Diggs Nightcrawler Photo Assignments For Beginners

May 31st, 2013, 07:27 PM   #1
Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler - Trophy Guide and Roadmap

Welcome to my very first trophy guide! Please bear that in mind if it isn't as polished as the others. Also, many thanks to GlennThomas for the awesome banner!


Step One: Complete the game
This won't take long; without the replay content, this game is only slightly longer than Book of Spells! There are three chapters in total, each comprised of one full length of the Wonderbook. Each chapter should take approximately half-an-hour (at most) to clear first time 'round. Doing this will net you most of the trophies (almost all the bronzes, most of the silvers, and maybe a gold or two depending on your skill level).

Step Two: Cleanup and Photo Assignments
Now you can get to work on any trophies you missed and start the photo assignments. After finishing the storyline, all pages of all three chapters will be available to you. You move between chapters by gently tilting the (closed) Wonderbook to either the left or right, and can flip between pages on the fly as necessary.

Detailed information on the photo assignments can be found in the description for the Master Photographer trophy.

Last edited by Terminator; February 6th, 2016 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Replaced missing banner.
May 31st, 2013, 07:27 PM   #2
Trophy Guide and Roadmap

Unlock all other trophies

Kinda self-explanatory, don't'cha think? Still, give yourself a pat on the back when this baby pops!

Why Don't You Come In?
Enter Diggs's office

Story-related, can't be missed. It's literally the very first thing you do in the game! (Well, aside from waving away the logo.)

Cast of Library City
Meet all of the characters during the corridor chase

There are five characters you can meet while chasing the shadow: one of Bo Peep's sheep, the Gentleman Spoon, the Frog Prince, and two of the Three Blind Mice. You're supposed to be able to see their shadows at certain junctions, indicating where they are, but these can be hard to see, especially when the book is oriented vertically. It's easier to just go in the opposite direction of the shadow. Speaking of whom, the trophy will pop once you catch him at the elevator.

Nose for Trouble
Follow the villain's shadow without making a mistake

During the chase, don't turn onto a dead end (which includes meeting the other characters). The perfect route is LRLLRRRLRLRL. Like Cast of Library City, this will pop at the elevator.

Lightning Catcher
Look at the lightning through the elevator window

In the elevator room at the end of the chase, rotate the book to look through the window and see a lightning bolt flash. You can do this at any time during the scene.

Shark Bait
Rub the shark to find the objects

Story-related, can't be missed. When Diggs descends to the sewer underneath the crime scene, rub the book at the right times to obtain the Frying Pan business card and another shell fragment.

Join the Circus
Help Diggs enter Humpty's Club

After the monkeys start fighting amongst themselves, fold the book to lower a rope in order to enter the Frying Pan.

Get caught and escape from the three little pigs three times in Humpty's club

During the escape sequence, let Diggs be caught by the pigs, then shake the Wonderbook to shake them off. Do this three times to pop the trophy.

Cut down on Bacon
Don't get caught by the three little pigs in Humpty's club

Same situation as Hogpiled, but this time, don't get caught at all. Run into as many stools as you can to flick them at the pigs during the first part, and quickly weave through the gaps in the furniture in the second part. This may require more than one try, but it isn't too difficult.

Pigs in Blankets
Escape from the three little pigs

Story-related, can't be missed. When hiding from the three little pigs after the escape from the Frying Pan, trap them all as they search for Diggs. Follow Diggs' instructions and, when the officers are in position, signal Diggs by calling out, clapping or just pressing the X button.

Play all the musical instruments at the same time

The description for this trophy is slightly erroneous; you only have to play two of the instruments. After you tip the cello and trumpet out of the car, wave your hand over them to play them. You can also rub your other hand over the piano on the roof, creating quite a catchy tune! ...Before your arms get tired, that is.

Private Party
Find the dancers behind Humpty's Club

When outside the back entrance to the Frying Pan, rotate the book in order to spot the dancers through a window.

