Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clunkers, Clouds, and a Cameo

It's Sunday, and this morning I went to church. Leaving inspired and rejuvenated, I decided on a lunch date to Panera with my laptop. Sitting in one of the prized booths next to an outlet, I'm catching up on my emails and taking sporadic bites of my panini. I just sent Rob, fellow journalist and friend, a response to his email I received at the beginning of the week. I unleashed some of the feelings I've been harboring since last night, when I left the station at 11:46 PM. I figured this makes for a good blog post.

I'm sorry I'm just now getting back to you. My weekend has been pretty crazy. Yesterday I worked at TV20 as a fill-in reporter for the 11. They sent me to Chiefland for a "cash-for-clunkers" package. On the way back to the station, my producer asked me to drive to Hawthorne to get a vosot on a man who fell from a water tower. To save time, the assignment desk gave me directions from Chiefland to Hawthorne. I guess sometime between pulling out of the car dealership and steering with my knee while searching for a pen, I misunderstood the directions. For the next 45 minutes, nothing but me and WCJB's white hyundai were on a long two-lane road, smack dab in the middle of a thick forest that reminded me of The Blair Witch Project. Having no service on my cell phone, I began to panic. At the first sight of human life, I pulled over. I grabbed my useless cell phone thinking that if I was abducted, at least I could pray for a miracle. A woman wearing overalls and chewing a piece of hay was selling peaches. Great, I was closer to Georgia than TV20. The woman gave me directions back to Gainesville. I put the pedal to the metal and called my producer at the first bar of service. She still needed the Hawthorne video.

 I make it to Hawthorne Road. Up ahead I see dark clouds stirring together. I was approaching a severe lightning storm. When I couldn't see anything but the powerful bolts striking two feet from my car, I pulled over. I called my producer and explained my life was in danger. "Kristin, try to stick it out. We need this vosot. It's leading the show," she says. It wasn't long before I found myself hovering under a tree with my tripod and camera, getting video of a tall, METAL water tower surrounded by WATER. Good thing the rain didn't short out my camera...right? As soon as I got back to the station, I jumped in an edit bay and got to work. At 10:53pm I delivered my package. Wait. I forgot to insert super times in my script. My friends watching at home say they saw my graceful sprint behind the news anchor, as I booked it across the studio to the control room to give the director my cue sheet for supers.

Yesterday, time was not on my side. In the short hour I had to edit, I was forced to repeat video and use shaky shots. Not mentioned in my email, but will be explained to my news director on Monday, was the lack of footage at the car dealership. I wanted to get video of a customer bringing in their clunker, interacting with the salesman, etc. Of course when I got to Chiefland I had, "just missed the wave of cash-for-clunkers customers," (said the GM).

When it's all said and done, the important thing is, I survived. I did the best with what I had to work with at the ghost-town of a car dealership, made it to Hawthorne without getting struck by lightning, filmed the water tower without getting electrocuted, didn't trip and twist my ankle while sprinting to the control room, and my cash-for-clunkers package made slot.

Here's a link to my package, (watch for my cameo run during the anchor intro).

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