6:00 AM Buckley parks his car in my driveway and piles in Unit 4. With him, he brings a brief case, some magazines and a magic pillow. I don’t ask questions, but greet him with a morning groan as we pull out of my darkened neighborhood.
6:50 AM We arrive at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia. Other news crews are already there, standing amid clusters of recording equipment as campaign workers dash this way and that. We join the jackals.
7:00 AM The doors fling open and the camera crews file in. I find our station’s call letters on the riser and plant my fancycam there in the name of El Ocho. Dropping to my knees, I pull receivers, cables and batteries out of my bag, along with a with a few unfortunately fuzzy tic-tacs.
7:10 AM After setting up our cameras, Bob and I check audio levels and sync time-codes before abandoning our equipment altogether. It’s not a strike, but a forced ejection - by order of the Secret Service. Those cats pack heat. We go outside.
7:15 AM In the parking lot, journalists, technicians and more than a few deviants retreat to their candy-colored vehicles. There we eat, read, nap and fidget as time draws out like a blade. Inside, a bomb-sniffing dog pauses over my fuzzy tic-tacs.
9:15 AM Two hours later the parking lot fills with shiny happy people. These are the Obama Zombies. With homemade signs, day-glo t-shirts and congratulatory smiles, they are slightly less creepy than your average Claymate. And nowhere near as militant.
10:15 AM With the security sweep over, police begin letting the public and the press back in the building. However, before the media can enter, we must present ID and credentials - a weird time for such a thing considering thousands of dollars worth of station equipment is already inside.
11:25 AM After much pep talk from campaign workers and a stiff warning about staying seated, a hush falls over the supporters packed into the community college motorsports building. On cue, a beaming Barack Obama emerges from the shadows. Mass genuflections begin.
1:15 PM With my tripod stretched to its highest position, I endure Obama’s entire speech in a torturous tiptoe position. Back arched and arms raised, I begin wishing for death a full ten minutes before Mr. Change finally relinquishes the microphone. I crumple to the platform, then shoulder my camera and wade into the pit.
1: 30 PM Having interviewed a trio of blubbering supplicants, Bob and I gather up gear and fight our way outside. Once there, we bust up some kind of parking lot séance as we weave our way to Unit Four. Crawling behind the wheel , I throw it in reverse and put Martinsville in the rearview mirror.
3:00 PM After snaking our way Southward, Bob and I arrive at El Ocho. Nursting through the doors, we swagger to an edit bay and boast of sharing air with the much ballyhooed candidate. Our coworkers pretend to listen, but most are far more taken with the Poop-Freeze epic forming in Weaver’s bay.
4:58 PM Having ingested Bob’s reporter track, sliced it to non-linear ribbons and fleshed out the mess with a steady sequence of wide medium and tight shots, I discover a horrible error in the epic in question. After a frenzied repair, I feed it to the server, seconds before the director hits play on a piece that was barely even there.
5:15 PM The five o clock piece now a distant memory, I delve into the six o clock script and wince at the implications. Jabbing at the multicolored keyboard, I wonder if Obama has any positions open for a minister of video misinformation. I look good in primary colors!
5:50 PM Seconds before transferring the finished piece down the hall, I whittle away at a few teases and struggle to remember my name. As I do, a shadow falls over my edit bay and thrusts a paper my way. Thinking it’s a letter of thanks from Obama, I squint and realize its instructions for the next day’s shoot. Clearly, no one gives one fuzzy tic-tac about my extra effort…
In other words, a pretty normal shift.