Murphy’s Law of field research

No matter how prepared you think you are…

I got to my first show to observe/record.  I brought my video camera, my questionnaires, pencils, notebooks, pens and a digital recorder.

I’m setting up my camera, and I realize that I forgot a video tape.  Shit, but oh well I’ve got my digital recorder.

The show starts and I press record on my dr.  It flashes “Memory Full”.  Fuck.

I furiously page through the different folder options.  Nothing works.  Somehow my recorder has recorded 8 hours of shit while sitting in my bag for the last few months.  Meanwhile, I miss the first suggestion and the opening monologues while I struggle with my recording device.  I go through various menus searching for some sort of delete or erase option to no avail.  The crowd is laughing, and I’m in a life or death struggle with a device that is a little bigger than a pack of gum.

In frustration I just flop it into my other hand.  I notice a small red button on the side of the thing.  It says “Erase” in raised letters on the black plastic.  Hallelujah.  3 minutes later.  I have full memory, and I’m recording.

Note to self: don’t just bring the equipment, know how to use it too.

Published by bradfortier

Educator, Anthropologist, Entertainer who lives in Portland Oregon.

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