Thursday, October 27, 2005

Missing Miracles

This would be something that you might read on my craptacular compatriot's blog over at Turdpolisher (linked at right), but I've got a feeling he'll be dealing with a much deeper issue in his next post.

At every station there are days when those "in charge" ask the impossible. Here's an example: You just drove an hour to get here and the newscast hits in 15 minutes. You are the lead story, and have been told that it will be a vo/sot. No big deal, until the show's producer tells your reporter that they want a package, and that still-green reporter acquiesces. The result is a miracle edit of a one minute story done in six minutes. For those not in the know, ideal edit time is 45-60 minutes per one minute of story. Our photogs have been meeting these kinds of demands for so long that the miraculous has become commonplace, at least in the eyes of our producers.

Recently our ranks have been thinned by the departure of our most senior photog, Russell Drewry, and a defection to the ranks of the producers by another. At least we have someone who's been in the field producing, now, so he isn't included in the catch-all 'producers.' Add to this number a person on vacation and another in the hospital, and we are four short of our normal daily total. We also have twice as many reporters as photogs, and all of them are expected to turn a story today. Truly a recipe for disaster.

Two reporters leave the station with the same photog headed to the same destination to turn separate stories on the same meeting. Both reporters have stories for all shows, with both having packages in the same show. All of this is to be edited by one photographer. Needless to say, one of the stories misses slot.

On my end everything is going great. One day before, a pilot made an emergency landing after running out of fuel. Today they are loading the plane to transport it to the airport, but there are complications. Everything seems to be straightened out when the decision is made to let the pilot use the same road that he landed on to take off. The road is blocked at both ends and the pilot taxis into position. The engine revs, the plane begins its run, and disaster strikes. The pilot clips the mirror of a parked 18 wheeler which causes him to smash his wingtip into the back of a parked rescue truck, all within my viewfinder. Everything is fine for the next four hours until, just before our 5 PM live shot, we get locked out of our live truck. After waiting for 30 minutes for someone to bring us keys, I sit down to edit our package. It will be tight, but I know I can do it. At least I could have, if the editor hadn't picked that moment to crap out.

Had I missed slot through my own fault, I would be upset, but that's on me. Nothing frustrates me more than missing because of equipment malfunction, because I have no control over that. Most days we are asked to do the impossible. We say that it can't be done but make it happen, somehow. Today, we ran out of miracles.

No comments: