Q: Hey, TV reporter! Who writes your stories for you while you’re fixing your hair and makeup??
A: Unless my name is Jenna Bush Hager, nobody writes stories for me. I write them myself. This answer often surprises the questioner, until it’s explained: “That’s why so many TV stories are so poorly written.”
I would guess that I’ve written a majority of my TV stories on my laptop. My laptop is pictured to the left. It’s a yellow pad of paper. It typically sits in my lap while I work in the back of a live truck. At the end of the shoot, I view the day’s video. On the laptop, I make notes from the video.
Based on those notes, I write a script in longhand on the laptop (see below).
Frequently, a photographer must decipher the material produced on the laptop and use it to guide video editing decisions. The editor uses another laptop in the truck, the one that’s next to my right knee that’s hard-wired and chip-driven. It has Avid editing software. Unlike my laptop, that laptop is bolted into the truck.
Below, you’ll find video of the story produced during this particular shoot. Below that, you’ll find the product of my laptop. Feel free to try to follow along. (The notes don’t include the anchor intro or live shot ad libs.)
While you’re doing that, I’ll be applying a bit of blush.
Update: I’ve had to remove embedded video from WXIA, which was causing LAF to temporarily freeze up. You can still play along by dragging the handwritten script to your desktop. Open the desktop file, then click on my mug below. That will take you to the story on 11alive.com. Teams of engineers are allegedly trying to solve the embedded video problem as we speak. Ugh.