Voices in my head: Justin Mott [podcast]

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Justin Mott is a freelance Photojournalist and Multimedia producer. His multimedia has been published in the New York Times and Newsweek. He is based in Vietnam.

Justin is a native of Rhode Island with a journalism background from San Francisco State University. At university Justin received the Greg Robinson Memorial Award, given to the College Photographer of the Year for San Francisco and the Bay Area. In 2007 he was accepted into the Eddie Adams Workshop in New York and won the Nikon Emerging Professional Scholarship for the University of Missouri Photo Workshop along with 4 awards(1 Gold) for CPOY in 2007.
Justin has been working in SE Asia since 2005 and currently resides in Hanoi, Vietnam. He is represented by World Picture News and an archive of his work can been found on their website.
Justin is co-founder of the multimedia storytelling website http://www.OnTheRoadMedia.com with Producer/Reporter Laura Lo Forti.
His personal projects, multimedia work, and assignments have been published in magazines and newspapers such as TIME, Newsweek, New York Times, Business Week, L’EXPRESS,GEO,The International Herald Tribune and various other international publications.
Justin also works as a cameraman most recently filming on a series for Discovery Channel HD (Diwali-Revealed).
http://www.justinmott.com/
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12 comments

  1. Looking forward. Sounds fun!

    What if you went all “Angry Journalist” with it
    by doing a segment where the caller and the interviewee
    are completely anonymous and their voices are digitally distorted
    to protect their identities (and jobs)?

    I mean, let’s be real here,
    you can only be so honest when you’re on the record..
    and the newspaper industry is way too political.

    I want to know, what does Joe Weiss REALLY think? Or Andrew DeVigal?
    Or Zach Wise? Or Brian Storm? Or Seth Gitner? Or Travis Fox? Et cetera.

    What are their preferred obscenities?
    F*ck? Sh!t? D@mn?

    I want to know what these kinds of people are actually thinking,
    even if I don’t know what their actual specific identities are, off the record.

    Too many bullsh!t rules. Let’s break some rules!

    Also an interview with Sam Zell might be pretty bitchin’

  2. Thanks to Justin and Richard for this. It was really interesting and informative. On a technical note, Richard what software did you use to make your voice sound so Barry White-esque?

    cj

  3. Nice job on the interview, it sounded great.

    Is it common that a multimedia freelancer just hand over their unedited files, audio or video to Newsweek or NY Times or any other larger media outlet? I would want more control over the final product that is being displayed online, similar to a freelance photojournalist that shoots, edits and transmits his or her final images to the editor. How much say-so does a multimedia freelancer or Justin have if the media outlet is producing it?

    Another question, does the multimedia freelancer get paid more if the multimedia story is already produced? Is it better to pitch stories in progress or finished?

    David

  4. CJ- it’s the barry white filter in soundtrack pro, JK. recorded on skype with a headset by ‘creative’ and a rock’n new audio and video capture tool called screenflow. down-side to screenflow it’s only for mac and those running leopard.

    David- From what i understand places like the NYT want the raw take so they can produce it. From what i gather the $$$ for produced or raw doesn’t matter. sounds like the market doesn’t know what to pay for multimedia.

    -r

  5. Hello David,
    For the Newsweek story we pitched a finished story and they didn’t touch our edit. My work for The New York Times has been commissioned by their staff so they do the production in house, but I communicate with the MM Producer how we want to tell the story for the web.
    As for pitching finished stories at the moment I feel it is difficult as newsrooms struggle with budgets and we were quite lucky that Newsweek bought our story.
    Will be interesting to see what agencies do with Multimedia and how the freelance market turns out.
    Justin

  6. Justin,

    Thanks for the reply and information about how it works. It is good to hear that you have input into the final product. This question might be good for the forum, the business side of shooting and producing multimedia, when the NY Times or say Newsweek or any other national media company commissioned you or your company to produce work do they own it, do you license it for a period of time, with the deal, do you allowed them or charging extra to use your images in the printed section and so on….

