She first insisted she was a boy at the age of 2. “I am a boy” became a constant theme in struggles over clothing, bathing, swimming, eating, playing. Eventually, a psychologist diagnosed gender identity disorder. Now Tyler’s parents allow him to live as a boy, and the 5-year-old is reveling in his new identity. I produced this video that tells their story.
I actually completed a different version of this story several weeks ago that included interview shots with Tyler’s parents and b-roll shots of the family interacting together. I was really happy with what I had put together. But at the last minute, The Post decided we should think more carefully about protecting the identity of this family. Being transgender, especially as a child, is still a really controversial issue in our society. This is evident in the back-and-forth comments we got in reaction to the story after we published it yesterday. We decided to use the name his parents would have given him if he had been born a boy, which is Tyler. And in the written story, we used the parents’ middle names. We also decided to remove any images of Tyler’s parents and sister.
As a result, this re-edit was really complicated. I always lean on interview shots and other characters’ faces to transition between scenes. There wasn’t time to go back and shoot more, so I had to utilize cutaway shots to avoid jump cuts and unsettling scene changes. Luckily I had just enough cutaways to make this work. It doesn’t flow perfectly, but I think it turned out fairly well given the limitations.
I updated my Vimeo channel with some new stuff! Check it.
This is why I love video stories. I want to go to Caine’s Arcade.
A 9-year-old boy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto part store is about to have the best day of his life.
This is fantastic. My faith in humanity is restored. — Tanya
With an unemployment rate hovering around six percent, Iowa’s economy has fared better than most states’, but the economy is still the issue that most concerns voters in the Hawkeye State. While the farming industry is booming, the manufacturing industry there has faced significant challenges as Iowa heads into the caucuses on Jan. 3. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)
Whitney Shefte is in Iowa right now to cover the first caucuses. She’ll have coverage coming from New Hampshire as well. Meanwhile, get some insight into what matters to Iowans in Whitney’s video above.
Check out the post I wrote for our PostVideo Tumblr.
When I first learned about the 59 fifth-graders from Seat Pleasant Elementary School in Seat Pleasant, Md., who in 1988, received the offer of free college tuition if they graduated from high school, the story possibilities seemed endless. How many made the most of the incredible gift they were given just for being at the right place at the right time? How many squandered it, perhaps due to the circumstances of living in a crime-ridden and poverty-stricken neighborhood? Twenty-three years later these people surely have found themselves in very different places in life from one another. But when I started making phone calls, I quickly learned that reaching these individuals and getting them to talk to me would be a formidable challenge. With only ten of these students graduating from a four-year college, many felt they had failed by not taking advantage of the offer. And who wants to tell the world about their failures? But after getting some of the “Dreamers,” as they were called in school, to talk with me, I learned that success means different things to different people. While I was unable to get most of the “Dreamers” to go on camera, I was able to find enough of them who could offer a varying picture of how life turned out for different people.
William Smith and Jeffery Norris are two of the “Dreamers” I spent the most time with. They are two men who were good friends in school and have similar stories but have ultimately found themselves along divergent paths. William dropped out of high school just four credits shy of graduating. Only several weeks later he suffered a violent attack at a nightclub that left him unable to walk again. Without a high school diploma, Smith says he makes his money as a “hustler,” selling whatever he can on the streets. In June, police found 77 grams of crack cocaine in William’s apartment. Jeffery graduated from high school but soon began a lucrative drug-dealing business. Only after he suffered a terrible car accident and barely escaped a decades-long prison sentence did Jeffery say he chose to live differently. He now plays the organ in his church choir and cuts hair for a living. He says he brings home about $50,000 a year and now owns and lives in the house his grandparents lived in when he was growing up. Neither of these men graduated from college but both say they gained a lot from being part of the “I have a dream” program.
One of the other challenges I grappled with was how to tell a story about something that happened so long ago. Talking head videos generally bore me silly and I wanted to be sure this video did not end up only as a mash-up of different interviews. I tried to track down television footage from the announcement in 1988 but failed at every attempt. Luckily The Post has a good archiving system and I was able to get hold of the photos our staff photographers made that day. I relied on general b-roll of the school and the town that I shot to fill other gaps. In some of the sidebar personality profile stories I worked on, I was able to gather b-roll of the characters living their lives now.
Ultimately this project took a significant amount of time to complete due to the challenges mentioned and the sheer number of characters we had to account for in one way or another. But it is a story that asks a lot of questions and explains a great deal about education, class, race, crime and other social issues. For those reasons, we think such in-depth reporting and production is of great value to our viewers and readers. We hope you agree.
The Washington Post’s Dan Balz examines the changing political landscape in Iowa, where GOP presidential candidates are spending less time meeting caucus voters in intimate settings and more time at debates and on social media. (Whitney Shefte and Dan Balz)
Washington Post VJ Whitney Shefte spent last week in Iowa, reporting in the state whose caucuses mark the opening of the presidential nomination process. Whitney, along with national political correspondent Dan Balz, learned that things are changing in Iowa, as they change across the country. From Dan’s story:
DES MOINES — Four years ago, Iowa was awash in presidential candidates crisscrossing the state. Campaign headquarters were packed with staffers and volunteers. The airwaves were clogged with political commercials. Excitement was palpable. Today, everything seems different.
Iowa still holds its coveted position as the state whose caucuses will mark the opening of the Republican presidential nomination process. What happens here Jan. 3 will still have a major impact on the Republican race. But at least for this presidential cycle, Iowa has lost much of the unique character that has marked previous campaigns.
This video from Iceland is totally spectacular. I’ve never had any specific interest in visiting Iceland before this, but I certainly do now. I never would have guessed how beautiful and awe-inspiring the place is. And the shooting and editing of this piece is just really terrific. Makes me want to make nature videos.
NPR did this awesome video visualizing how quickly the world’s population has grown to 7 billion people.