Interviewing in Franklin, Indiana
Had a nice trip to Franklin, Indiana. We headed down there from Indianapolis to get a rural perspective on Electric Vehicles. I picked Franklin, because I was familiar with it, having visited it a few times when my best friend lived there. There were a few things I knew about Franklin… There was an active old downtown area. And the people of that town like to have their voices heard.
So, our photog Jevan and I headed 30 min south of Indianapolis in search of an interview. We parked on the main street, just down a ways from a diner called Don and Donnas. I asked Jevan to bring his camera into the diner. He asked if he should bring the tripod…I said no.. the camera is just a prop.
I found out long ago as a TV journalist. The smaller the town, the less trusting they were about having someone they don’t know sticking a camera in their face and asking a bunch of questions. So, the plan was, not to disturb anyone… just bring the camera in, set it on the table and order some lunch. The camera works like a magnet for curious people. And within 10 min of sitting down 6 people had come up to our table asking us what story we were doing.
That’s when we met Sally Smiley. Yes that is her real name. And she was ready with the quick wit when I questioned her about her name. In our little pre-interview, I find out Sally used to be in Television. She worked as a “hostess” for the ABC affiliate in Indianapolis back in 19?? (Sally has my business card, with my work address on it, so I won’t reveal the years.. she know how to track me down).
At the beginning of the interview I mentioned to her what we tell all the people we interview, “Look at me not the camera. We are just having a conversation.” Then, I try to add a little bit of humor to try to put the person at ease.., so I point to our photographer Jevan and say, “Remember ignore this guy.” To which Sally said with her quick wit, “ Oh that’s easy, remember I’m married.”
It’s not that common when you go into an interview situation blind, and get someone like Sally in the first shot. She was comfortable on camera, witty and nice to be around. Also, and most importantly for the story, she lived in rural Indiana… several miles from neighbors, Wal-Mart, and charging stations. She was the perfect person to talk about EVs and whether or not they would be a good fit for the entire country. Sally told us she likes the idea of no-gas, but still has range anxiety about how far a person can drive on a charge. She said she would consider the Volt, but it’s a bit pricey. Also she was surprised that the Nissan Leaf, MiniE and Ford Focus EV all got 100 miles to a charger. It was a quote we cut because of time, but here it is, “100 miles? I didn’t know that. It wouldn’t work for me, but that’s quite impressive."
Oh by the way, the green beans in the Don and Donna's veggie plate are to die for.
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