Chapter One Complete
Complete Chapter One

Story-related, can't be missed. Should pop just after Diggs and the mice drive off.

Sheep Tower
Make a sheep pile and knock it down

During the car chase at the start of chapter two, when a line of sheep appear in one of the lanes, drive into them all so that they form a tower on top of the car which will then fall apart on its own.

Skilful Driver
Drive without hitting obstacles

Definitely one of the hardest trophies in the game. Avoid the rows of sheep (or "livestock!"), traffic cones, and other vehicles. Sadly, there's not much I can say about this one other than "practice makes perfect". It'll pop when you have to ram the shadow's car for the third and final time.

Decision Maker
Chose a path for Diggs

Story-related, can't be missed. When you have to choose where to head first after the chase, just choose a destination; it doesn't matter which.

Hit all the musical ducks

During Digg's ride down the rapids, trios of rubber ducks in fedoras will appear at the edges of the stream (usually the left). Knock into them all in one ride in order to pop the trophy.

Sheep Passenger
Carry a sheep on Diggs' barrel

Some of the barrels you have to steer Diggs into in order to free him will have sheep inside, so you really can't miss this one.

The Big Sheep
Clear up the big sheep pile in 30 seconds

Shake the Wonderbok vigorously to rescue Bo Peep within half-a-minute. Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, don't stop while a sheep slides down the screen. This is pretty much guaranteed to leave your arms mildly sore, but the brief pain will be worth it when you hear that wonderful glinting sound!

Help Ma Goose to fix a broken book

Story-related, can't be missed. Just find the second half of Aladdin's book to repair it.

True Librarian
Help Ma Goose to fix 5 books in 240 seconds

This one isn't too difficult; repair four more books by finding each of their halves, all within four minutes. It's easy to tell which halves go together, there are matching images on the front and back covers. Just rotate the book quickly so that Diggs avoids spending less time climbing the ladders than reaching them.

Merry Men in Disguise
Sneak past the three monkeys

Story-related, can't be missed. Alert Diggs when Seeno covers his eyes, when Hearno is walking between his posts, and when Speakno and Robin are looking away from Diggs' path.

Last edited by yellowmage; September 10th, 2013 at 02:40 AM. Reason: Further splitting
May 31st, 2013, 07:27 PM   #3
Trophy Guide and Roadmap

Escape artist
Unravel Diggs without Shadow noticing in the hangar

This one is pretty easy: after burning all but one of the ropes holding Diggs, the Shadow will return to take a phone call. During this, rotate the book anti-clockwise three times, making sure to hold it still when the Shadow looks round to check on Diggs. Each conversation segment should provide time for one full turn.

Now, this trophy is hardly difficult enough to warrant what could technically be called a cheat, but here's one anyway: if you can angle the book so that the "can't detect Wonderbook" notice pops up, and keep it that way while rotating it, you can do it all in one go! This is because, although the PlayStation Eye can't see the patterns on the pages of the Wonderbook and, as such, render the scene, it still registers the movement of the book and re-renders the game scene as such once it detects the pages again.

Chapter Two Complete
Complete Chapter Two

Story-related, can't be missed. Should pop when the shadow leaves after Diggs is captured.

Invisible Man's navigator
Help the Invisible Man to find the entrance

Story-related, can't be missed. I know it feels rotten to help one of the bad guys, but we have to in order to get to Diggs. Don't worry, we'll be back with him soon enough!

Fire Fighter
Stop the fire

Story-related. Once the graveyard starts burning, wave your hand over the book to extinguish the flames.

Note: Apparently, this one actually is missable, and some people didn't get the trophy on the first try, but I can only go on what I've experienced first-hand, and, while I know that there is a time limit (after which the flames will go out automatically), I personally found it to be so generous that you'd actually have to not attempt to extinguish the flames at all for that to be the case.

Who's the boss?
Find out who is the boss

Story-related, can't be missed. Ma Goose was right, it isn't who we thought!

