My passion has always been "STORYTELLING"
This site I created out of passion, optimism and a love of storytelling. It has been a long journey to come to this place. During my lifetime I have always been an employee, sometimes a very highly paid employee (at the height of my career as a TV network affiliate news anchor), but not as a car hop for an A&W rootbeer chain when I was in college. During my adult years I have been happy in that role. I loved anchoring the news, producing my own radio and TV talk shows and teaching college classes. My last job was teaching writing for Daytona State College. I had also been teaching those classes for Seminole State College. Then I was stricken with severe stennois. I continued to teach for a semester using a wheelchair to go from one class to another. It became difficult, and I was in pain. I underwent three surgeries and took large amounts of pain pills. I didn't think my life would return to what it had been. Then a surgery in the spring of 2013 changed that. It took ten months for me to fully recover, but then I asked myself "what now?" My husband continues to work full-time in his own business. Retirement was never in my vocabulary. I wanted to work again and not in just any job but to do work that I could pursue with passion. There were false starts. Being in my 70's I am not in demand in television. Talk radio currently involves buying the time and then selling sponsorships. Too much work! The teaching positions I had held were now held by other people. The Orlando Sentinel had no interest in my resuming my column Changing Places. I was bored and frustrated. What then? I love storytelling. That has been the constant whether I was attempting to do this in an interview on radio or TV or trying to teach students to tell stories. So now I have a company. I own a business Carole Nelson Biographies. With the help of an editor/shooter I give people the chance to tell their life stories. First is the pre-interview. Here someone is summing up his or her life. How do you do that in 45 minutes to an hour? It involves trust first of all.There must be trust that we will tell the story you want to tell. You can dwell on some years and leave out some events you don't want to share. Don't think your story is interesting enough? All stories are interesting. Think of your children, your grandchildren and all the generations that will come after. You can tell the stories of your childhood, introduce them to your parents and their parents, to the stories that are passed down from one generation to the next, unless they are not, unless they are lost. This is you telling your life story as you saw it, as you see it now. This is not someone else writing your biography,nor is it someone writing your obituary. We show your pictures and identify the people in them. We will include your old home movies or videos, pictures of your most treasured possessions, and we put this to music. We will not only show you talking about your life; we will show video of you doing activities in your daily life.
And so the next chapter of my life starts. This is the first time I am my own boss. The final decisions rest with me although I have a marvelous shooter/editor who helps me produce these stories. I am convinced the timing is right. John Nesbitt wrote in Megatrends that as technology evolves so does nostalgia. What is it that people grab on their way out the door during a home emergency? They grab their scrapbooks,their pictures, their videos. These are all here in one place. I will share stories on this site if people allow me to do so. After all, this is a highly personal undertaking. Some people will choose to keep their lives private; others may want us to post their lives on Youtube or provide links on the Internet for friends and families to share. I started this site when I was in the middle of writing a memoir. I have wanted to write about being one in a series of firsts in Central Florida: first female to "be allowed" to anchor an evening newscast, third in the state, but also first female radio talk show host, first TV talk show host, first female radio news director. Even more than that I wanted to write about being a member of the Silent Generation. I grew up in Rutland, Vermont wanting to be only a wife and mother. Having a career never entered my mind. Mom, God, apple pie and oh yes virginity were tops in the list of importance. What a ride it has been then! A life of adventures and challenges I could never have dreamed of in Rutland, Vermont. But oh how the values changed and what do you do with that?The memoir is unfinished in the same pile with four other manuscripts. This site was to be the beginning of the memoir, starting with the TV years. It is my story as I choose to tell it. If you like this site, the writings I post here and the video clips that will appear here of the people whose lives I have attempted to capture, please urge others to visit this site.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
I love stories. That was my salvation. When my mother didn't know what I was doing in my room she would holler up the stairs " Carole,what are you doing up there?" My answer was simple. When I was little I told her " I am upstairs with Mary Ann 'making on to believe". I loved going to the movies with my Aunt Margaret. She would take me to the Paramount Theater or the Grand Theatre: I would wiggle down into the seat and let myself be up there on the screen.
