Musings of an Englishman who literally quit his life in Devon in mid-2012 to move to Tijuana to love a girl.
They ended up in San Diego where he became a TV anchorman (yes really...), they got married, and now they're living in England together.
Simple as that really.
Follow your heart, who knows where it will lead.

Crazy. Beautiful. Madness.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

News team... ASSEMBLE!!!!

IT SEEMS that man Andy Warhol was on the money when he asked the question: “Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?”
I’ve pondered that question a few times in the last eight weeks since starting work as an anchorman in San Diego.
Of course, when I mentioned my new job role out here my friends, acquaintances and former colleagues – naturally – laughed and joked… “anchorman”, “Ron Burgundy”, “Stay Classy San Diego” etc etc.
In two months I’ve had much of the film’s script shouted/texted/emailed at me.
I laugh as much as the next person, so it seems only natural to write about it all.
Finding myself living and working in this strange new world, I can’t help but try and relate to what I know about the city – thanks largely to Hollywood.
A). San Diego was of course the home of Ron and his Channel 4 News Team.

B). Much of the film, Anchorman, was shot here, including the iconic “BAAAAAAXTER!!!!” scene on Coronado Bridge.

"Well guess what... now this is happening..."
C). ‘San Diego’ translates to a “whale’s vagina”.
No wait… one of those is clearly wrong.
In getting to know the city I’ve actually been amazed to learn about how much of Anchorman's story imitates life here in America’s ‘Finest City’.
For instance, San Diego Zoo DOES have a ‘Panda Watch’ as highlighted in the movie.

'Panda Watch'
This week U-T TV used the footage of the amazing water-skiing squirrel as featured in the movie.
And comically, San Diego does have a crazy abundance of television news networks.
You remember the fight scene in the movie? The scene which involved a stupid amount of news crews?
While I haven’t seen a real fight between the networks here, it’s fair to say each and every one is fighting for the position of the city’s top news channel – including my very own U-T TV.
I’m from a UK city about a tenth of the size of San Diego.
On a typical high-profile news story there you’d probably see reporters from two newspapers, a couple of photographers from a newspaper and/or an agency, one or two radio stations, and no more than two television news networks.
Here, U-T San Diego is the only newspaper in the city, so on a typical news story you’re only likely to find one newspaper reporter and one photographer.
I’m yet to meet a radio news team on a job but – I kid you not – if a press event is called there will be at least six or seven television news channels represented – all covering the same thing for the same San Diego audience.
It’s a TV media circus and I lose count of the number of stations.

Media scrum
From what I’ve learned so far, there is Channel 5, Channel 6, Channel 7, Channel 8, Channel 9, and Channel 10 - and numerous others, depending on what story is breaking.
Of course each and every one claims to be the ‘local source’ and ‘leader’ in offering breaking news.
I can’t keep up with the number of networks which operate here in this county.
Attending these jobs and seeing the mass television media presence, I can’t help but laugh.

Last week the scene of a burst water main in the city resembled a scene from the Cannes Film Festival.
I actually heard a resident warn her friend, “don’t go north, you’ll get filmed…”.
When the mayor of San Diego called a press briefing at Balboa Park earlier on last week, he wore so many TV radio microphones on his shirt he looked like a human cyborg.
These types of scenes make me laugh each and every time.
And they remind me so much of the ‘fight’ scene in Anchorman.
You could argue that I’m biased, but in terms of presence and appreciation among typical San Diegans, the U-T is hard to ignore given its proud history and its newspaper/web/TV offering.
Anyhow, much of the buzz about town recently has been involved with Anchorman 2.
My first reporting job for U-T TV was actually covering the Anchorman 2 casting call in the city on a Saturday morning.

"When in Rome..."
For one morning this otherwise ‘quiet’ area of the city became a haunt for every potential Burgundy wannabe on the west coast.
With the possibility of being cast as an extra in the forthcoming movie, people travelled from far and wide to be a part of it.
Some extended their Friday night’s drinking and partying by staying awake through the night to attend the casting call; some queued for the sake of it without actually knowing what the queue was for; and others came properly dressed for the occasion with some pretending to be Burgundy’s long-lost brother.
Getting interviews with these people for U-T TV was easy as every single one of them was there for one purpose – to be on camera.
It was easy pickings and I can tell you, it was a WHOLE lot of fun.
People began queuing at 4am. By 10am there were roughly 2,500 people.

That escalated quickly...
At one bizarre moment U-T TV was stood alongside two other networks and out-of-town channels in the same spot. So naturally, we all interviewed each other for a laugh.
What did we discuss…? The sugar in our coffee? The best bad song in the last 20 years? I can’t recall. It was a surreal and funny moment nonetheless and the nature of the casting call’s movie only enhanced the comedy value.
As you can imagine each person who was selected as an ‘extra’ was sworn to secrecy.
The story goes that the extras found out the details an hour before the event via text or email.
We know one scene was shot at SeaWorld (with Ron involved in a ‘fight’ scene reportedly with a dolphin?!), and another was shot at Harbor Island, also in San Diego.

Will Ferrell at SeaWorld in San Diego
Sadly no-one could get an interview with Ron, sorry… Will Ferrell, so we’ll all have to wait and see how much of the movie is based here in San Diego when the film eventually comes out.

Ron and Veronica
One thing’s for sure though. With me in my new role, coinciding with the forthcoming release of Anchorman 2, the jokes and fun times will continue for a while yet.
Stay Classy… WORLD.

Oh, news just in... a new Anchorman 2 trailer has been released in the last few hours.
Copy the link into a web browser and take a look:

Twitter: @tristan_nichols

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