The Story of How Dena Did Not Interview Anyone Famous

Regarding the World of Opposites update posted on Friday, I decided not to do the profiles of the four semi-famous people.

I can't tell who the people were, but I can give general background since a few of you asked. One is a creator/producer of a popular TV series, one is a musician, one is an executive at an auto company, and...hmmm...I've forgotten the last one. Maybe a model? I can't remember.

Anyway, the gist of the assignment was a 500-word profile of each person due by September 5th. The old Dena would have thought, "500 words is easy. I'll take the assignment." Experienced Dena wondered:

  • Has the idea of being interviewed for this magazine already been broached or am I cold calling these people?
  • What's the focus of each profile? (You can't cover a life in 500 words.)
  • Am I responsible for having photos sent in to accompany the story?
  • How firm is the deadline in case I can't get the interviews in time?

Turns out I would have been cold calling these people and selling them on the idea of their profile appearing in the magazine. Which is okay, as many people are eager for the publicity. But I know from experience that explaining who I am, what the magazine is, what I'm calling about, getting them a past copy of the magazine, and getting through their people, etc., etc. is TIME CONSUMING.  It's a flurry of e-mails and phone calls and arranging dates and last-minute cancellations and "I forgot we were supposed to talk then" excuses.

Then there's the research. No way am I going to interview these people without heavy researching their background so I know what the heck to ask and what should be expected that I already know. That's a LOT of uncompensated work time.

So for those two reasons alone, I turned down the work. As Blair pointed out though, at least I knew to think about the above. Two years ago, I would have just said "yes," not realizing what I was letting myself in for.

And I discovered something. When I thought about taking the work, I had a little pit at the bottom of my stomach. When I decided to take a pass, the pit went away. I think it comes down to I didn't care much about doing a profile on any of these people and the thought of having to interview them made me nervous and unhappy. So why do it? Plenty of other projects out there to choose from.

And THAT is the story of how Dena did not interview anyone famous.