I was a lousy student in elementary school but in junior high I blossomed. Teachers discovered I was a good writer. I read Nancy Drew, the Bobsey Twins, and Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. I would walk up the street to my grandmother's. I would sit on the floor at her feet. While she went through my hair with a fine comb looking for dandruff I read Grimm's Fairy Tales out loud. My favorite book, however, was Boxcar Kids. I spun many fantasies about living in a box car with a few friends, orange crates as tables, sleeping on the floor. Every night someone closed the big door and we were inside safe. Later I would transfer my love of storytelling to acting, majoring in it in college. I had a twenty five year career in TV and radio seeking out people's stories or as much of their stories as I could cram into interviews. I wrote columns for The Orlando Sentinel and later Senior Scene magazine.
In 1985 I wrote a book. It has been one of my biggest regrets. The book that was published was not the book I had intended to write. The publisher left out entire chapters and added chapters. Some parts she added without my knowledge. I took a lot of deserved knocks for that one. I think the first life stories I became interested in were those in my family. I believe that we learn from going back to events in our own lives to see what if anything we have learned. Has it been a journey with a destination? Then I discovered my grandmother's story which shocked me. It prompted me to begin to write an historical novel about a young woman raped on her 21st birthday and forced to marry her rapist. They were married over fifty years. I had to tell that story. Then there was my mother's story. She was so different in personality I doubted that we were alike in any way. I was wrong. In fact, I have gone back and researched and wrote my great grand mother's, grandmother's and mother's journeys. I can see so many traits that came down through the years. So now I am telling other people's stories using video, pictures, old films, music. Someone told me that when I meet a person I seem to launch into an interview. I suppose that person is correct. I love people's stories. It is not a bad passion to have.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
is particularly true in a field that I worked in for many years, TV. Power and leadership are not always linked. A woman can inspire other women to follow her in a venture but unless there is a contractual agreement that woman has no power over other women or men. Power is something else. Sure there are positions where power means having control of other people’s careers including hiring, promoting and firing. . To me ,however, what true power means is not just taking what life dishes out but deciding what I want and then doing it. It also means the power to decide on how I want to react to circumstances. I have felt that way even when others would say that I was “down and out”,
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I had to hire a babysitter for those four days because as soon as the six o’clock news was over, I changed clothes, grabbed my tape recorder and I was out of there. I did work out an arrangement that the janitor would let me in the building each night around 11’ o’clock. Once in the building I would write a script, cue soundbites to feed to
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Both of us were extremely relieved when the interview was over. There would be many times in the years to come when live news and interviews would take me by surprise and I would have to think on my feet very quickly. Perhaps this was my training for that. I continued interviews on that set until Bob Jordan decided that the noon news with Steve Adams doing weather and my doing news and interviews warranted a news set of its own. We got one. It was small but cozy. It did not have the formidable appearance of the traditional news set. Certainly I felt more comfortable and I think my guests did as well. I had no idea that first day of interviewing, that before I left TV and radio news I would have done more than 900 interviews. So many stories and many of them held big surprises. This is what I will share with you. When you set out to attempt to help someone tell his or her story you have no idea what can happen.
Monday, March 4, 2013
|CLIFF PINE & ME|
Saturday, March 2, 2013
CBS radio news called me in the spring with an offer. Would I be willing to cover the state-wide races and ballot issues in Florida? Would I? Of course. CBS would pay me $75 for each editorial that would air nationally on CBS radio. It was not a straight news piece but my “take” on what was happening state-wide. That meant talking to candidates and political insiders as well as pollsters. It would finally be my take on the issues and candidates that would be my editorial “Florida Election’76.
I was deep in interviews on whether the “Government in the Sunshine” amendment to the state constitution would be passed. It did and was an historic event for Florida. Although Lawton Chiles was seen as a “shoo-in” for a second term as senator what was the sentiment about the race between the outsider Jimmy Carter and Vice-president Gerald Ford. Would Watergate influence how voters felt?
