Sunday, June 15, 2008

What Exactly Do I Do?

It's hard to describe my current job.  I type graphics for live, televised sporting events.  The best way I can think of to explain what I do is this:  When you watch a game on TV and see a statistic on the screen describing what the player or team has been doing that night or that season or in history, I'm one of the people who types that stuff.  Does that make sense?  I run two different kinds of graphics machines, depending on the network and the show.  They are the Chyron Duet and the Vizrt.  The next time you see a Yankees game, think of me when a graphic that says "Derek Jeter is 1 for 2 with an RBI Double" appears on the screen.

I'm a freelancer, so I work for whomever calls.  Since I've been doing this for quite some time (12 years now), I have a routine from season to season:  College basketball for ESPN in the winter; Yankees and Mets home games (not all of them) for the YES Network and SNY, respectively, in the spring and summer; ESPN's coverage of the College World Series in June (where I am at this moment); Little League World Series for ABC/ESPN in August; college football in the fall (except this coming season due to a 5-week trip to Japan).   It's interesting work, especially for someone who loves sports like I do.  I work the sports I know (basketball, football, baseball) and try to avoid the ones that baffle me (hockey, soccer).  There's a lot of travel during the fall and winter, but having the Yankees and Mets lets me stay home for most of the summer.  

So here's the usual setup for a game.  I sit next to my font coordinator, also known as the associate producer, who does all of the research before game. The producer and sometimes the announcers also make graphics requests as well.  My job is to type all of the information, make sure everything is spelled correctly and looks nice on the screen, and recall the pre-built graphics in a timely fashion.  Speed and accuracy are key.  During the game I listen to my AP, the stats guy, the director, the producer, and the announcers.  Based on what's going on in the game, we call up graphics we've already built, or we type new ones on the fly.  As slow a game as baseball appears to be, there's a lot going on for us.  

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