This is a winterim about America. It’s about the people, the places, the music, the food… the EXPERIENCE of America. You’ll see it, hear it, taste it, and, for fifteen days, you’ll move through it, trying to catch just a tiny piece of your experience with your camera and your pen.
We'll take a 15-day Amtrak trip around the country, from Chicago down to Memphis and New Orleans – stopping for a tour of Graceland and checking out street musicians in the French Quarter. We’ll head over to spend two days in El Paso – a city that has evolved in concert with influences from Mexico and Texas. After that, it’s over the Sierra Nevada mountains to Los Angeles – Hollywood, to be exact – and we’ll see a city that’s grown up fertilized by fame, music, and film. When we leave, we’ll hug the coast of California all the way up to Seattle where we’ll get a different picture – it’s the birthplace of Grunge, famous for fantastic seafood and coffee, and home of the Science Fiction museum and Experience Music Project. From there, it’s back to Chicago, another hotbed of blues and music, and finally… Toledo. It’s like the sampler platter from the American buffet.
Along the way you're going to see some of the most beautiful landscapes in America and get a chance to meet some fascinating people. Your job is to catch it -- on camera and in writing – travelogues, journals, blogs, podcasts and vodcasts.
Before we leave (and along the way), you'll learn photography techniques -- technical and artistic, how to navigate the pesky legal issues surrounding model and interview releases, how to ask the right questions in an interview to bring out a story, and how to grab a reader's attention and keep them spellbound -- put them there with you. We’ll talk about how to capture a sense of place, and how to transport your readers to the places you’ve been. When you're done, you'll be able to craft your travel experience into a story -- in pictures and in words.
Sound easy? Think again: You'll sleep seven nights on the train. In coach seats. With screaming babies. You'll spend your days interviewing and photographing the people you meet and evenings writing vignettes, recording entries for our travelogue podcast, or sifting through gigabytes of pictures and video in lonely train stations or empty dining cars on the train. You'll agonize over the perfect picture for your story and argue with your classmates over just the right word to describe that kink in your neck from curling up in your seat as you sneak in a quick nap before the next stop.
Oh, and did we mention that you're publishing all of this on the web as we go? Deadlines… deadlines…
Required: a good, reliable digital camera
Recommended: A strong constitution, laptop with extra batteries, walkin’ shoes.
$500 deposit required.