When our newest Anchorman slash Reporter Dude and former Survivor Contestent Jeff Varner was on Rock 92's Two Guys named Chris morning show last week he described the experience of anchoring for the first time on the weekend news as a train wreck.
So it's appropriate that his first outing on a Spot News run was a train wreck. Literally.
I met Jeff at the door of the station promptly at 9:30 and we packed our rations... Imean gear... into a live truck and we set out on a journey that would take us across the outback... I mean Davidson County.
We arrived in Spencer, NC, aka; the train capital of the world to the sight of 7 remaining overturned or otherwise displaced freight cars. I quickly sat out to get the most video I could in the shortest time possible. Jeff began the search for immunity...I mean, official sound.
We worked quickly, finding a couple of people gawking at the train wreck, including an Amtrack Volunteer who wandered to the area after Amtrak cancelled it's routes due to the track closure. And there was this adorable little boy who was full of train facts and figures. He said he's seen train wrecks a million times, but only on TV.
We were the lead live shot for the Noon News. This was Jeff's first live shot since joining our tribe and it was outstanding. We pulled together a 40 second package using the Amtrak guy and the kid nestled with video of train workers on another live long day.
After the noon shot and a quick lunch with our great Sat Truck operator, Danny Spillane, we headed to the Salisbury Amtrak station. We were hoping to flesh out some kind of sidebar to push the story into the 5 and 6 o'clock news.
Finding the lady who took the bus from Raleigh to Salisbury after riding the train from Orlando was a stroke of luck. She was a great interview for our story. But when the district manager of the NC Amtrak Depots showed up we were we received instant immunity. And he was a great interview too!!!
It wasn't too long before we were back at camp...I mean, the site of the derailment. We shot a couple of teases and then hacked out a 1-minute story for 5 and a 1-minute 19-second story for 6. We were live for both shows. Jeff performed these, his #2 and #3 live shots in his new employment, with the grace and poise of a seasoned professional.
I was almost disappointed that our day was done. Like I'd been voted off an island or something. Or maybe we were the winners.
Where's my million bucks?
One thing's for sure, take a survivor to a train wreck and you are bound to have an interesting time.