Let’s focus on what goes on inside the studio. As a Floor Director, I’ve experienced a heck of a lot of, to say the least, disasters! I’d like to share with you my top 3 disasters of all time as a Floor Director at FOX 10:
Disaster #1: What’s Going On?
About a month ago, I encountered one of my biggest problems yet. One of my duties is to make sure that all of the microphones and IFBs (the anchors’ earpieces) are in good working condition. I change all the batteries daily and do mic checks. I take pride in making the anchors’ life on the desk as stress free as possible. If they look bad or don’t know what they’re doing on TV, then that means I’m not doing my job. There’s also times where things might happen that are totally out of my control, but still come back to haunt me. This was the case in my very 1st disaster. It was just another typical evening newscast, and before I knew it, things took a turn for the worst! First of all, a few lights went out on me. This can be detrimental because appearance and looks mean everything in a broadcast, especially now with everything being in HD. So a few lights going out is definitely going to show up, so I was able to change and fix everything minutes before the show started. What I’ve learned as an intern is to never let your guard down, once you think the coast is clear, a whole new storm comes crashing down. Once the anchors sat down, we all noticed that it was hotter inside the studio than it was outside. That says a lot when you consider we were going through temperatures exceeding well over 100 degrees! It was my job to check the air and make sure it was working, but it wasn’t and there was nothing I could do. So we had to sit through an entire newscast in unbearable conditions. Then, the next thing hit. The weatherman tried to do his main weather news, and that’s when someone yelled through my headset: “Tell him to turn his mic on!!” That wasn’t a very fun experience, but hey he mentioned me on TV so that didn’t hurt at all. Between lights going out, anchors upset about the hot studio, and the weatherman who forgot to turn his microphone on, this was a newscast to forget!
Disaster #2: What Camera am I on?
So my main responsibility during the newscast is to tell the anchors which camera to look at. I know what you’re saying, “how could anybody screw that up?” Well let me explain to you how I did just that. At FOX 10, the cameras are robotic, meaning that they move on there own and frame the shots automatically. There are no cameraman used during a newscast except for when you see the reporters. These cameras are so sensitive, that if anything hits them in any way, shape, or form, they essentially shut down. On the day of disaster #2, two cameras crashed into each other in the middle of the newscast. This made my job a whole lot harder than it had to be. I quickly had to run 2 cameras and try to reset them at the same time so they would go back to being robotic. In the mean time, I was trying my best to let the anchors know what camera to look at. Being a Floor Director is tough when situations like this happen because when disasters happen, you have to be able to FOCUS and get the job done without freaking out the anchors. In this particular situation, I was too busy multitasking and I told the anchor at the time to look at the wrong camera he was supposed to look at. For someone watching at home, it probably isn’t a big deal at all, but to anchors it makes them look foolish and it upsets them. This particular anchor was quite upset, but understanding since he knew I was juggling a number of tasks. I felt bad, but that wasn’t the end of it. I noticed later on Twitter that this anchor had tweeted about his floor director pointing him to the wrong camera. That’s when I realized this was really a disaster, hence being #2 on the list.
Disaster #3: Lights, Camera, Action… Wait where are the lights??
I told you earlier in Disaster #1 about having a few lights in the studio go out, but a couple weeks ago, I had the unthinkable happen. Let me recap the turn of events that happened during what was supposed to be just another newscast at FOX 10. It was during the weather segment. Everything was going fine, the anchors were happy, everything was working like it was supposed to. The weatherman was standing in front of the green screen doing the weather news when all of a sudden, every single light in the studio shut off. I went from sitting in my chair waiting for the weatherman to finish to having all the lights go out at the same time. It didn’t even really dawn on me that anything had happened until someone yelled in my headset asking what happened to the lights. That’s when I started to freak out. I ran all the way to the back of the studio and looked at the lighting board, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. All the lights were supposed to be on, but they weren’t. The weatherman ended up just not being on camera and talking about the weather news. After that, we went straight to a commercial. When I watch TV at home, I hate commercials, but at this very moment, commercials saved my life. During the commercial, I had 2 minutes and 30 seconds to figure out where we were going to do the news from because clearly, the lights in the studio weren’t going to work. What ended up happening was I moved a camera in the studio next door where they do the morning show. On top of that, I had to make sure the anchors had access to the teleprompter. This was by far the most stressful 2 minutes and 30 seconds of my life. The anchors did a good job cooperating with me and the rest of the show went well. As it turns out, the lighting board had died during the actual newscast which explains why the lights went out.
It was because I had FOCUS and determination to get through some of the things that happened to me in these situations I told you about. People aren’t going to remember you for what you do on a regular basis, they remember and appreciate you even more when they see how you handle situations like these. So now that I’ve told you some of my worst experiences as an intern, let me hear yours!