Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer Daze

It's summer in the South, so that means it's hot. That's not news to anyone living here, but someone thinks it is. Unfortunately I seem to be our shooter of sweltering shots, because I keep getting assigned these stories.

It wouldn't be so bad, but there are only so many ideas I can come up with on my own. Around a month ago, I got this assignment with Chris N., but I already had an idea ready.

Tuesday I was sent out to get video and sound of people in the heat for weather, and Wednesday I got another heat package.

This time Ashley D. was my accomplice, and our story didn't turn out too bad. I kind of rode her idea, and had a good day of shooting. I actually had more great shots than I had story to cover!

Watch Hot Project.

Flying Solo

Friday I was unattached, so I thought I'd take my destiny into my own hands. Turns out it still isn't my own.

A look at the big board of fate Friday morning informed me that I was unattached for the day. Usually that means I'd be rolling on every little fender bender and potential fire. This day I decided to go looking for a photo essay to put together. One of the talk radio hosts was encouraging his listeners to give to an account set up for a man who lost his legs while changing a friend's tire along the interstate. It was too late to make it to the radio station, so I decide to hit one of the bank branches and see what there was to see.

Hearing about the great response they were getting, I was hoping to get telling sound from the tellers describing the effect others affection was having on them. Company policy said otherwise. Luckily I got a mom and daughter who weren't afraid of the camera.

Before the show ended, the district manager from one of the oil change franchises announced that they would be giving five dollars for every car they serviced. This was my second stop. Usually the guys in the pit are some of the best characters you can find, and Eric didn't disappoint.

This is the first nat-pack I've done since coming to the station, which is just over five years. It could use a bit more polish, but I've learned quite a bit for the next time I do one.

My reporter even got me the script with two hours to edit, but a live truck with Erectile Dysfunction 45 minutes away meant that I was going to have to edit it on overtime. Not usually a problem, but a tired wife with with a crying baby lend to stress and tend to speed up the edit.

I'd show it to you, but it didn't make it to the station's website.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hard Days

It's been a tough couple of day for the home team. Not that the workload has been extraordinarily heavy, but it's a miracle we've been able to deliver.

It seems that those in charge have reverted to expecting the daily miracles from us again. Case in point: yesterday I was paired with KD, for the first time since our False River Fourth of July, on a story about a man arrested for three counts of sexual battery on minors. We heard about it in a press release from the Assumption Parish sheriff.

Usually this wouldn't be a tough one to pull off, but we didn't leave on the assignment until 1:00 pm, and Pierre Part is an hour away. On top of that, we don't have anyone scheduled to interview, so we'll have to knock on doors and hope someone will talk to us on camera. Not as likely to happen since this is a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Add to this recipe a dash of 5PM deadline, and in a couple of hours you could have a disaster.

I don't ask for much, but I would like a proper amount of time to put a story like this together. If we're not going to get an assignment until one, with no calls made, and the drive time is an hour, put us in the six. When KD announced the drive time, all the 5PM producer had to say was "I guess you better get going, you're the lead package." This is why I plan on pushing hard to make sure that all of our producers get to spend one week with a photog, observing what it is we really have to go through to pull this kind of assignment off. Having never left the comfort of their air conditioned cubicle, except to get lunch at the same time every day, they seem to think that a story like this "just happens."

I've read enough to know that our producers aren't the only ones who do this, but it's my blog and I need to vent about it.

Here's the story.

Today sees the two of us riding together, again. Instead of only having an hour to shoot a package, we have to deal with the grandiose vision of what could be. We've been given the story that every station in the country was doing today: Are our bridges safe?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those in Minneapolis who are dealing with injuries to both body and soul tonight. Compared to what they're dealing with my work problems are but a grain of sand.

I knew before coming into work that someone in our station was going to do this story, and I had a pretty good feeling that they would be standing beside my lens while doing so. My question today is, "Why does it take an hour to decide who's doing this story? Also, why hasn't anyone made some calls on this to set up interviews?"

At 10 am we leave the get a VOSOT on BOPSA (bunch of people sitting/standing around). At 10:45 am KD gets a voicemail suggesting that she contact an engineer at LSU. Has this person made a call to set this up? Hasn't even thought about it, but he's got a vision. "What I see is you talking to a professor, and he's got a model of a bridge on his desk where he can point out structural issues..." Um, yeah, sure. I've been to many a prof's office, and all they seem to have on their desks are papers, lots and lots of papers. It becomes a moot point since no one calls us back.

We journey forth to collect images of bridges in the area, while waiting on a call from DOTD. It turns out that the same visionary from above insisted that he be the point of contact between us and them. Not a bad plan, except for the part where he's "out of pocket" for 90 minutes at the doctor's office, and not answering his cell phone.

In the end, another grand vision, worthy of an evening's lineup of newscasts, finds its true destiny through my edit decks.

Watch it here.