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Citizen Spotlight: Chris Delamo, Grand Prize Winner of Watchdog Video Contest

The grand prize winner of Watchdog Wire’s Summer Recess Video Contest is a young individual who has overcome his own struggles with shyness in order to expose truth.

Chris Delamo of South Florida has been chosen by our panel of judges as the winner because of his daring video of man-on-the-street interviews with Miami fast-food workers who shutdown highway traffic for a $15 wage. Read our interview with Chris, who will soon be rewarded with a trip Washington, D.C..

Who or what inspired you to start using video to tell a story?

In 2011, I became locally active in spreading the message of limited government and liberty in South Florida, and during that time I had a few confrontations with people from both the Republican and Democratic Parties. For whatever reason, I became the “camera guy” for all the Ron Paul events, recording them and uploading them to YouTube. It was with this wielding of a camera in a political context that I would eventually begin making videos on a consistent basis, until I eventually created my main blog, Red Pill Philosophy.

Chris Delamo graphic

In your opinion, how does video trump other mediums?

Video trumps other mediums today–like writing, newspapers, and blogs–because it seems people don’t like reading anymore. Call it a sign of the “dumbing down of America,” or people’s short attention spans, but watching a video is much easier than reading something. So video certainly has greater appeal nowadays.  Although you can still incorporate writing, since video allows you to overlay text or narrate scenes.

In your video on the Miami fast-food worker protest for a $15 wage, you expose the hypocrisy of the protesters’ unwillingness to answer questions about the minimum wage and McDonald’s ability to make a profit. What kind of reactions did you receive from people who watched the video?

I received mostly support, with a few angry people and a few well-meaning people, who could not understand why, as I said multiple times in the video, the minimum wage is anti-poor.  I think criticism is part of the path to greatness, so I embrace all criticism as a sign that I matter enough to warrant people’s interests or insults.

In that same video, you use a man-on-the-street interview approach. Why is this effective? Do you recommend this approach to others?

The man-on-the-street approach is effective because it targets people in a raw, uncensored, real setting. As opposed to predetermined stages and interviews, the spontaneity of the man-on-the-street style brings out more authenticity from the interviewee, and the interviewer. I certainly recommend this approach to others.

What type of video equipment did you use? Do you need expensive technology to be effective?

I literally used my camera phone. Everyone’s got one nowadays, you don’t need a $7,000 camera.  I’m ultimately of the belief that the quality of the content itself matters more than the quality of the camera or microphone. Sure, you need to get a clear shot, and good audio, but you don’t need high-definition footage (though it doesn’t hurt). Citizen journalism is not about flashy lights and big-screen presentations. It could be, but fundamentally, it’s about real interactions with real people about real issues.

I used my camera phone to capture the video, but also used a separate microphone to capture the audio. When you’re at a loud rally in a public place like I was, it can be difficult to capture audio of the people you are interviewing while drowning out the sound of people protesting and shouting. My microphone is a Tascam DR-05. It cost about $80. I’ve had it for over 2 years now, and it works absolutely great. I highly recommend it.

How much preparation do you put into your videos? Do you have a checklist you’d recommend others use?

Preparation for my videos depends on what kind of video it is. If it’s a simple man-on-the-street video where I’m just interviewing and confronting people, then it’s just a matter of going out to the event. I don’t really have to plan, since I’m naturally passionate and interested in these topics, and thus I naturally flow without much pre-planning.

For the Miami fast-food strike video, I did make a simple checklist on my smartphone with my main key points that I had regarding why the minimum wage is destructive and ultimately not a solution.  If you feel that you might not remember the key points you have to make, simply use a smartphone app that allows you to jot down notes, and keep them there so you can refer back to them if you forget what you’re out there for.  The app I use is called “Color Notes,” but there are many others out there.

shutterstock_12814324What advice do you have for those who want to get involved with video but are timid?

Some people probably wouldn’t believe me if I told them, based on my videos, but I used to be crippled by shyness many years ago. So, my message to the timid is this: you can consciously choose to overcome shyness and timidity. But it’s a matter of how much you really want it. Sadly, we live in a collectivist world, where beginning as early as kindergarten, children are stuffed into classrooms surrounded by a bunch of strangers and forced to sit still, shut up, obey orders, and conform.

To keep things practical, though, as advice, just realize that it’s not your responsibility or obligation to please others. Don’t be afraid to offend people, don’t be afraid to make people feel uncomfortable. That’s part of the problem; since so many of us feel insecure, we walk through life assuming everyone else feels just as insecure, so we’re afraid to rock the boat out of “respect” for ourselves and others.

Rock the boat. It’s the only thing that will bring change in a world where tyranny relies on calm waters to maintain its control.  Go out there, be polite if it makes you feel better, but turn up the heat slowly by pressing people with the tough questions that need to be asked.

What role do you think video plays today in journalism and public integrity?

Video is fundamental to journalism today. When it comes to public integrity, video is a fantastic way to capture public officials or citizens in clear, obvious, undeniable proof of their corrupt tendencies or delusional views. The pen is mightier than the sword, and today’s pen may very well be a camera.

Categories: Citizen Spotlight

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