It is not everyday I go to work and end up in a bowling alley. I have to admit it did happen once or twice when I worked in Flint, Michigan right out of college but definitely not much in the last twenty years. Last week, not only was I hanging out at Lucky Strike Lanes in Washington, DC, I was doing it with pop singing star Joe Jonas, one third of the Jonas Brothers.
USA TODAY reporter Carly Mallenbaum and myself were there to do an interview with Joe Jonas who was promoting his debut solo album FastLife while he was on the road performing shows around the country.
It turns out that Jonas actually likes to bowl and the minds behind the promotion tour and the USA TODAY Life section thought it would be fun to do the interview at a bowling alley a few hours before a solo show in Maryland. The plan was that Joe would give some bowling tips to the reporter while also doing the interview for USA TODAY print and online.
Me, I was there to shoot video and stills for the story.
Things have changed big time since I started in this business. Five years ago, if you would have told me I was going to be shooting video of a reporter/first person type thing with a celebrity, I would have laughed it off as a joke. Sure, you see segments like this all the time on Entertainment Tonight and David Letterman but no way this is a real journalistic approach that would show up in USA TODAY.
Things definitely have changed in the world of journalism in a very short time. Sure, Joe Jonas likes to bowl but he definitely was there at Lucky Strike Lanes bowling for us. This wasn’t a night out with his friends or brothers. This was set up as an interview with a twist. Joe Jonas bowled about four or five times along with offering some funny bowling tips and suggestions for the bowling novice USA TODAY reporter. Finally, he answered few questions on camera and then it was time for lunch. We did squeeze in a few minutes to have a few portraits made and then Joe was off to the show.
Pretty painless and the whole process didn’t take much more than an hour total. A portrait shoot without a lot of time making portraits with most of the time was gobbled up shooting interview and “B” roll video.
Doing more and more of these types of videos for the paper, I guess I equate something like this as being more of a video portrait. Ethically, some would argue that it is not truthful and looks like I just happened to be around when Joe Jonas showed up at the Lucky Strike Lanes to bowl. By having the reporter explain exactly what is going on at the start of the video, I hope that viewers will know this situation is more promotion and set up than is hands off journalism.
The lines keep getting blurrier and blurrier these days.
Joe Jonas couldn’t have been more pleasant. Me just wondering, I asked Joe how he felt about promoting and if doing this bowling interview request was any different than doing a normal interview and he said he thought it was great and he was having fun. At one point, I was standing in the lane as he was about to bowl and instead of going all Hollywood on me, Mr. Jonas simply asked, “Excuse me sir.” Turns out that not all celebrities have attitudes and Joe Jonas is really a great kid.
All the best Joe and I really have a feeling that this little singing career thing you are working on is going to be a huge success!