My paying gig as a TV news cameraman at KCRA in Sacramento has become much more demanding over the past year, and even more so in the past month. Frequently I return home late and exhausted, yet exhilarated at the same time. I have been a TV new cameraman since 1983 and I have had many strong, creative and productive streaks in that time, yet I feel that right now is one of my most productive and satisfying.
The reason for this new burst of adrenalin for the job has been that I am now being allowed and encouraged to be my own reporter as well. I blogged about this some time back under the heading “Naked News.” Since my very first interest going back to grade school was in writing, which then lead into screenwriting and filmmaking, being given the opportunity to work as my own reporter and write my own news scripts fuels my writing genes.
Don’t be mistaken — it doesn’t make the job any easier!
It’s very easy to shoot a TV news story, or a couple TV news stories in a day, then get the scripts and chop them up into how they will air on the news at 5 or 6 or 10 or 11.
Since taking it upon myself to step up and to do more of the work myself — the shooting, interviewing, logging the footage, figuring out what interview sound bites to used, writing the words — words that don’t just represent myself as a writer but which also must represent KCRA, one of the most professionally respected news gathering organizations in the country. Not to mention write all the anchor introductions and tag outs. And have it all told in about one minute and thirty seconds — oh, and get it in before deadline. The pressure compounds to several times more responsibility.
But at the end of the day, to leave work and head home having done stories entirely by myself — in keeping with my filmmaking methods — makes it all much more satisfying. Nothing can replace the sense of accomplishment in life of doing a job by yourself — whether it’s maintaining your yard, repairing your house, replacing a faucet, making a film or doing a news story.
Since being given this opportunity — and trust — I’ve been trying to do one news story of my own a week. In the past week, however, I’ve done three. One that I initiated on Christmas shoppers trying to watch their pennies and dollars this Holiday season buy purchasing the small things — decorations, stocking stuffers, wrapping paper, etc. — at 99 Cents Only stores. On two other days I was given stories and asked to turn them around into reporter packages*, which I did and are linked here to kcra.com —
A young Sacramento couple, the Holadays, who started their family with quintuplets, who were born premature on October 6, 2010, and are only just now being allowed to go home for the Holidays.
And this story about Audubon Society members who annually do an after-Christmas bird count of the species and birds in the Sacramento area.
This has been a growing trend in TV stations across the country and one that I intend to jump into and embrace.