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Two years ago Seminole State wanted me to host a program for them featuring authors, artists, musicians. It was going to air on Channel 24 and then 24 went belly up. This is part of that program. The blog is my experience with storytelling ranging from being an actor in theatre when I was a theatre major to radio, TV for both Channels 6 and 9 and then in Seattle where I had my students produce a national public service spot ( one of the most interesting storytelling experiences I had ) as well as producing videos for Washington state , stories of people who had successfully made the transition from welfare to work. One thing that dawned on me is that my life story is one of storytelling in many forms. Today I work with Ed Bookbinder on Video Heritage, peoplel telling their life stories with interviews, pictures, home movies or DVD's, all set to music. I would ask this of you; if you have any video of interviews, newscasts, specials or promos when I was in Orlando TV would you allow me to post them. I have other videos to follow: part of a newscast, an audience show from Channel six and an interview. Please contact me if you have anaything to share email@example.com All of this is possible because my sister Marlene Rogers has had the patience and taken the time to put this blog together. Thanks Sis!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
There was an ongoing story on the power of Disney World, power that meant it was so self contained so self governing that even murder stories on Disney property went unreported until Disney had finished its own investigation. There was an ongoing war between the Orange County Sherriff’s department and Disney. It was so acrimonious that during one investigation a war of words almost led to a war of fists. The investigation was ongoing and I am not sure that anyone ever came up with the final answer. How much power did Governor Claude Kirk give Disney to entice them to build Disney World in Florida? As the years since Disney arrived in Central Florida it became more and more evident that Disney was almost a completely self governing entity. There are reporters today who are still gnashing teeth about access to stories unfolding in Disney World. No cameras allowed on premises unless cleared with the PR department. If you were a reporter working on a story you had to check in with PR and then a staff member would follow everywhere you wanted to go. Ignore that directive and see how many roadblocks would be put in your path as you tried to cover that story as well as ensuring stories.
The Rommie Loudd story actually spanned years. At the beginning of the story I was a radio reporter, later as an anchor I watched as the story continued. I think you could say that the Rmmie Loudd story parallels that of Lance Armstrong. A young African American worked his way up from a tough upbringing in a bad neighborhood to becoming a football player whose career finally took him to becoming a linebacker for for the Boston Patriots.
While being a linebacker for them, some may remember this famous episode.
His path then took him on one that no other African American football player had taken. He became the first full time African American coach for the Patriots and then Director of Personal Development. But Rommie Loudd dreamed big. He wanted to put together a team of investorsi Orlando who would own an NFL franchise. The price tag was way too high. Instead, the investors bought a franchise from the Worldl Football League. The Tangerine Bowl became the home of the Florida Blazers. This is where the story became murky and left not only journalists scrambling for the bigger story but also federal state and local investigators. Many of the investors were Orlando businessmen with spotless reputatons, other investors names were not released and when they finally were released they were those of people whi had criminal backgrounds. Then there were drug fraud and imposter charges. As Rommie Loudd’s dream deteriorated it was replaced by a prison term. In prison he traded his football credentials for that of a prison preacher. It was in 1988 that I interviewed Rommie Loudd newly released from prison in his Central Florida apartment. I don’t remember what he said during the interview, only that here was a different persona, humble, repentant. As often happens, Rommie Loudd disappeared from the media scrutiny. The story of his death in 1988 from diabetes garnered only a small mention if any in the media. All of this was simply part of what radio news was about in the 70’sand 80’s. I am so grateful that I was part of it then before the budget cuts, before hard news gave way to conversations between the morning teams involving rock and music stars. Real news didn’t disappear all at once. Some stations did better at holding on than others. WDBO has been the one that has held on the longest. If I am giving short shrift to other radio news operations I apologize. But back to my transition. I was learning everything I could. I even enjoyed being the talk show host on weekends when calls tended to be more about the best way to cook sauerkraut from scratch to regular callers who just called in because they were part of the crew. Had I lost my interest in telling stories that revolved around people? No. It had simply taken a back seat in my life. But it was the best training I could ever have to what lay ahead. One weekend I received a call at my home in Sanford ( I was still commuting to Orlando). Would I be interested in working for CBS network news. I was so shocked, at such a loss for words (Yes, it did happen occasionally) I could barely hold up my end of the conversation. “Think about it this weekend”, the network executive said. “ I think you would really like working for us. The pay is good. So are the benefits.” He ended the conversation by saying that he would call me the following week and that he would like me to come to New York “to talk” I was shaking when I hung up the phone. I felt like Robert DeNiro in the film where he utters that famous line “ You talkin’ to me?” Had my career really taken such a turn in the road? Now I had to make a decision that even a year ago I had no idea I would be asked to make. Somewhere deep inside of me I knew that regardless of how flattering the offer was..and yes, appealing, I couldn’t accept it. There was no way I could uproot myself and three boys and move to New York where I had no friends or relatives, no support system. The boys would not want to live that far from their father. No, the answer was already forming in my head but I had a weekend in which I could simply savor the temptation.