This week was another busy one at the Moth with not only the regular StorySLAM but the latest GrandSLAM, held at the Highline Ballroom over in Chelsea. This event is the next level of the SLAM competitions where the previous ten winners battle it out story-style to be crowned GrandSLAM champion. Positioned on the Moth Media team, this was my first experience of judging at an event. Usually at the SLAMs, volunteer judging teams are found from the audience and rate each story with score cards in order to choose the night’s winner. At the GrandSLAM however, the competition is fierce, the standard is invariably high, and every score has the potential to change the final result. For this reason, five teams rather than the usual three are therefore put in place, and are made from the members of Moth office rather than the general audience. I have to say, judging these stories proved to be one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do – they were all so unique, so well told, and just ridiculously hard to give a mere score out of ten.
Not only was I subjected to the task of judging at the GrandSLAM, due to a last-minute change I found myself judging AGAIN at the StorySLAM on Thursday (the theme was ‘Nerve’) with Polly and previous Media Intern Caitlin, under the highly imaginative team name ‘The Dark Knights’… It was a strange realisation that the ‘Nerve’ StorySLAM would be my last inHousing Works during my time here. Being the place where I saw my first SLAM, the venue has remained my favourite, from the warm atmosphere, great set-up and generally welcoming coziness of the bookstore. I certainly aim to return to enjoy more Moth there in the future. At this night, I also had the chance to interview Jenifer, Senior Producer at the Moth, who has been working on coordinating the StorySLAMs for many years. I was eager to speak to her about what the StorySLAMs mean to both the audience and the storytellers and why they are so unique as an event. Despite some competition from a noisy aircon and the challenge of having a limited amount of time in which to film, the interview was a success and the majority of it will feature on the final cut of my video project.
This week I have been continuing to work on my project, which is proving tricky due to other video-editing that needs to be completed to deadline, for example the weekly Youtube videos, as well as other general office tasks that tend to keep me busy and make the hours in the day fly by far too quickly. I feel that this week, however, I have become pretty much fully acquainted with roaming the Moth’s archives in my search for media to use in my project, exploring the many different external drives as well as trawling the Itunes library of thousands of hours of stories. Along with getting Jenifer’s interview ready for the video, I’ve also been editing together my b-rolled SLAM interviews to make into good-sized soundbites to fit right into the video when the time is right. I’ve learned a lot about capture this week and it’s fair to say that once you’ve messed up the levels for a recording that can’t be repeated, it’s certainly an inventive to make sure absolutely everything goes according to plan next time. Just a simple adjustment to the equipment that takes seconds can spare hours of editing time in a studio. For example, just reducing the background drone of a fan or aircon can make a one hour edit take two hours. Forgetting to double-check levels is a mistake I won’t make again in a hurry. Despite this, learning how to fix things is valuable too, and although I have used Audacity to edit audio in the past, that feeling of really getting to know a software so that you’re fluent with it and can begin to achieve a lot of work in a short space of time is an incredibly satisfying one.