Local television producer Tracy Bucco glumly concluded last week that pretty much everything on her audition tape is now worthless.
Bucco, who has worked in Nashville television for seven years at two stations, is now freelancing and was preparing a tape of her best work as part of a job search.
“This was stuff that we worked so hard on and thought was so cool,” she says, dejectedly pushing the play button on the VCR in the living room of her Bellevue condo.
As Bucco watches, the screen shows stories that she produced and that had garnered good ratings, including:
♦ “Electricity: Friend or Foe?”In four parts, the story makes the point that, while electricity is an essential part of modern life, downed power lines are dangerous.
♦ “Your Kitchen: Room of Doom?”It purports to show that the typical kitchen is ripe with dangers and the ever-present possibility of death.
♦ “Could Space Junk Threaten Your Kids?”Despite mighty narrative flourishes that suggest the possibility of a governmental cover-up, this question is answered definitively “No.”
“We used to think we had to make normal things seem dangerous to get people to watch,” Bucco says. “And I was good at it. But now, when people are afraid that normal things really can be dangerous, stations need people who can deliver facts and calm people down.
“Calm people down? Who the hell ever heard of TV news doing that? That’s exactly the opposite of what I’m good at.”
While Bucco was hopeful that she could continue using her hyping skills even in the new post-Sept. 11 environmentshe had fruitlessly pitched a series called “Afghan hounds, spies of the dog world?”she is now resigned to her uselessness.
“I’m 32 years old, and my skills are obsolete,” she says, clicking off the TV. “Did you know that carpets contain millions of dust mites?” she adds.
(Fabricate: v. to make up in order to deceive.)
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