9/11 in the ‘Stan

well.. my day started at 0420 because I was meeting a runner at 0500 to get footage of him getting ready for the 9.11 Km Patriots Day Memorial run.

filmed him, filmed the run starting and then bumped into a photographer who offered me a ride out to the half-way point so i could get more footage – sweet. He said he was leaving immediately. 30 minutes later he’s finally ready to go so i pile into his van along with some civilian media that he’s escorting. As we’re starting to drive away, i look up and see the first effing runner about to cross the tape. I start yelling and pounding on the van to get his attention so that he’ll stop and let me out so i can get my crucial shot. yeah. he didn’t stop in time.

i’m a little annoyed, but since my main goal was b-roll of my runner for a personality piece that i’m doing on him for the AF Marathon, i decided to suck it up. I got set back up, got my runner going across the line, sweet. So i wander around, getting footage of people finishing, and got a few shout-outs… like ‘hi my name is _______ and i ran this because _________’. Most people did it because they were honoring the people who died in 9/11, one genius said that he did it for the free t-shirt. Haha, but i can’t use that.

So i rush back to my shop, digitize and lay out everything, then wait for 2 hours so that it can be approved so that i can load it onto the internet. When my (normally extremely cool) boss gets back from wherever, he’s really cranky that the civilian journalists from earlier had gotten their media out before myself and my photographer. I felt like a lame-ass, but really, i had been done the same time as the other people, i just had to wait for damn approval before i could release my footage.

So i start the upload. Since our internet is really slow and we can’t email big attachments, we load our stuff onto a site that then sends emails to whoever and notifies them that they can then download it and use it etc etc. As  military PA, our  product goes to a website called DVIDS which civilian media and random people access to get our stuff. So anyways, i uploaded my footage and set it to send a notifier to DVIDS so they could grab it and load it… It was about 0100 Eastern time, so hopefully it could get on the morning news. Once it was loaded, i started checking… nope. 30 minutes, still nothing. 40 minutes, still nothing. Normally they’re really good about posting stuff almost immediately, so i start to freak out and think that maybe i put their email address in wrong.. So i start my 40 minute upload again.

I finally emailed their editors and asked them wtf, they said ‘oh it’s loading’. 35 minutes later, it’s still loading. I finally told them that i wasn’t trying to nag or be annoying but that it’s time sensitive and they need to get their shit together before i threw a tantrum. Wala, magic. Go figure. It’s been about 3 hours and it’s still the most viewed video pushed today – yay me.

While all this was going on, a kid that i have a serious thing for was emailing me all kinds of sweetstuff.. theoretically its nice to missed, but today it just made me even more upset..

Onto the next annoyance-

When i joined the AF, i joined as a videographer. We work behind the camera and do all the editing. Broadcasters on the other hand are the TV personalities that everyone knows, loves and recognizes. They are trained in writing scripts and also extensively on how to have the sexiest narration voices possible – i’m not even joking. I remember a kid at technical training school back in the day had the deepest, hottest voice possible. I accidentally mentioned that to him, so he took great pleasure in whispering in my ear everynow and then would always laugh when i cried about my toes curling up.

Anyways. Mid 2007 someone important decided to merge the two career fields and call us all broadcasters, probably since they’re so similar anyways. I was excited because i’m nosy as ef anyways and it seemed like a fun new addition to the job. My real only complaint is that nobody was sent back to tech school to learn the other part of the job. Broadcasters who went through a week of video training were supposed to know all the nuances of our job, while we were magically supposed to know how to script and narrate a news story. Ha. Right.

Now the stereotype is that ex-broadcasters don’t know how to shoot and ex-videographers don’t know how to script.. I don’t  know how true that stereotype is in general, but it does notapply to me. Sue me for not being stupid, sue me for being an english major, sue me for actually watching the news, sue me for liking to write, but this shit is not difficult. There’s about a 10 second intro that i have to voice to every story, then it cuts to an interview voice, back to me for a transition to the next interview voice then i say, “Senior Airman Susan Tracy, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.” How is that possibly hard? occasionally when i’m not feeling the story it takes longer than it should for me to come up with my 5-8 sentences, but dude. Really? It’s not rocket science – plus we’re supposed to write for an 8th grade audience and avoid words with multiple syllables likes ‘audience’…

It kills me whenever i meet a broadcaster, i mention being a videographer, and they offer to help with my scripting. Why don’t they ask how i did with the merge, or just a broad ‘well if you need any help’? I don’t tell them that they mostly likely suck as shooters and offer my expertise 2 minutes into the conversation, so why the fuck should they assume that i suck at a an aspect to my job that i’ve been doing for over two years? I try reallyreallyreally hard not to get visibly cranky about it, but it bugs me.

There’s a chick at another base out here who’s been doing the job a lot longer then i have and when i met her earlier this year she told me she’d help with any questions i have while deployed. About a month ago i emailed her and asked her a question on marketing. We do a really good job with getting our print stories, news stories and pictures picked up by newspapers all across the world but for some reason the military media wasn’t taking my news stories. Print and pictures yes, tv no. I realized that i was submitting mine wrong so i emailed and asked The Man what i needed to change and he never got back to me, so i emailed that lady. I asked her: When submitting a story am I supposed to give them unedited clips, an edited story with my own titles, or an edited story with all the title information as an attachment. She responds with ‘oh if you need help scripting or voicing do blahblahblahblah’ and that basically if i can’t figure out how to do it, that i just give them an edited story without a voice over but write a suggestion and email it along with the story. <– NOT the answer to my fucking question.

I wrote her back politely, told her that i was doing okay with my scripting and narrating, gave her the link to our website so she could check my stories out, and repeated the question. She wrote back, said i was doing great (ha) and eventually answered… turns out i need to submit edited stories with the titles as an attachment. Not that difficult.

So now she’s in charge of the media related to the deployed AF Marathon. Cool. Last week she emailed all the media types in the desert and said that she wants everything up on DVIDS by the 13th. Thats a little rough on me because while everyone elses marathons have been happening all week, ours is on the 13th. I told her it wouldn’t be a problem and that mine is going to be a personality piece on a particular runner. 
 For me when i read/watch a story, i want someone to identify with. I don’t care about 10,000 runners, i want to know whats going on with one or two of them. I want to know their struggles, their conquests, what motivates them, etc. Thats why i decided to cover the run of one Airman instead of that of a blind mass.

today the lady emails [not me] one of my bosses and gives him a sample script that he can provide it to his broadcaster for help when they’re writing their script. So helpful, so kind. Except for the fact that a) i know what the fuck i’m doing and b) they’re covering the mass, and i am not. There’s only 4 people in my office here, there’s only one person doing my job, she knows this. It’s insulting not to be addressed directly and it’s very insulting for her to insinuate (again) that i don’t know what i’m doing.

i wrote her a polite email telling her thanks but that it wasn’t the angle i was going for. She wrote back and told me she was very excited to see my story.


she’s such a cool lady and someday i’d love to work for her but holyfuck am i annoyed right now.



~ by manjamanis on September 11, 2009.

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