Friday, December 17, 2004

Neither rain, nor wind, nor. . .hey, you're right, it doesn't say "traffic"

Another day at the office. I feel like I'm getting more than my fair share of the Los Angeles freeway system this week.

My home away from home is getting quite a workout. I started my day heading to Fontana for an interview with the cops who made two arrests in a child molestation case yesterday.

We shot the interview and were on the way to shoot the skating rink location where the two men had allegedly committed the molestation. The girls ranged in age from 14 to 16. We couldn't get an exact number of victims because that details is important to the on-going investigation.

All the details stopped being important to us (only in terms of our direct involvement with the story), because we were pulled off for breaking news. A young kid had been hit by a car and killed in San Bernadino.

That meant another trip across the dark windy streets of the Inland Empire. I don't think I've stressed enough how many miles we've covered driving from one end of town to the other.

We were set up to meet with a news stringer and get the footage he shot of the crash.

In the picture, that's Tyrone. He's the stringer who shot the fatal accident. Stringers are independent news photographers who make their living selling video news footage to any and all news organizations. They often can get to the scene of breaking news faster than a crew being dispatched from the station.

Stringers often shoot with consumer grade camcorders. It can be lucrative, but I understand it can also be pretty brutal. You work long hours into the night and you always have to be ready to drop what you're doing to go out and cover the news.

My life is a model of stability in comparison. Some people really prefer it, but I wouldn't recommend it as a career.

There's something to be said for being your own boss and not having to dance to someone else's tune. . .

. . .and it's difficult to not be envious when I'm dragging myself back to the station after midnight, from a tour of the finer points of interest in San Bernadino County.

Both stories did air, but we couldn't make it to the scene of the accident in time to do our live-shot. We pulled over to a parking lot and fed back the footage we got from Tyrone. A lot of driving and a lot of effort. I'm glad I can come back the next day, but it's also good that even though we didn't make it on TV, I still get paid.

So far this week, I think I earned it.

TGIbF (Thank God It beFriday)


Ruby in Paradise said...

Amen to TGIbF! : ) It was interesting to learn about what a "stringer" is. A stringer sounds like a different version of the paparazzi. I hope you get to "drive" into your driveway, park and relax for the weekend! :)

Jack's Shack said...

The Inland Empire is one of those areas that I just avoid. The only thing I know about Fontana is that it is mentioned in those GuitarCenter ads. ;)

beFrank said...

TW - Most of these guys chase disasters more than celebrities. Most people don't know that guys like me work 8 hour shifts and go home. The stringers fill the gaps on most of the overnight crime, fire and accident coverage. During fire season, they rock.

beFrank said...

JS- I know the feeling. It can be a pretty big downer to get an assignment there on a Friday afternoon during rush hour traffic.

I've found people who are the opposite of the Inland Empire stereotype and I've also met people who the stereotype is probably based on.