    If they produce it can you use that final product on your site, I would hope you are then not competing against you product or yourself if the media company is marketing the project to different places.

    For pricing and terms, I find that multimedia falls into to three different industries, audio-radio production, photography and video. Each industry has different ways of doing business and trying to package a business model around multimedia at times is daunting.

    David

  7. Hello David,
    Great questions, here is what I know with my little experience.
    As for as pricing and licensing goes it really depends on the project. For Newsweek it was a story I researched, shot, and produced all with my partner Laura Lo Forti and we did it on our time with our money. The idea of that personal project was to get the story out and to have a way for people to not only see the story but at the end of the piece their is a link to an NGO that helps the center directly. Newsweek bought the piece for 1 month’s use but it will forever remain in their archive. It worked out well for us because Newsweek received a lot of comments on their forum and the NGO received money for the center. I can resell and use that piece as much as I want, just couldn’t sell it during the time they ran it.
    As for my relationship with The New York Times I am shooting assignments generated by their staff so they own the rights and can use it as much as they want. I don’t get anymore money if it runs in print and the web, and that doesn’t bother me, I am happy with my date rate. I am pulling double duty but I feel it’s given me the opportunity to get more work and for them to send me further than they would normally send someone. As for creative input with The New York Times they have a wonderful online staff that I have full confidence will put together a nice package with the content I have given them. I use the images in my portfolio and I link my published pieces from my website to theirs. I am looking into whether or not they will allow me to put the stories they produce directly into my website, giving their staff production credit of course.
    I hope this was helpful,
    Justin

  8. Justin,

    Great information, thanks for sharing the details. A win, win for you, your partner and the center. Getting exposer for their cause can be hard at time. For the past two years we have been working with a non-profit, pro-bono, creating new images, shooting stories and producing multimedia content for them and displaying it online so that their clients, donors and the community can see what they do and what they have to offer. It is a win, win for us, plus it feels good.

    I would hope the times would allow you to display the story online, if not, you can always link back to it.

    Thanks,

    David

  9. Justin & Richard,

    This is realy helpful! Thank you. Please keep up the good work.
    Justin, you mentioned you worked with a writer on the NYT piece (also on all other commissioned projects?), would it be realistic to do all roles in producing a multimedia piece – come up with a story idea, research, report, write, collect stills & AV?
    I do realize multimedia is traditionally done in teams, but would attempting a one-man-band operation is something you would go for? would that be more likely to sell (packaged or raw), or harder to sell? Would it then be a better deal financialy for the multimedia producer?

    Thinking out loud about the business mode, in general, would it be possible to otherwise go for multi-platform distribution – selling the text & images story for print and/or web, package it as an audio slideshow for a different outlet, cut a video only story for cable, a more complex package combining all assets for online dist.? is this realistic at all?

    What do think?

    Thanks,

    Yoram

  10. Hello Yoram,
    I would ask around to other photographers to get a more rounded answer but here are my thoughts and again I am fairly new to all this.
    As for doing the whole process alone, I would say go for it if you have it in you. I personally am lucky to work on my personal projects with a dear friend and wonderful business partner, Laura Lo Forti. I wouldn’t benefit from a one man band for many different reasons all of them directly linked to what Laura brings to our team in every aspect of the storytelling process(it’s a long list that I won’t go into in this post, but she knows it). Our personal projects are not structured to be successful from a monetary standpoint but rather how successful they are in their impact. I am definitely the wrong person to give advice on business plans.

    Pitching Raw or Packaged? Depends on your relationship with the publication and editor. I think while we all figure out this multimedia market it is rare for freelancers to sell any self-generated MM stories, packaged or not, and more likely photographers will just be asked to do more(video/audio) on their assignments, of course their are exceptions.
    I just don’t see a lot of money in MM stories for freelancers right now but rather a new skills required for many freelancers to stay competitive. I embrace it and I’ve truly enjoyed the challenges and experiences I’ve had so far both in the freelance market and my documentaries.
    I am also a financial horror show so what do I know really.
    Hope something in there was helpful.
    Justin