“The Carmen Grande Story” is a story of culture, struggle and triumph about two Ball State women’s basketball players from Madrid, Spain — Carmen Grande and Lucía Fernández.

Carmen and Lucía are both sophomores on the team, and they also grew up just 20 minutes away from each other in Madrid.

The idea of a feature story came from the mere concept that Ball State had two women’s basketball players — both from the same city — from across the world.

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Did they know each other? Did they play with each other? How did they get to Ball State? Those were just a few of the questions which rose during the preliminary conversations about the story.

I was the lead producer on the story. I also broadcast for the women’s basketball team on the radio.

In my time with radio, I had developed a prior friendship with Carmen and Lucía, which, in my opinion, always helps the story’s progress.

At first, the story was going to be focused on the relationship between Carmen and Lucía, and the initial thought was the interviews would possibly be together.

Through decision-making, the assistant producer Tim Reusche and I decided the story would best be told by focusing on one of the girls and building the relationship in the middle part of the story.

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The hardest part about doing the story with both throughout would be the tendency to just go back and forth on what each person thinks about the specific topic of conversation.

By focusing on Carmen primarily in the story, we were able to separate the girls, so the conversation flowed better throughout the piece, even after both were presented as part of the story arc.

Carmen’s parents were also interviewed in the story, giving an unexpected layer to the story. The parents’ interview was not initially planned.

They visited midway through the season to see three of her games. Tim and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to expand the story in order to get a parent’s perspective on moving across the world.

Carmen’s mother and father were not fluent in English, so we decided to conduct the interview in Spanish with the help of Carmen translating questions and responses for us during the interview.

The hardest part of the story was translating the interviews. With the help of Carmen, we were able to translate both of the parents’ interviews, although it took about four hours of work.

If you’ve seen the story, you may be wondering how we acquired multiple shots of Madrid, Spain –and no, we did not visit Spain just to get those shots for this specific story.

Tim Reusche visited Spain during the summer of 2015, and he was able to film multiple shots of Madrid. Although the filming was not initially for the story, we thought that it only made sense to add video of Madrid.

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The video of Madrid added a layer of culture to the story because the viewer can then connect with where Carmen and Lucía grew up.

The biggest storyline Tim and I wanted to convey was the relationship between Carmen and Lucía and the dependence they had on each other during their freshman year at Ball State.

Through the middle part of the story, we used video shots of Carmen isolated in the middle of an Indiana field because we wanted to represent some of the feelings she faced during her freshman year — isolated in a new country.  And for those who have visited Muncie, or go to Ball State, you know there are plenty of corn fields.

Towards the end of the story, Tim and I had to find a way to build Carmen back up to where she is now at Ball State. Carmen and Lucía have both really found a home at Ball State during their sophomore years.  We wanted to end the story on a positive and inspiring theme.

Although this wasn’t a story revolved around life or death, Tim and I learned so much about storytelling. We found out even stories about different cultures can be conveyed in a powerful manner.

Throughout the process, Carmen, Lucía and Carmen’s parents helped us so much giving us their time and effort to make this story possible.

This story was truly a pleasure to tell about two of my closest friends at Ball State.