He may be one of the youngest television producers on the local access channel MVTV, but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the most productive. Alex T. Trotter, 12, of Tisbury is out in the community, taking his A-Trot Report to a high level.
The self-made cub reporter makes his own assignments, handles his own interviews, does his own editing and prepares his videos for air time. The seventh grader has been getting a lot of time on the cable network public access channel MVTV with A-Trot Report. The show, which airs on Channel 13, is usually about people and the jobs they do on the Vineyard.
When President Obama and his family vacationed on the Vineyard last month, Alex scored an exclusive interview with White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton. It wasn’t an easy interview to get, but after Alex hung out at the Oak Bluffs School press center, a group of national journalists covering the President and sharing a liking for the little man, helped push to make sure the aspiring journalist not only was allowed into the briefing room for the press briefing but also had the big moment. The interview has aired repeatedly on MVTV.
The Cape Cod Times did a little story about the young reporter “grilling” the public official on health care, energy and Cape Wind. It was clear, said Alex (who confessed to some disappointment at not getting Mr. Obama himself), that the press secretary dodged his questions about whether the President was in favor of Cape Wind.
Alex is energetic. He is inquisitive and determined. Recently, the Gazette followed him to his dentist John Hartley’s offices in Edgartown where he was filming a new report. While setting up his Sony PD-170 camera for an interview, Alex said: “I do not fool around.”
Thirty seconds later, he added thoughtfully: “Sometimes [I do].”
Alex isn’t alone in his effort. His mother Liz provides plenty of backup support, from driving him to his interviews, to coaching him and untangling the long line of microphone wire that follows a shoot.
She and her husband, Tom, are supportive, Mrs. Trotter said. They have but one child, and Mrs. Trotter admitted that the work is fun.
“He needs a crew,” she said while carrying the camera and tripod into the dentist’s office. Fortunately most of Alex’s interviews are done in the studio at MVTV headquarters, next door to the regional high school. The cameras are there, the lighting is already set up and there isn’t any heavy lifting.
It is a cliche, but there is no other way to say it: Alex Trotter is precocious. He is as enthusiastic about life around him in person as he is on camera.
On this sunny morning, Alex takes an interest in Katrina Yekel, Dr. Hartley’s office manager, and how she keeps track of the many patients and their appointments.
He asked Dr. Hartley how he got into the dentist business. Alex did that portion of the interview twice, because of a small error in the recording process. The second time around for both was better than the first.
Alex often will rehearse his lines while setting up the video camera, his mother said.
In the past year Mr. Trotter has done eight reports. It takes weeks to complete a show, because school does interfere with his spare time.
Earlier this year Alex did two interviews with one of his favorite educators, John Custer, vice principal of the Tisbury School. He did a program on Victoria (Tory) Campbell and the airing of her movie at the Tabernacle on the family’s loss of their Vineyard West Chop home, called House of Bones.
As a result of that, Ms. Campbell asked Alex to introduce her in front of the 1,000 people plus seated in the Tabernacle.
Another of his shows was devoted to Guinevere Cramer, morning host with the local Plum Television station.
Alex has a life away from the camera. He plays tennis, plays the clarinet and the piano. He has memorized the piano pieces Tempest, by Nancy Faber, and Pink Panther by Henry Mancini. He loves politics and was glued to the national election last fall.
If given a choice, Alex sees two roads divide when it comes to picking a career. He would like to be a politician following law school. The other option would be teaching, something in education. “I could teach English, math or science,” he said.
This fall Alex attends Falmouth Academy and he has high hopes of taking his television programming skills into the Falmouth community. There is FCTV, Falmouth Community Television, awaiting, a sister station to MVTV.
He said he wants to start a morning program called Good Day Falmouth.