Friday, February 24, 2006

Caught a breaker

Pretty often my day will start with a phone call. When I hear it ring and it's getting near the time I usually leave for work, it might mean that I'm not heading up to Hollywood. I'm going straight to my assignment.

That's how it was on Wednesday.

"Bryan, we want you to head over to Crenshaw High School. A reporter and another photographer will meet you there, but you'll probably get there first."

Okay, time to rock and roll. I'm on the clock and every second I'm not there, I might be missing something important. You know I've been sitting on the sidelines a lot lately and I that's not how I like spending my time at work.

It's tough to balance the desire to work hard and keep a good thought in mind that nobody is getting hurt ( just so I can have something to do).

I'm in contact with the assignment desk, our chopper, and the crew heading over to meet me. In Los Angeles, we're not strangers to violence in our schools. Law enforcement takes it seriously and so do we.

When I arrive on scene there's plenty of activity, but nothing critical that needs to be shot. I check with the other crew to see if they'd rather I shoot ground footage or establish a microwave signal back to the station.

They're close and think I should work on the liveshot.

Okay, I fire up the generator, raise the mast and call the station so a technician in our RF room can coordinate with me to tune the signal.

My heart's pumping and I'm working up a sweat.

I am by myself until the other crew arrives. That can be scary, but there's no immediate threat to my safety. Cops are on one side of the yellow crime scene tape and I'm on the other.

The people around me aren't real happy to have me on the scene. Some walk up to me and ask me questions while I'm frantically working. . .wait, I don't want to say frantic, because that makes it sound like the situation is out of control. I'm rushing and I'm pressed for time, but the cables get laid out. Connectors are connected and plugs go into sockets. I could do this part in my sleep.

I just have to be careful in how I deal with the public. It's important to me that I try to accommodate their questions, but I'm working and I have a reporter to put on TV.

We did one liveshot, broke down the gear and moved to a better location closer to the command center. Officials for the school district and law enforcement representatives gave us statement and we did two more liveshots.

Two suspects had gotten onto the campus and got involved in a fight with a campus security guard. The security guard (they may be called School Police) suffered a broken nose and called for backup. Students may have begun to get involved in the altercation and a full scale response to the situation was put into effect.

The school was put on lockdown and the two suspects were arrested.

Confused parents arrived. Students were let out of school about two hours after the incident began.

Of course the students tried to screw with our liveshot. I'm reaping the karma of my mildly misspent youth. I'm sure I might have done the same when I was at that age.

The only reported injury was suffered by the security guard with the broken nose.

I'm glad it didn't turn out to be any more serious than it was. The two suspects I'm told weren't even students at Crenshaw High School.

That was about four hours of my shift. It amazes me, but once we did our last liveshot and stowed the gear, I was ready to move on to another story. Other stories happened and assignments were made, but I didn't get anything else that day. I've got no complaints. At least I had a major hand in getting this story on TV.

That was Wednesday and you know, I'm still gonna need something to do today.

I think I better be careful. It's kind of sick, but I caught myself grinning when I was out there throwing the liveshot together.

Sorry, I just enjoy what I do.

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