Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It's a photog beat-down.

On an early Sunday morning, firefighters are responding to the most recent catastrophic conflagration soon to hit the Houston airwaves. They find flames leaping through the roof and a man in the front yard. This man turns out to the uncle of three children yet to escape the emergency, and he's brandishing a pistol while berating these brave souls for not charging into the fire faster. One of the kids makes it out with burns on her feet, but two younger children are lost.

Many questions remain as to why the parents left this man in charge, and how did the fire start on his watch, not to mention what kind of man looks out for himself, leaving three children to make their escape? Before the scene would clear he would perform one last act of schmuck-like behavior; he would assault a photog.

The shooter is employed by a local stringer agency who covers the overnights for most of the stations in town. While waiting for the heat of the fire to wane, he draws the ire of the hot-headed uncle, who isn't pleased with the presence of our soon-to-be plaintiff. The photog turns away to remove his camera from the tripod and gets cold-cocked as he turns back to face the man.

In today's story meeting, the powers-that-be were trying to decide on a second story for our crew following up on the fire and the uncle's arrest. I floated the story of the photog, and they found it fitting. The crew who did the story even thanked me for the idea.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Four on One

No, I wasn't in a fight; it was an interview.

I strolled into work last Friday with little thought for what the day might bring. It makes going to work more fun if you have no idea what might happen. In the afternoon meeting I discovered that I would be flying solo for the day, which is a nice change of pace from the grind of turning out two stories daily. Then I found out what I would be shooting.

A certain multi-platinum artist was staging a concert in The Woodlands, and they were going to webcast it live in HD, for free, to the world, but mainly for the troops in the Middle East. They were also attempting to gain a Guinness World Record for the most cameras used to record a live event. The record they were trying to break was 43, which was earned by a Justin Timberlake concert at Madison Square Garden. This production was going to obliterate that record by using a slightly higher number - 239. What they recorded will be part of the live DVD that will release almost one month after the album.

Who is the band of which I speak? After a rough split, these four guys have been kicking around for six or seven years, doing seperate projects. They decided to get back together and try to recapture the lightning they once held and bend it to their will. This tour is to promote their new album and re-introduce them to their fans, both new and old. They are Creed.

I've actually owned all three of their CDs, though I've lost My Own Prison in my many moves, so I guess you could say I like their music. I wasn't worried about interviewing these guys because they were hugely successful and popular musicians. What had me freaked was that I was going to have to interview the whole band by myself. My dedication to the craft wouldn't let me just set the camera on a wide shot of all four guys and roll, but I was having trouble figuring out how to talk to all of them at the same time and still make it look good for TV, and keep myself from looking like a total jack-leg at the same time. For those who don't know, pre-show interviews are usually pretty short, so I wouldn't have much time with the band to move a mic from one to the next.

Our Senior (don't call her chief) Photog suggested that I shoot it off the shoulder in an MTV fashion. I gave it a shot and it kind of worked, which is good because it's the best I could have done without four more cameras and mics. As for the band, they were all pretty cool guys. They answered my questions, which I'm sure they've all heard about a thousand times now, but if it bothered them, I didn't notice. I also kind of lost my head and only focused on the dynamics between the four of them, instead of the other questions I had, like if they think their fans will forgive and forget. When I got the last question signal, the only think I could come up with was "Do you like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, and could there be a Creed version in the works?" They all chuckled and the drummer said they had thought about it a little, and that he can't play the drums in the game very well, because is isn't quite the same. He did say that he could shred on the guitar, though.

After I got back to the station, I was able to watch the webcast because we put some of it on the air to go with the sound bite. The webcast looked like a DVD, and I was blown away by the production quality. The only problem was that Scott Stapp, the lead singer, sounded like his voice hasn't aged well. I don't know if it was just this show, or if he hasn't taken care of it, but it was quite flat. It didn't take away any of the energy from his performance, though, and I couldn't look away from the monitor for long without being drawn back by the quality of the show.

In all it was a great show, and one of those experiences I will remember for a long time.