We've all been there. You've got a boring assignment. You've got a video poor story. You've got to fill almost two minutes of television with something.
We (news photographers) all run into restrictions to our daily deadline, every day. So how do you reconcile making slot while fulfilling your need to create something artsy and tasteful? Assuming you haven't resigned yourself to just mailing it in, bouncing some RF around your coverage area, and making sure your interview subjects don't look like smurfs... This is a question that plagues you on a day to day basis, or maybe at least once a week. (Let's be honest, we all also have those days when all we want to do is catch a lunch break and make sure we make slot. I get it... but in my opinion, if you're doing this job because you love it and not just for the paycheck, there's still that itch to be creative. :::GASP:::)
Find a character, pin a lav on them, find some nats, make a quick sequence, put it on TV, and in doing so, stick it to the man... Find your little victory for the day.
There is no reason that those of who desire to be creative in our craft should resign ourselves to simply slapping it together to make air. I get it, believe me... I GET it. Some days, many days, most days, there is no alternative. But that alone should be fuel to the fire of your creativity.
When you're pulling almost 50 hours a week chasing fires, wrecks, and real estate... default yourself to embrace that one interview and b-roll opportunity that allows you to do what is that you know you were put on this earth to do... MAKE TV. When it comes together, it's a beautiful thing. When it falls apart, it'll bug you for a day or two, but trust me... you'll get over it.
Just remember a few things: 1) A good craftsman, never ever blames his/her tools. Don't suggest a technical debacle because you double punched or forgot to white balance. Embrace your errors, own them, learn from them, and move on. 2) You're only as good as your last story. Shoot a banging story on Monday and catch a burner on Thursday? They won't remember your memorable moments from the beginning of the week, they'll only glance at your oversights. It happens, you're an adult and people screw up. You don't have a biblical plague on your hands. Move on. And 3) You're ALSO as good as your last story. You know it and the boss knows it. Otherwise, you wouldn't have been given the assignment, and you were likely given it for a reason. Celebrating your accomplishments is not bragging because, and I'm quoting a good friend here... "It ain't braggin' if it's the truth."
When you have a questionable day in television news, remember that you are doing a job that few get to and that many people in this warped world covet. If a banker screws up, there's typically a wave of repercussion. If a food worker screws up, people get sick and sue the restaurant. If a lawyer fails to make his argument effectively, people go to jail. We get the chance to right our wrongs from day to day.
It's not rocket science, it's only live television. What could possibly go wrong?