Death In The Family

Too much death lately. Far too much.

It’s been a couple of decades since I left the exhilarating, exhausting grind of local TV news. I wish the industry had grown up more since then. Truth be told, I think it’s now filling more air time with less info & wisdom, and more banality. But I knew, and know, so many very good people in the business, trying every day to make a difference.

Alison Parker & Adam Ward, WDBJ7 A gunman killed the reporter & videographer during a live broadcast Wednesday morning.

Alison Parker & Adam Ward, WDBJ7
A gunman killed the reporter & videographer on live TV this morning.

It’s tough — one of the lowest-paying industries you can find that requires a college degree — and almost entirely without its supposed ‘glamour’. Very few have the aptitude for it, or are willing to make the daily sacrifices required by it.

Though I’m only involved in live broadcasts a few times a year now, once you serve ‘in the trenches’ you are, as Jaye Watson says here, ‘one of us’. And so this morning’s tragedy in Roanoke feels, somewhat strangely, like losing family. But read Jaye’s piece – he says it better than I can.

(Thanks to WFSB’s Dennis House for posting Jaye’s essay.)

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This Morning’s Lyric – Constructive Summer

Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer
I think he might have been our only decent teacher
Getting older makes it harder to remember
We are our only saviors
We’re gonna build something this summer

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Emmy Nomination!!

From the Connecticut Network (CT-N) Facebook page:

We're thrilled to share that our education program "ADVOCACY: Turning the Gears of Democracy" has been nominated for a Boston/New England Regional Emmy Award!

Posted by Connecticut Network (CT-N) on Thursday, April 30, 2015

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“Still Revolutionary” Succeeds



The Governor’s office has sent out a press release touting the gains made with the “Still Revolutionary” tourism campaign for Connecticut.  The numbers indicate much success — it’s raised the state’s profile and driven huge amounts of traffic to

Bill Flood Productions is proud to be a part of that campaign, promoting hiking trails throughout the state.  You can check out the “Tales From the Trails” series on the CTvisit YouTube channel.

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(iPhone 4, FCPX)
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I Almost Died Shooting This Video

Here’s the first in a new series of videos I’ve produced for the Connecticut Forest & Park Association:

This first video focuses on CFPA’s most well-known activity, the Blue-Blazed Trail System, and an ambitious idea to link the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut with the New England Trail.  I didn’t think it would be dangerous.

Of course, video production can put you in some precarious places.  (One Forensic Files shoot on a highway bridge over the Delaware River, with traffic seemingly inches away, was particularly harrowing.)  But I didn’t expect to be seconds away from disaster in the pleasant woodlands of Connecticut.

We were shooting volunteer Joe Hickey’s interview at CFPA’s Middlefield headquarters, in their outdoor amphitheater.  Joe sat down, and I went to clip a mic on him when we both heard a VERY loud “CRACK!”

And suddenly the trees were moving. And so were we.

A quite large tree, half broken but hung up in the canopy, finally gave way and came crashing down. The tree top knocked over the camera and tripod, and landed right on my chair.

Joe immediately went over and tried to lift the tree aside.  His first instinct was apparently “Yup, more trail to clear.”  Typical trails guy.  We pulled the chairs out.

Folks in the CFPA building, a good distance away, heard the boom and rushed outside.  I picked up the camera, and turned it on just to check it. (You’ll hear Joe refer to me as “Jim”. We had just met. But we’re bonded for life now.)

After catching our breath, we moved the chairs and set up the camera again. Whaddya gonna do? I had an interview to shoot.

This wasn’t my first close call. Working out in the field always has its surprises.

Back in my news days, I was out with WTNH photographer Joe Fox late one winter night, following Wallingford police as they chased down a robbery suspect. (He had exchanged gunfire with an officer; both missed). We were all standing around, on Hartford Turnpike I believe, when we heard an engine roaring down a nearby hill. Tires screeched. A car careened around a corner. Cops scurried. Joe hopped over the guardrail, camera on his shoulder. I was in the middle of the road, and on first instinct I started running to get behind the news car.  I realized, in a millisecond I guess, that plan was seriously flawed. I dove headfirst over the guardrail. I swear I was in mid-air when I heard a huge collision. I landed in the snow, scrambled up the short bank, and saw the back of the newswagon (I think it was a Chevy Celebrity) completely caved in and resting where I had originally been headed.

The other car had bounced off our vehicle and spun around into the middle of the road. About 10 cops were pulling the driver and passenger out of opposite sides of the car. They were both unharmed, and quite obviously completely drunk. As the police made the driver ‘walk the line’, Joe flipped on his camera light and started taping.

I imagined that guy’s thoughts: “I’m drunk. I crashed my car. I did it in front of a dozen cops. And now I’m on TV! Not good.”

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Making My Friends Kinda Famous


National Trails Day is coming up, and when the print materials for Connecticut’s celebration came out, I was pleasantly surprised to see the backs of some familiar heads.

The Connecticut Forest & Parks Association selected one of my photos to be the main picture on their posters and brochures throughout the state.  The photo shows some good friends (from behind) high above the ‘twin reservoirs’ on the Mattabesett Trail.  It’s a few years old — the baby in the backpack is finishing up first grade now.  My friend Dan’s bald spot has remained about the same.

You can pick up a brochure listing events throughout the state at any public library or Stop&Shop store.  Trails Day weekend is June 1st & 2nd this year.

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Video: Connecticut State Parks Day

I had the great honor and pleasure to work with the Friends of Connecticut State Parks, a collection of non-profit groups dedicated to supporting state parks and forests.

The State Parks system is hosting a centennial celebration starting this summer.  100 years of fun, recreation and conservation is something to be proud of, but even as Connecticut State Parks round the century marker, they’re under stress from budget cuts and extremely low staffing levels.

On March 20th, the FCSP gathered at the state capitol for the annual Friends of Connecticut State Parks Day, where they urged elected representatives to ‘adopt-a-park’ in their district.  Over 50 legislators took the pledge, and FCSP asked me to document a few of them.

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SPD XX at Eli Cannon’s

Another big party at Eli Cannon’s, another quick turnaround video.

Saint Patrick’s Day at Eli’s starts at 9am with “Kegs & Eggs”, and continues until legal closing time, or whenever The Law shows up to restrain the chaos – whichever comes first.  I had to duck out a few times to rest and gather my wits, then grab the camera and plunge back in again.  Congrats on 20 years of fine ‘craic‘.

SPD XX from Bill Flood on Vimeo.

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