Multiple sources

Building the story's foundation:  Miss Lady Flex

Building the story's foundation: Miss Lady Flex

This week I got my first piece of hate mail at WXIA.  It could have been a critique of my prowess as a videographer.  That aspect of my Dragon*Con story, which aired Monday, was overlooked by the unhappy correspondent.

Had the writer carefully checked, he would have found that WXIA produced two pieces on Dragon*Con over the weekend.  Both were one-man-band pieces.  Photographer Stephen Boisey shot and produced his piece Saturday night.  I shot mine over portions of two days, then produced and delivered it Monday.

Boisey’s piece had better visuals.  He kept his eye out for the material that makes Dragon*Con the curiosity that it is:  Grown men and women in strange costumes.  He interviewed some of them.  He asked clever questions.  He pieced it together with some production music that’s stored in a library at WXIA.  It was a fun piece.  Regrettably, it’s no longer available on

Auteur mode:  Darrell Hazelrig (right)

Auteur mode: Darrell Hazelrig (right)

Visually, my piece was somewhat of a failure.  Every time I camped out looking for odd costumes, none came.  Instead, I got abundant video of mediocre costumes, as well as garden-variety spectators.  Whenever I saw the truly amazing costumes, my camera was nowhere nearby.

Sensing my near-panic, my friend Darrell offered to assist.  Darrell is a filmmaker and freelance video guy.  For the price of a beer, he helped ensure that my interviewees stayed in frame and in focus.  I was grateful.  The interviews saved the piece.

My interview with Dana Swanson especially saved the piece.  Swanson is “Miss Lady Flex” in an Atlanta musical act called Le Sexoflex.  She grasped my storyline instantly.  She and her three band-mates, who’d already planned impromptu performances at Dragon*Con,  gave the piece a helpful aural thread (once I substituted a naughty word.  Download Le Sexoflex’s highly listenable mix tape at no charge here.  Warning:  It’s shamelessly raunchy and utterly hilarious.)

Bottom line:  Once I realized I lacked sufficient video of crazy costumes, I solicited help from Eddie Ray.  He’s a friend and spousal co-worker who put something like a thousand Dragon*Con photos on Flickr.  He blessed my use of his photos.

Stephen talks to Mr. & Mrs. Pirate

Stephen talks to Mr. & Mrs. Pirate

Doug talks to Mr. & Mrs. Pirate

Doug talks to Mr. & Mrs. Pirate

If you view both pieces, you’ll notice that Boisey and I both managed to interview the same couple at one point.  Given the fact that some 40,000 people attended Dragon*Con, this makes perfect sense.

Boisey and I both got separate hate mail from different viewers who claimed we failed to show Dragon*Con sufficient respect.  We respectfully disagreed.  Both pieces showed a lot of affection for the event.

Meantime, I’m burying the lede:  An epic failure that encapsulates the genuine hurdles I have yet to overcome as a photographer.  I’m saving that story for the next post, though.

This entry was posted in WXIA on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

8 thoughts on “Multiple sources

  1. Fence Sitter

    I thought your piece was was quite amusing. I liked the shot on the escalator with the guy behind you holding the “BAWK” sign. Also, I haven’t seen the smells of DragonCon covered before, so that was an interesting angle. And anyone who has the time to obsess about whether DragonCon is being treated with sufficient “respect” by the media needs to get a hobby-that is, a hobby other than role-playing games.

  2. Nerd Defender

    So what if they dress funny. Who are these people hurting?

    I don’t really see anything wrong with Doug’s story, but the photographer’s package showed him being pretty rude to the people he interviewed, as was the anchor’s tag which basically came off as “send us your photos so we can make fun of you”.

    Dragoncon attendees in costume are simply expressing themselves and having fun. Does it matter if they’re getting dates or if they’re married? Why do they deserve to be mocked? And why do they need “a hobby other than role playing games”? Are people simply afraid of behavior that does not conform to what they consider societal norms?

    The costumed folks are not hurting a soul. They’re not shooting people, not molesting children and not dealing or doing drugs.

    Live and let live.

  3. arky

    Lemme guess… your “fail” had something to do with the odd digital cutaway from that woman in your interview. On the other hand, you’ve learned the upside of using an itty camera in some cases… had you flashed a big ol’ Iki with a Betacam deck while on an elevator or escalator, I bet you would have gotten something other than the natural casual indifference you captured here.

    By the way, what’s wrong with a little gentle ribbing aimed at people who would dress up in strange costumes? They do this to be noticed, do they not? When you deliberately open yourself up for critique, you can’t expect it to be all positive.

  4. William

    You have 3 1/2 minutes of local News air time and you spend 2 1/2 talking about smell? Was that the most interesting story you could have told? Was that the most informative? 40,000 people get together for 4 days and you could not find a better story? Would you have done the same for a concert or a bowl game? If you really believe it was the best story to tell, then I think your bias is showing.

  5. Some Other Mike

    Hm…fail indeed, but not for the reasons you’ve mentioned. You are likely going to receive a slow roasting over the next year+, as attendees run across the stories while looking for pictures/video from the con.

  6. itpdude

    Oh wah, so Doug makes a point that Dragon Con is a smelly affair. He could have been more honest (and not copped out with the “costume” excuse) and report also that many of the people who go to DC are computer/WOW geeks who don’t shower that often anyhow. Their diet sucks. Many are fat.

    They’re like Woodstock hippies except uncool.


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