Let’s Focus!

Me in front of Camera

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!

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5 responses to “Let’s Focus!

  • Mara

    I haven’t had an internship yet, so I don’t have any experiences to share, but your job sounds so stressful and crazy! At least now you can look back on these situations and learn from them, and eventually, laugh at how crazy the timing was.
    The whole tweeting thing about the reporter you directed to the wrong camera is kind of funny. I guess appearance does mean A LOT to some people, since he felt the need to clarify the error to his followers.
    I can’t wait to read more about life at your internship! 🙂

  • sarakathleendalton

    I love the internships that are offered through the Cronkite school simply because they really give us students a sense of the real deal. I like that you don’t just talk about your achievements, but your struggles as well. It shows that having an internship really is a learning experience.

  • Shanda Hurst

    So I have to tell you that you are not alone in internship mishaps. So the worst rookie move I’ve pulled so far was when I accidentally took home a reporter’s SD card instead of mine. I was working Friday Night Fever for channel 12 and I could have sworn that two cards on the desk were the two I brought in. On Monday when the reporter came in to finish her story for that day’s newscast she had mine! I didn’t get the message until about 1pm that day and the show aired at 4:30pm. I felt sooo incredibly bad. I am lucky that my supervisors are super cool and said not to worry that it happens all the time. She should have also been more responsible for her SD card. The biggest thing I am learning as I am doing more and more in the industry is that you have to always be on your toes and check, double check and check one more time everything you are doing. I agree that you have to be extremely focused and a good multi-tasker. With so much going on around you though it’s so easy to make mistakes. Understand though that you are new and everyone knows that you are learning. I have learned that as you go even the viewers will forgive you as long as you are up front and don’t forget that you are also human.
    I think that is really rude of the anchor to tweet that mishap to the public. It wasn’t really all your fault. I have seen some really arrogant reporters and it amazes me because I am pretty sure they started out just like we did. They are not better than anyone else- just older and already have numerous amounts of mishaps under their own belt. But there are plenty under there just the same.

    • Brandon Garcia

      Wow that must have been intense knowing that you made a mistake even though it was an accident. But yes, that’s exactly my point, mistakes do happen! It happens to the best of us, it’s all about how you compose yourself and learn from these kinds of experiences. It’s good to know that there’s other stories out there that are just as bad, if not worse, than mine. Thanks for sharing. Feel free to subscribe.

  • The Best Part About Being an Intern « Not Exactly the Weatherman

    […] a few weeks ago, I told you my story about some of the worst experiences I’ve ever had at FOX 10. This time, I’m going to […]

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