Sunday, 26 May 2013

TV News Cameraman And The Directions Of Doom.

In today's connected world, with smart phones, tablets and sat-navs it is a wonder that a TV news cameraman can still get lost. It does happen. This is not due to misinformation beamed from a satellite giving us the wrong address, or the phone GPS going tits up at a crucial stage of navigation... No.

Here be Dragons and Mermaids... And your job for the day.

What it is, is the people that you need to film have decided to meet you and your reporter in the middle of nowhere. In a field or woodland for example. Somewhere where the sat-nav cannot locate for there is no road, no house and no civilisation whatsoever. Somewhere there is no phone signal is desirable.

So they send your news producer a list of directions.

A list of directions that are straight forward in the mind of its warped local writer, but a list of directions into a portal of hell, frustration and gnashing of teeth for those that have to follow them. Me for example.

News producers I beg you, please get them to meet us at a findable location, then have them show us where to go by the act of following them. Do not, on any account, take a list of directions over the phone to Dingly Dell beauty spot in deepest Dorset last occupied by the missing link between Cro-Magnon and Neanerthal Man. (i.e. Dorset people) Otherwise you get something like this:

"As you leave Dorchester, take the third exit from the Tesco roundabout, (next to the pasty and gun shop) Follow the road for about 2 or 3 miles until you see a crossroads next to a large oak tree with a dead badger at its base. Turn sharp left, then the second left up a steep hill. At the top of the hill, you will be met by a Wizard who will tell you your quest. Turn back, taking the left fork in the lane onto an unmade road with potholes. (beware of the sheep.)

After 600 yards or so, there is a rickety bridge, ignore that. Turn into the gate 200 feet further on into a glade. (It's the one next to the willow tree that used to be there.) The copse of trees ahead of you at 65 degrees from the right angle to the fence post, next to the Beech tree, head for that. 72 paces Nor' Nor' West and up the grassy knoll is where you will find us. 0545 hours, Thursday morning. We will be the ones dressed as medieval Knights Templar, on the bouncy castle."

A cameraman will usually get these directions in January, during a snow and hail storm, in the dark. Please take a flask of hot coffee. Sense of humour is desirable, but not essential.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.