Master Monkey Basher
Only hit the monkeys

When Diggs fights Invisible Manny, you have to help by playing a game of whack-a-monkey. One thing that can help here is using the Move controller as a makeshift hammer. Tap gently so that the game won't register a hit on both pages when there are good guys about.

Double Whammy
Hit two Monkeys at the same time

Self-explanatory; this can be got without really trying. When there are monkeys on both pages, hit the middle of the book to get 'em together.

Back to Life
Humpty comes back to life

Story-related, can't be missed. The don is back!

Quickdraw Diggs
Complete the shoot-out in 210 seconds

Just rotate the book when Itsy comes out of hiding. Don't worry, Diggs can't actually be hurt.

Careful Climber
Climb up the waterspout without being hit

The penultimate page involves a climb up Itsy's waterspout, with hazards abound! Avoid the "barrels from Frankie", move slowly to avoid disturbing the colonies of bats living in offshoot pipes, and make sure to time passing the handles on the rotating valves correctly.

It isn't all that difficult, but there is a tricky part near the peak where a valve is immediately followed by a barrel drop. All in all, just take it slow.

Note: A significant number of forum members (i.e. more than two) have mentioned that this trophy is glitched, and that they had to complete the requirement as many as nine(!) times before it actually popped. Thus, in accordance with wikiality, it must be true. I guess I was extraordinarily lucky to have it pop first time!

Down came the rain and washed the spider out

Story-related, can't be missed. We can't escape our stories, doll.

Recount the Astounding Story
Report everything to Humpty

Story-related, can't be missed. Show all four film reels to Humpty on the final page (in any order).

Chapter Three Complete
Complete Chapter Three

Story-related, can't be missed. Should pop as the credits start rolling.

Apprentice Photographer
Complete 20 photo assignments

(See Master Photographer)

Senior Photographer
Complete 50 photo assignments

(See Master Photographer)

Master Photographer
Complete all 88 photo assignments

This is what you'll be spending the majority of your time in the game doing. Technically you can start these as you complete each chapter, but it's highly recommended that you wait until finishing the storyline before doing so.

On a repeat playthrough, going into the pause menu will reveal a certain number of characters and/or situations that need to be photographed. To do so, press the Triangle button on the Move controller to activate (and deactivate) the camera. You can switch between capturing still images and video by pressing the Square button, but this is never actually required. Once you have the correct shot lined up, press either the Move button or the T trigger to snap it. If the photo meets the requirements, it will be marked with a red fedora hat stamp.

Note: Most of the photos are easy enough, but there are a few that can be really frustrating. For these, try taking them upside-down. As absurd as it may sound, it really works!

Last edited by yellowmage; September 10th, 2013 at 02:53 AM. Reason: Careful Climber

Above: LaPointe in action, filming paramedics working on an injured suspect after a police chase in Pilsen ended in a crash Photos: Clayton Hauck

At precisely two minutes before midnight, the door of a parking garage on an elevated stretch of 18th Street in Chinatown judders to life. Like an aluminum theater curtain, it rises inch by clattering inch, revealing first a snarl of railroad tracks just outside, then, once fully opened, the twinkling grandeur and brooding depths of the city’s skyline. Idling in his gurgling Crown Vic, amid a static storm of police scanner squawks, bleats, beeps, and babble (All units . . . 23-Robert . . . Shots fired), Pauley LaPointe paradiddles the steering wheel, amped by the vision unscrolling before him, antsy to pounce on the opportunities laid bare just past the cresting avenue.

“Looooove it,” he coos. “Look at it. It’s like fucking Hill Street Blues.

He’s referring to the title sequence, shot in Chicago, of that classic police show: a blue garage door snapping up, a squad car bumping out, its siren wailing into the city, the pregnant unknown. “Every time I pull out—” LaPointe starts to say. “What a beautiful city I have to work in.”

But enough of that. He guns the V-8, and the car answers with a rumble. There is mayhem in the air, which means money on the table. If LaPointe can get to it first.

