There’s a creepy character who targets children in shopping malls at this time of year… I began. So far so good. It was the Monday before Easter. The heads of a few of my coworkers snapped in my direction, hoping to actually learn something they hadn’t already known.
Although the pitch was dead accurate, I was overselling the story. That was a problem. I don’t like to waste people’s time. Within a few seconds, they realized I was talking about the furry man-sized Easter Bunny characters who occupy shopping malls before Easter. There were groans, plus an acknowledgement or two of a “nice try.” The first time I pitched it, I also had a political story in my back pocket that I pitched as a backup. That day, I did the political story.
For the next two days, I pitched the same story the same way. By the third day — the day a coworker taped my pitch, which I incorporated into the Suspicious Package video below — everybody in the editorial meeting could almost recite my pitch word-for-word.Vodpod videos no longer available.
I had produced such a story at WAGA 15 or so years ago. I found it to be memorable, capped by my effort to actually interview the mute Easter Bunny character at Northlake Mall. He wouldn’t speak. (Moments before posting this, I located the video, embedded below. The paisley Jerry Garcia tie, and the “fox five eyewitness news” outcue, date this piece to about 1997– which means the crying children in this piece are exiting high school / entering college right about now.)
In the next few days following the shoot, I got — no joke — ten or more voice mail messages from a gravelly-voiced man with an Asian accent: Mr. Richards! You want real scoop about Easter Bunny? Call me up! Hahahaha!
By then, I’d already produced the story. But it inspired a potential sequel — a story as yet untold.
Maybe next year.