Friday, August 25, 2006

Taking the Reins

Enough complaining, it's time for action.

Long ago Lenslinger got fed up with the assignments he was handed, and took matters into his own hands. I don't want to take on that much responsibility, yet, but I do plan on taking a more active role in deciding what stories I cover. It could have something to do with the mediocre story ideas coming from the morning meeting.

Three weeks ago I did a heat story with Scott. Last week I almost did another heat story with Scott. After wringing our grey matter for the first one, what could we do to make the next one different? Seriously. It's August, it's Louisiana, and it's hot. It was hot 10 years ago, it was hot yesterday, and it will be hot again tomorrow. In fact, it'll be hot until October. It's nothing new, and it's not news until something extraordinary happens.

The final straw, though, was our coverage of the officer's funeral one week ago. When he died, I knew his funeral was going to be the top story for that day, unless someone more important was killed, or a local refinery exploded. Somehow, the decision was made to only have one crew cover the event, and do a noon live shot. Ten minutes to noon, the producers have thier collective panties in a bunch, because the procession is leaving the church and heading to the grave site. The only problem is that the crew is stuck doing the live shot at the church, and the shot we can't miss is about two miles away from them.

So it falls on me to somehow get ahead of the procession so I can get the shot of the hearse rolling in under the giant flag suspended by two of the fire department's ladder trucks. By the way, I'm all the way across town at the station, where I have been for the last hour or so, with no assignments on my plate that would have conflicted with getting to the location ahead of schedule. Someone should have realized that a funeral that begins at 10 AM will probably end at 12 PM, so we might need another crew to cover the other end of the procession while the first crew does the live shot and makes its way there. I would have gladly gone in a live truck to set up a second shot, to be used in the second half hour of our noon show, to properly honor the fallen. Instead I have to drive like a man posessed, but I got the shot.

After all of that, I resolved that I would now attend the morning meetings. Maybe I can be the voice of reason, providing some insight on how things might actually happen in the field. If nothing else, my story ideas are just as mediocre as anyone elses!

3 comments:

turdpolisher said...

Now now O,

You know the suits don't want the voice or reason around while they're planning what passes for news in your shop. Been there, done that, that's why the meetings were moved from the newsroom where there's room for everyone to the small conference room wher photogs don't fit.

But I feel your pain. Good luck.

Widescreen said...

I think I am with Turd on this one. I have just come off a longer form show I was doing for 4 yrs. I was senior shooter on it and my word was like the voice of God. Except when we were in the office!

“Oh how long does it take to drive to so & so………..”

“3 and ½ hours at the least”

“Nah, reckon you can do it in 2”

“Fine, then why ask!”

Everyday there was something I banged my head on the wall about. Distance and set up times. If I foresaw a problem it was seen as being an obstruction not an anticipatory solution. If I had a story idea, there always needed to be an ‘angle’. If I suggested a better way to shoot it, it meant I was being a prima dona cameraman and if I thought their ideas sucked then I was being difficult!

I made up for it on the road. Now I am back on general news for a while and I am seen as the big cheese shooter from the ‘other’ department and I have my god voice back!

By all means, give it a go and hopefully you have a better production team than I did.

photogguy said...

I used to try to be the voice of reason in the meeting, only to be met with the same attitude widescreen described.

It got to be too frustrating to me to have my opinion (based on more years of experience than most of theirs combined) that I either just stopped attending the meeting.

Now I just try to adjust the ill-concieved plan as best as I can...to polish a turd, if you will.