Saturday, 10 August 2013

The 15 Laws Of TV News Gathering.

Filming for the TV News has a certain inevitability to your working life. Being in the news business will guarantee that certain things in your working day will happen... As the old saying goes, 'If it can happen, it will happen.'

I only went for a coffee... the Loch Ness Monster appeared 30 seconds later...

 Not necessarily all the time, but if you hang around TV news people for long enough, you will start to recognise the laws of the game, as well as the dead, far away look in their eyes. The laws are many and multi faceted, but here are a few to get you going... Many of you will recognise some if not all of them.

1. Whilst waiting for many hours for something to happen, light a cigarette. Go for a coffee or a toilet break. What you are waiting for will then happen.

2. When you get your lighting kit out, the sun will appear. Conversely, when you put your lights away, the sun will go in. This is known in scientific circles as 'The lighting Cameraman's quantum theorem of light equation on a sliding Kelvin scale.'

3. Lunchtime will be around 3 in the afternoon when the local pub has finished serving lunch. You will make do with a day old service station sandwich. You will also be late home for your evening meal.

4. The best stories of the day will always be somewhere else, covered by the person least qualified to cover it.

5. Someone will always call in sick on your day off, making it necessary for you to set your alarm at 4:30 to cover their early shift.

6. The really big breaking news stories will be at 3am, in the dark and when raining in deep winter.

7. Just as you complete your voice over and edit on the in depth business story you have lovingly crafted, the boss will call to inform you that it has been bumped for a breaking sports story.

8. The 'just a quick story' line from producers is a false one. It will always turn into a bloody nightmare lasting most of the day.

9. Desk bound news producers will always think that you can just 'pop' between Southampton and Northampton in rush hour.

10. Your wife and kids will be asleep when you finally get home.

11. When filming in public, passers by will always ask... 'What's goin' on 'ere then... Anyone famous..?'

12. Never say... 'This is a great piece of kit, it has never let me down..' It will promptly let you down.

13. Cable runs will always find a pile of dog shit / sick / snot.

14. Traffic queues will always form when you are in a hurry with a deadline.

15. TV camera top lights are idiot magnets. Someone will always dance, pull faces and say 'hello Mum..!' as you are about to go live.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.