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Welcome to my blog

Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. Over the next several months I will be preparing, planning, and shooting a documentary on historic Route 66. My actual trip begins in June. I hope to be back by July to start writing, and editing. I hope this will be an interesting look at what goes into producing a television documentary, and how the documentary is coming along.

A little background about me...
I am a broadcast video journalist with over 20 years experience shooting, editing, writing and field producing. I decided to "retire" from local news in 2009 to pursue the next phase of my career. Much of my experience is in local tv news as a Field Producer, and ENG Photographer, but the fundamentals of producing long form stories are the same as producing shorter news packages.
You are telling a story, plain and simple. The better you plan the better the final product will be.

Thanks again for reading, and enjoy the ride!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"West bound and down loaded up and truckin'...

We're gonna do what they say can't be done. We have a long way to go, and a short time to get there". Paraphrased from the song Jerry Reed sang in the movie Smokey and the Bandit , but it sure sums up this trip so far.
We left on Monday June 7th at 6am, and made it to Chicago in about, oh, 15 hours. If that isn't crazy enough, my 75 year old mother wanted to drive the whole way. She loved it! She says she should have been a trucker in her previous life. Those of you who know her can attest to her love of driving.
It rained most of the day on the 8th, but that didn't stop us from making it to the top of the Willis Tower. The view was great, and the staff couldn't have been more accommodating. We did run into a small issue when I was shooting exteriors. Guards told me I couldn't shoot the building entrance with the name on it even though I was on a public sidewalk. A little Nazi in a free country, but I let it slide. They did allow me to shoot the tower from the other side without the name on the building. So I did. I didn't really need the name. It's kind of like the artist formally known as Prince. People know it's the Sears Tower even if you change the name on it. I guess with 911 security needs to be on the look out? But do I fit their profile??
We left Chicago on the 9th just in the nick of time. The corruption trial for Governor Blagojevich was starting, and the Blackhawkes won the Stanley Cup. The place is a mad house!
I've shot over 4 hours of broll, and interviews so far, and it's only day 3. Everything is going well. Actually, too well! We have great stories already, and the best are yet to come. I met a man who is a local union member struggling to find work. We interviewed the owner of The Polka Dot drive-in restaurant in Braidwood, Illinois who says business is good because of the tourist.
We stayed over night in Dwight, Illinois on Wednesday where a class 2 tornado touched down along old Route 66 late Sunday night. And an iconic Route 66 restaurant called the Riviera burnt down on Tuesday in the small town of Garner, Illinois. Al Capone was known to frequent the speak easy in the basement during Prohibition to plan his "charity work". Are we bad luck for these people??
As my luck would have it, a stringer approached me today while I was shooting an interview in town today. I guess I still have that news look about me, because he asked if I was here covering the Riviera fire. He had great flame video of the fire (as you may not know, news producers salivate when they see good flames, and yes I did) so I struck a deal with him and bought his footage. It's only a small part of the story, but I thought it would help tell the tale.
Well, tomorrow is another day., and who knows what we will find. I'll update as things go along. Thanks for reading!

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