Monday, August 11, 2008

Shooting stock leads to other events, sometimes.

Yesterday while my family and I were simply heading for an annual fest in a mountain campground, I figured, what the heck, I'll shoot some stock while there. Maybe get some time lapse footage of the drive up the mountain? Get some nice wildlife? Great idea. The point is, when you shoot stock, there is always an opportunity to get real stuff. However, in yesterday's journey, I got a lot more than I bargained for.

About halfway up the mountain we hit a roadblock. So did hundreds of others. The reason? The local Sheriff's department closed the road due to an accident that happened at 4:00am. It involved drinking, driving and teens. Yes, unfortunately there were fatalities. In any case, we got word from the Sheriff's dept. that the road would soon open (it was now about 11:30-ish in the late morning). Then an officer noticed that I had a camera running and asked if it would be O.K. with me if I would film the wreckage as it came down the mountain on the tow truck. They explained that there had not been any local media at the scene and that it would be good footage to get for the sole purpose of sending a message to the public. "Show the end result of drinking, driving and being an inexperienced teen driver." - They recommended that I also contact the media afterwards as they may be interested in such footage.

Now I am thinking to myself, what an opportunity! I have the Sheriff on my side, making sure I am updated by the minute and given clearance and room to film this tow truck along with all the other commotion. Can't beat that! In my mind I am thinking, this is one of those moments where I have valuable footage for sale today that the media wants! Cool.

Of course, after shooting all the footage, and then having gone to the fest, I told my family that we had better head on back so that I can render this stuff and see what I have and contact the media as well. So we headed back down the mountain, past the accident site, which just gave us an eerie reminder. Luckily at one of the pullouts I spotted a local TV truck with dish and all. I pulled over and approached the nice lady reporter and cameraman and asked if they would be interested in this footage. Needless to say, they were. We exchanged numbers, information and deadlines. Now the clock was ticking....

I had until 8:30 pm (mind you this is a Sunday), to get this footage over to the station. It would be aired on the 10:00 pm news. Well, the rest is history. I didn't sell the footage, but "donated if" for several reasons:

  1. There is a very important public message involved - I consider it a personal message to all teens.
  2. I do not want to profiteer off of other people's tragedies.
  3. I figured the worst that can happen is that I make a new friend with a local reporter.
  4. I got a bonus - the local news station gave me credit on the air by putting my website on any footage that came from me.

Now that's an opportunity you can't pay for.

So, I suppose there is a moral to the story. One can't always expect to get hard cold cash for everything you do (or shoot). But if you give a little, you most likely will get a lot back. Think about it, where else can you get more exposure than on the news and on top of that, in essence for free?

So please watch this news report. The intent is not to flaunt my footage, but to send a message to teens. So if you have a teen driver in the family, make sure they watch this too.

Thank you to Linda Garrett and all the KGUN9 (Tucson, AZ) staff for allowing me to help them get the message out. Video News segment courtesy KGUN9 Tucson, AZ

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