Your first few years in TV news will have enough challenges. There is simply no need add a bonehead mistake to the mix. I am talking about the kind of mistake that leaves you in your news director’s office feeling like you are ready to puke or cry or maybe both. It’s even worse if this mistake leads you to the GM’s office. I have seen every last one of these errors made, sometimes multiple times, and they are all extremely avoidable.
1- DO NOT have your camera stolen.
This seems simple enough, right? How about don’t leave a piece of equipment worth 5 figures in your car while you are grabbing a burger? How about take the camera in your apartment at night?
“My car was broken into” is not an excuse your ND or GM want to hear. Why in the heck was that very expensive piece of equipment not where you could see it? You live in a safe neighborhood, huh? No excuse. Take the extra 30 seconds to bring it inside. AC is good for the gear anyway. Be smart!
2- DO NOT spill coffee or water or coke in an edit bay
Put the cup or bottle on the ground. Just do it. I get that you are an adult and likely won’t spill your drink, but accidents happen. It’s not hard to reach down and grab your drink. If this sounds too hard, just think what it will be like to explain to your GM why your Mountain Dew made the keyboard “smoke just a bit.”
3- DO label your gear.
Put a business card or a piece of tape with your contact info on all batteries (those are pricey) and all wireless mics. You will likely be rushing back to the shop one day and leave something behind. It happens! Minimize the error by having a chance to get it back. I got a wireless mic I had dropped in the parking lot back because it had info on it.
4- DO NOT leave your camera on the tripod and walk away.
Why why why do I constantly see people doing this? If it falls, it’s toast. Do we need to go back to how much that thing costs?
“The wind got it”…”Some idiot ran into it”…”The audio cable pulled it down”… are not excuses that will get you out of trouble. If you have to walk away to go say hey to a someone, just take the camera down and put it on the ground. I promise you will have the energy to put it back up there when you return.
You may not get fired for any of these mistakes, but all of them would be a major strike and could lead to you getting the boot. They also make great stories for the rest of us when you do get fired. “The camera was in 5 pieces!!! It was hilaaaaaarious!” You don’t want to be that kind of legend.