I already know I'm going to Pueblo today, but that doesn't mean I can't complain about it anyways. To make matters worse, I'm going there to shoot the Wild Wild West Fest parade. Now I'm by no means a country girl. I grew up in a Chicago townhouse, listening to rap music. The closest I got to the country was the petting zoo at the county fair. Don't get the wrong idea, just as I've got nothing against glasses, I've also got nothing against country folks. In fact, many of them are quite nice. The problem comes when you want me to hang out on a sidewalk taking video of horses and other rodeo animals, who for some reason always have to poop right in front of me! Gross!
It is cold and cloudy and the sky is threatening rain. I just want to get out of here! I never understood why someone would want to sit on a cold street curb watching people they don't know parade by. It sounds miserable to me. At least I'm getting paid.
I hear a siren in the distance. It's finally starting. I roll on the first few floats, get some video of John Elway (this year's grand marshal) and wait for our news float to come by. Ten minutes later, I'm still waiting. I swear they did this on purpose. It was almost as if someone said, "Jessica can't leave until we come by, so let's be at the very end so she has to stay for the entire thing!" The girl scouts march by, then some miniature horse pulling two very large people, some more loud trucks, the boyscouts, some pagent winners...no news float. And then, like God heard my prayers, I see it in the distance. The large peacock is making its way towards me. Hooray! As it approaches I hit record and smoothly follow it by. And then, as quickly as it approached, it is gone again. I can't belive I waited all this time for that! I lousy three seconds of video of the outside of a news car. Oh well, at least I'm getting paid.
After the parade it's on to the next event, the duck drop. The only problem, all the streets are shut down, meaning I have to go about ten miles out of my way to get there. The other problem, I don't really know where "there" is, and this truck doesn't have a map book in it! Sigh. Why me? I get out and ask some guy standing in the road. He seems to think that I'm going to completely wrong direction and I should turn around and go back through the middle of town (where all the parade traffic is). I wish I could argue, but I'll have to take his word on this one. I reluctantly flip and u-turn and head back into the chaos.
By the time I reach the location of the duck drop I've had it with festival traffic. This is why I don't come to these things! They are a pain in the ass!! I see an open spot and break about three laws getting to it, before holding up traffic while I flip another u-turn and park. I really don't want to get out. I need more coffee, or chocolate, or something. My hand latches onto the door and I open it, letting the cold air rush in. I whisper to myself, "here we go" and hop out of the drivers seat.
I set up in what looks like a good location, and before I know it the organizer has spotted me and is making her way over. It's amazing how noticable the camera is. I love it when my interview comes to me :-) She tells me about the event, and the money they have raised. I ask how I'll know when it is going to start and she says not to worry. There is going to be a big countdown before the rubber duckies are dropped into the river. Nice, I think, I can relax until then.
Lesson learned from this event, pre-record is your friend. So I'm sitting, relaxing, waiting. I listen to the band playing country tunes, and people watch along the shore. All of a sudden, no countdown, no drop those ducks, I see 9500 ducks being dropping in the water. Damn! I missed it. The money shot is over and I missed it cause I was sitting on my butt. There is nothing I can do about it now... but learn from my mistake. In this business you gotta be ready for anthing, at anytime. Just because it is supposed to happen one way, dosnt mean it will. And if it doesn't you better have a plan.
As I drive back to the springs I'm mentally beating myself up for missing the shot. It really isn't hat big of a deal, but I'm pissed anyways. Not really the best mindset for writing, which is the journey I'm about to embark on next.
Today is supposed to be my first day of one-man-banding. Since I've never really reported before, my boss thinks it would be a good idea for me to write shorter stories for the anchors to read (vsv's). I'm glad she wants me to start taking baby steps, but apprehensive about how all this will turn out. I can't help but think that someone else could do it better. But I'm the girl. It's all me today, so there is no use worrying. I just gotta get it done.
The cursor on the computer is flashing at me. Almost like it is staring me down. I don't know how to start. What do I write? How do I do this? I'm not really used to having this problem. Normally I'm asking myself do I have enough video? Today it's, do I know all the information? Luckily it is only three, so I have two hours to write two vsv's. If I can't do an adequate job in that much time, well then just fire me now!!
I struggle through, but get it done. At five I'm sent out to do a live shot for another one-man-band, so I never actually get to hear my words read on air. It's probably better that way. I don't need to hear how awkward I sound. I can only hope this whole writing thing gets easier. I'm sure it will. When I look back at the stories I show from a year ago, I can see how much I've improved. I can only hope, in a year from now I'll be thinking the same about my reporting.