Gaining Experience & Confidence


Kristi 2014By:  Kristi L. Arntzen, RPR, CBC, CCP

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”  – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I have only been at this CART and captioning thing full-time for a little under two years, so every job seems like a huge challenge to me, but there was one recent job that sticks out in my mind as a particularly challenging (albeit exciting!) experience that I wanted to share:  Captioning the Minnesota DFL Convention in Duluth, Minnesota.

Lisa Richardson, RPR, CRR, CCP, CBC, asked me to tag-team with her on this Saturday-Sunday job.   The overnight assignment was a first for me.  The farthest I had traveled on assignment previously was Rochester.   I knew that we would be projecting our captions to a large group of people, probably the largest crowd I had had up to that point.   But I’ve been to Duluth many times, and Lisa would be there helping me and taking charge, so I anxiously accepted.

Lisa arrived in Duluth before I did on Friday afternoon to scope out the situation and set up all the equipment, about which I only have marginal knowledge at this point–things like a mixer, encoder, and the cables!  Oh, the cables!  She warned me Friday night after I arrived that the area where we would be sitting was “kind of cramped.”  Kind of?  When we walked in the next morning, I discovered just how “cramped” the conditions were going to be!  We were positioned in arena seats with minimal room for our writers to sit in front of us.  Lisa ended up sitting on her chair in the folded-up position, which was too uncomfortable for me, so I sat in the chair with my writer practically in my lap! It was quite a challenge to get used to writing that way. But we soon adjusted to our conditions, and the convention began.

The first day was very exciting.  A lot of big names in the DFL party came to speak: Amy Klobuchar (who was a breeze to write!), Mark Dayton (who I know from previous experience is a bit of struggle to write, so I “let” Lisa take over the captioning for his speech… ha!), Al Franken (again, a breeze!), and Keith Ellison.  It was quite a long day, however, beginning at 10:00 a.m.–meaning 9:00 a.m. for us–and going until 6:00 p.m. with nary a break.

The second day was a little less exciting. This was the day they took care of “party business,” which included nominating and voting for random members of the party for leadership positions and voting on changes to their constitution.  We were provided with some of the names of party leaders, but not all, so there was A LOT of finger spelling that day. We worked fewer hours that day, but I was more exhausted than I was from the day before…and still had the long drive back home in front of me!

Yet with all these challenges, I still had a great time, and I learned so much. I got to see MY captions on a HUGE screen! And I got some insight into how the political process works (…or doesn’t work. Heh!)  The main thing I took away from this job is this:   I did it, and I survived!  Better yet, I even did a good job (I think! Didn’t I, Lisa?)

The next time something like this comes up, I will be a lot more ready and a little less anxious about accepting the assignment!