they’ve been there before or generate a nostalgic feeling in people, they will go to lengths to feel that.

People will pay ridiculous amounts of money or do ridiculous things just to get that feeling they’ve had before.

It’s nearly toxic because, sometimes, that same-old feeling simply can’t be recreated. People just don’t realize that before it’s too late.

How do I make this journalism related? Well, here we go:

As a sportswriter, I’ve found quite a few issues I have with sportswriting itself that has kind of hindered my love for sportswriting itself.

Despite loving to write and sports separately, the world of sportswriting falls to one’s nostalgia frequently.

Opinion bleeds into fact and all of a sudden, we’re constantly bombarded with vicious “LeBron vs Michael” debates or “Brady vs Manning” arguments every day. Everybody in sports is eager to crown the next GOAT or so bitter in granting the GOAT title to anyone else because they’re holding onto the past.

But, people still tune into these shows every day. People still read these conflict-driven articles each day. As long as nostalgia or lack-thereof is involved, people will still buy into the conflict.

This is where nostalgia can be harsh. Some people are so conflict oriented that they forget the past completely and try to argue for the next great but some people are so tied to the past, they refuse to hear or see anything new.

The past sets the groundwork for lessons. It teaches us what’s right and what’s wrong. When we learn about nostalgia, we can learn what’s lasting and what’s lacking.

If there’s something that consistently makes you feel like a kid again, you should continue to do it. However, if somebody disagrees with your nostalgia or doesn’t understand, don’t rip them for their misunderstanding.

Nostalgia varies from person-to-person. If a person wants to forget the past or if they’re disappointed by the lack of enjoyment from nostalgia, that’s fine. Everybody grows away from something eventually.

I just hope for my own sake that Marvel’s Spider-Man instills good and happy memories alongside the destruction of nostalgia. I want to have fun swinging around New York and not have to remember virtual Tobey Maguire getting gunned down over and over in a warehouse.

What I can’t be too certain about other titles coming.

Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy isn’t even a brand new adventure at all. It’s a remastered version of the original three Spyro the Dragon video games that were originally released on PS1.

Image result for spyro reignited vs original

Will my experience suffer from nostalgia? Who knows. I’ll find out on November 16 when that gets released. Does Toys for Bob, the company who created the remaster, care if my experience is the same or different? Probably not. They’ve already got my money because I was sold on pure nostalgia.

I want to enjoy every minute of Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy. One thing it can’t do is make me 5-years-old again. I’ll just have to roll with the punches and go in with an open mind.

I didn’t want to write another video game-centric blog, but it just made sense to me. Video games do make me feel nostalgic. It’s easier to talk about in that sense.

It can be music, food, smells, etc.

Just keep an open mind about everything until you experience it. My views on Spider-Man, Spyro, journalism and photography aren’t ruined by nostalgia. There’s just an avenue for negativity with everything.

I just want my nostalgic feelings to be present when they can be but absent when I have a new experience to try. It’s easier that way.

You can find me locked away in my room come Friday. I’ll be swinging through virtual New York.Image result for marvel's spider-man

~DS

Anecdoting

Writing for the sake of writing just to get back into a blogging habit

Hey there. I haven’t blogged in a while, which clearly means I haven’t vlogged on YouTube in a while because I post here every single time I make a video.

Which sort of stinks because I like doing YouTube videos, however, this semester and this year overall is about to be my hardest year of college yet. Being that it’s my last, it adds a sort of pressure to give up a lot of my free time to succeed.

I’m not a shut-in kind of guy. But I am the type of guy who’s not concerned with getting shitfaced every night of the week just because I’m 21 now. I’ve noticed this since I’ve been back to school.

My friends and I are all seniors and we’re all 21 now. Which means, everybody all of a sudden wants to do stuff and most of the time “stuff” involves alcohol. I like doing stuff, but I feel like I’ve never been this jammed in social traffic.

It’s nice to not be jammed in social traffic. It’s nice to steal away minutes and hours to just sit at my computer and either read or write. Regardless of wanting to go out or wanting to stay inside at my computer working, it seems I’ll need to spend more of my time at my computer reading or writing for school anyway.

I know the task at hand for me at the moment is to graduate on time. To graduate on time, I need to do anything and everything that’s required of me to succeed in all of my classes. Therefore, the keyboard is my friend more than my camera.

Unfortunately now, I have to be much more active on this blog writing and not vlogging or even podcasting. I just need to have my personal priorities straight.

It really is a bummer for me though because, this year is also one of the biggest years in gaming and film. There’re so many titles coming out that I’m beyond excited for.

For films, there’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Captain Marvel and Avengers 4.

This point stinks because podcasting for The Creatively Challenged Podcast has hit a standstill as it is. But the work that this year requires of me disallows a weekly film review podcast.

For gaming, it’s Marvel’s Spider-ManRed Dead Redemption II, Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy, Fortnite Seasons 6 & 7 all on PS4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate along with Mario Party Switch all on Nintendo Switch.

No, I didn’t forget to mention Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts III is my most anticipated video game ever. I’ve been waiting for this game to come out for such a long time. It’s been 5 years in development time since Square Enix and Disney first announced the game. But it’s also been 12 years since the last numbered Kingdom Hearts title, the glorious Kingdom Hearts II.

So, naturally:

MRW I did my waiting. Twelve years of it, in Azkaban.

I’ve literally never anticipated or waited for something for so long. Almost 2/3 of my life so far has come waiting for this game and it comes out on 1/29/19.

How will I keep my focus when that comes out? I have no idea. That’s a then problem. My now problem is that I’ll be swamped with work and the whole reason I started my YouTube page was to talk about gaming.

When my most anticipated game ever alongside other great titles are releasing and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to vlog about them, that bums me out.

I don’t want to make it seem like this blog post is all about me being bummed out, because it’s not.

I’m really excited to get this challenge started. I want to push myself to the limit because I know that the workload for the classroom this year will require that of me.

I apologize for the lack of content on my other channels and mediums. I hope everyone understands the reason behind my sporadic availability on those channels and mediums.

Now, I’ll end this blog with a small anecdote within this anecdote. I’ll call it Anecdoteception.

Anyway, there was this guy walking by me on the street the other night wearing Chunk’s shirt from The Goonies. It was literally Chunk’s shirt, same design and everything. I would not be unsure about something like this.

Image result for chunk the goonies

Naturally, I yell at this guy “DO THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE!” I did not find this inappropriate at all. You can’t just go out in that shirt and not expect anyone to say that.

The Goonies Truffle Shuffle GIF

The guy just looked at me funny and kept walking. I forgot to mention also that I was standing in the line to get into a bar, at night. Columbia, Mo.’s finest typically posts-up outside the bars on Saturday nights like these.

An officer glared at me, after I yelled this and I felt a little scared. That officer and her partner began kind of walking around the entrance of the bar I was going into.

This completely threw off my night. Any want to go have fun and drink with my friends at the bar was gone because of the cops looking at me funny for referencing an ’80s film.

Could you imagine if life was like this though? I’m pissed that it threw off my night because there was literally nothing they could’ve done. You can’t get arrested or ticketed for quoting ’80s films.

“We’ve got this guy on quoting St. Elmo’s Fire, that’s 6-8 years in prison.”

Well, I think that’s a good place to wrap up. If you take anything away from this blog it’s this: if you go out wearing Chunk’s shirt from The Goonies, it’s socially acceptable to have a certain phrase yelled at you.

Welcome back to Average Yet Amazing Adventures, the blog.

~DS