Saturday, March 19, 2005

From the Archives. . .

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Whereas I prefer to leave them back at the studio, back in the day the field crews at WNCT always insisted on bringing the station jackass along. Go figure...

The Unknown Photog

Attention all Piedmont Camera Jockeys! A good guy to know at the crime scene tape has a special request. Mark Childrey, former Public Information Officer with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department wants to know who's interviewing him in this photo. I can tell him now that the gentlemen in the middle is none other than my colleague Jeff Kilduff, a fine fellow I've swapped many a live truck with. But the name of the dude to the right escapes me. That's pathetic, as we've both loitered by the same flashing lights a time or two.

Is there anyone out there who reveal the identity of this nameless shooter? Anyone? Bueller? If so, drop a comment and be the first on your block to ID the man in the white checkered shirt.

While you're at it, check out Childrey's own broadcasting efforts at "Monday Night Live", the eponymous website of Reidsville's STAR-39's premiere production. Check local listings for showtimes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Suitable for Framing

Normally I wouldn't subject my half dozen readers to this, but look who my friend beFrank ran into at work today. You remember beFrank - that coolest of West Coast news photogs who blogs at the speed of sound. Lately he's been enduring a courtside seat at the trial of the century, er week, er whatever. As with most news assignments, it ain't as fun as it sounds, but today the stars aligned and beFrank got the moniest of shots of the world's most famous alien. Eeeeew...

Visit his site and you'll find more than just jaw-dropping images of the Moonwalking Molester. Lots. Like any photog worth his weight in camera batteries, beFrank notices the little things and points a lens their way - like The Picnic Basket Guy, The Hat Guy and many more twisted details unseen on the Evening News. As always, beFrank adds his own Zen-like take, figuring if Wacko Jacko is found innocent this time, he'll simply get more photos of him at his next trial. No doubt, beFrank, no doubt...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

People That Matter

WOW - my last post was kind of. . .dark. Guess that's what I get for stumbling out of bed at four in the morning, pouring a day's worth of frustration into my keyboard and hitting 'send' without too much thought. It's not like I didn't mean every bloody word of my last dispatch; it's just that I'm not normally THAT angst-ridden. Look - here's a picture of me now looking fairly pleasant, despite the fact I'm seated in that most hated of vehicles: the TV News Live Truck.

As further proof I'm not a walking cauldron of self-loathing and misery, I've decided to share some special people with you - folks who bring warm rays of sunshine into my crusty photog heart. Let's start with my occasional partner-in-crime, Eric White. Young Eric has been in my station's employ for only a year or so, but he's quickly proven himself as a solid purveyor of lead story live shots. Whatsmore, Eric is one of the cheeriest people I know - a personality trait that sometimes clashes with my increasingly curmudgeon ways. This alone should win Eric some of your respect; if you think I bitch and moan on this blog, you should catch me in 3-D sometime. Eric will tell ya...

But if you want to talk about grumpy photogs, then you must address the master - my bestest buddy, Matt Jensen. Around El Ocho, we refer to this crusty rapscallion as "Bitter Hippie". But it's all an act. Even though he's infamous for making interns turn in their visitor badges at the mere thought of accompanying him outside the building, he's nothing more than an overgrown Ewok in a photog's vest. Over the years he's been there everytime I needed to vent my spleen or conjure up a fancy effect in the non-linear edit bays. He can't help it if he looks like Rupert from Survivor. He's all love! Just don't cross him on days ending in "Y".

Of course even these beloved co-workers pale in comparison to these two very special little girls. Meet my daughters, Hannah and Gabby. Together, these two remind their Daddy on a daily basis what an increasingly trivial matter television news really is. As obvious as that fact is, it's something I need to hear on a pretty regular basis. When I'm not squinting through a flickering viewfinder, you'll find me chasing these two around the cul-de-sac, insisting they pick up the playroom, brush their teeth and live up to their fullest potential. So far, they have.

But how could I possibly show you my children without introducing you to my lovely wife, Shelly. She's only five feet tall, but this little lady has propped me up for more than fifteen years. From the military days to the mullet years to the newlywed era to the family of four marathon we now find ourselves in, she's the main reason I'm not incarcerated today. Not only that, she's a tough-as-nails E.R. nurse who can pump a wino's stomach without batting a pretty eye. Best of all, she's totally unimpressed with all things television and even supports my late-night blogging habit. Here, she's giving me a get-lost grin that tells me, like Martha Stewart, she merely wants to focus on her salad. I love you, Shelly.

Well, there you have it - a peek inside my life far outside the newsroom. Just don't get too used to it. I promise to join you next time with yet another pithy epistle on the madness and magic of TV news. Hey, it's ALL I know...

One of THOSE days

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .You know, the kind of day where you wake up feeling like dirt, but aren’t quite sick enough to stay home so you go in hoping for an easy day. But then you get to the office and quickly realize It won’t be an easy day, but another ten hour shift of marathon newsgathering.

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .When you find yourself piloting a wobbly live truck all over the Piedmont Triad, watching helplessly as your assignment falls until you and your partner are finally dispatched to a story that’s not going anywhere - a fatal house fire.

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .When after popping off the obligatory roadside shots of a gutted Grandmother’s home, time stands still as you and your semi-callous news buddies loiter by the highway for what seems like hours only to be rewarded with fifteen seconds of barely-usable firefighter soundbite.

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .When you find yourself being berated by angry family members who are upset at you for standing at the edge of their personal tragedy with fancy cameras and high powered microphones, even if you’re doing so in a quiet, respectful manner as humanly possible.

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .When you watch the investigators take down the yellow crime tape and retreat to their favorite greasy spoon while you frantically edit footage, establish a signal and set up lights, tripod and cable - all while inhaling the very finest in Live truck generator fumes.

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .When you keep quiet behind the viewfinder and think about your own family as your reporter runs down the details of an elderly couple succumbing to the smoke inhalation in their sleep?

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .When at the end of the shift you avoid making eye contact with glaring family members as you roll up cable, take down lights and pack up gear - all the while becoming increasingly convinced you’re wasting your life processing random sadness into easily-digested video morsels for all the Piedmont to ignore over dinner.

You ever have one of THOSE days?

. . .I have, more times than I can count.