Welcome to the PIT List!

I'm a network field producer who also worked in local tv as a line producer and field producer. Over the years, I have had the great fortune to work with super people. Now I'd like to pass along what I know and rant a tad.

"Dear Maggie..." pitlist@gmail.com
I check it sporadically, but I love answering emails, so if you have an issue or difficult person you need help with, don't hesitate to shoot it my way.

Maggie L

Maggie L
One of the rare times I'm in the office

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sending a reporter out of town

If you are fortunate enough to send a reporter out of town, make sure you maximize that opportunity and let us see standups to prove it. I was watching a mid-market show the other day and they had sent someone to DC. He might as well have stayed home. He did his standup at what looked like a chroma key and there were no cutaways of him anywhere in the video. The only way I knew he was in DC was his tag out. He should have shot ins and outs out on the street... maybe a birdge standup... and gotten cutaways for good measure. Maybe even a standup tease to put in the open? If you're spending the money to send him, might as well get as much as you can out of it.

Guest segments

Common mistake I see with guest segments... not having enough video to cover the segment. If the segment is 2:00 long... figure :15 intro, probably :10 to come out. Just to be safe, you'll want at least 1:30 cut. Err on the side of caution. If you don't, you end up seeing the same video repeated two or three times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Whistle While You Work/Write While You Log

This is a tip I wish I would have come to much earlier in my career. While you are logging, let the video you are watching inspire lines. You don't have to ever use them. You don't have to force to work them in. Just try to jot down whatever comes to you while you are logging video and sound. You'd be amazed after doing this for a while how more fluid your writing becomes. And by this I mean, instead of doing a script where this come here and that comes next, it sort of organically flows from one thing to the next.

You probably have some really talented and created photographers in your shop. Look for the shot that inspired them and let it inspire you, even if you don't use the line you come up with in the final version of your script. After all, without the pictures, we're just print or radio, so the writing process shouldn't be divorced from what should be driving your script- the video.

Some examples while I was logging tonight:

0030nk Nats from welder
“Believe or not… that’s the sound of money…”

00711q 1:41:26 Decent nats of construx. Pan up of bldg to crane
“Look around New Orleans and you’ll see a skyline punctuated by cranes…”

Not Emmy material but hopefully better than I would have come up with had I just saw down with my laptop.

GRANTED your average car crash might not merit this kind of attention, but give all the stories you are writing a quick look (at the video) to see what comes to mind. There might be something small that can distinguish your writing/story/show. Put a lot of these little things together and your overall package becomes better.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Story Idea: Recruiting Station Shooting

We're working the shooting that happened at a recruiting station yesterday in Little Rock. Thought of a couple stories that could be easy to turn in any market. One-- how are people at your local recruiting station feeling? Some guy just randomly shows up and starts shooting, allegedly because the two men were in uniform-- it would certainly give me pause if I were working at a recruiting station.

A second idea-- the victims were part of a program called the "Hometown Recruiting Assistance Program". It takes new soldiers and sends them back to their hometowns to help recruit. Generally the soliders are just back from basic-- so it's kind of like-- look how I've changed and grown in just two months. The programs last for two weeks and then the soldiers are off for more training. Might be intestesting to see if there are recruits doing this program in your area.