And to do that, the freelance video journalist has to be out there, swooping down on crime and car crashes like, well, a vulture picking over a carcass, some might say, or, as he prefers to think of himself, a noble chronicler of the urban trenches, telling the most raw and real stories by trolling the nocturnal carnage that has put Chicago in a harsh national spotlight.

Called simply Pauley by cops and competitors alike, LaPointe works alone, his appearance as much a calling card as his video camera. It starts with his hair, a Caesar cut that he dyes Anderson Cooper white (“My girlfriend likes it,” he says), and his eyes, an Aqua Velva blue. At 43, he’s compact, the battle against middle age waged on the Bowflex he keeps in his loft-style office. Then there’s his voice—a mélange of surfer dude and street set on constant chatter, his words sprinkled with New Agey references to “chi” and “energy” and “life force.”

As the owner of Captured News—a “media content management system for news shooters and users of news content,” according to its website—LaPointe serves as a sort of middleman between local and national TV stations and another 13 or so freelance video journalists, mostly young and green, who likewise roam the city in the wee hours, always trying to outsmart and outhustle the competition to get the most gripping footage—and, yes, that often means the bloodiest. LaPointe’s purpose, their purpose, is singular: to feed the insatiably video-hungry but increasingly budget-strapped beast that is TV news. LaPointe’s clips generally fetch $150 to $300 from local stations, unless the story is major or the footage goes national, in which case he can get up to $1,500.

It’s especially important for him and his team to be out this night, this weekend. Because this isn’t just any Friday. It’s the kickoff to Chicago’s most violent season—summer—and thus LaPointe’s most lucrative time of year. The Friday before Memorial Day by the calendar’s reckoning, but to LaPointe, who has been making a living working the dark edges of the city for two decades, it’s “the unofficial beginning of the bullshit.”


It started a full four hours before LaPointe, with his vampire schedule, emerged from the five or so fitful hours of sleep he typically allows himself. At 8 p.m., a four-year-old girl and two teens were shot during a party in West Englewood. All would survive, including the little girl, who was shot in the head.

So yes, the bullshit is already in full swing, with LaPointe a step behind. No worry. The moment he plugs in his cell phone earpiece, which hums with scanner chatter, he’s knee-deep in fresh drama.

His first run comes just after midnight with the report of a security guard shot in the leg in the Loop. Probably nothing—“unless it hit a femoral artery,” LaPointe says. But he checks it out anyway, back-streeting his way to the scene, under the el, across Wacker, upper, lower, loop-de-loop, pink-lighting through an intersection. The call turns out to be a bust. “He was only shot in the foot,” LaPointe says. But soon enough, a second incident—shots fired at a gas station off the Dan Ryan—spins LaPointe off through the streets again, hoping for a score. It doesn’t happen. Cops are on the scene, and shots were indeed fired, but with no victim, it’s a little like a pedestrian almost hit by a taxi.

Then, around 12:30, another snap-crackle pops, this time off West 104th Street in Washington Heights. The scanners dole out the basics—where, what. To fill in the picture, LaPointe flips open a dash-mounted laptop and clicks on Twitter.

There are dozens of amateur scanner monitors in town—devotees who eavesdrop on the police and fire department chatter and tweet details in real time. But LaPointe has whittled those he follows to a hardcore few: Chicago Scanner (“Listening to Chicago’s Finest & Bravest on 11 Scanners, as It Happens, Since 1992”); Traumanatrix a.k.a. Dixie McCall (“Diva of Death, Mistress of Mayhem”), who hints that she’s an ER nurse; and Spot News, a freelance photojournalist who sometimes shoots for LaPointe and whose obsessive tracking (60,000 tweets and counting) makes him the go-to source for the scanner crowd.

“Dead gangbangers will not sell over a mom and son coming home from prom who were just shot and lived. That’s just the reality.”

From them, LaPointe assembles the mosaic: The victims are a mother and her 18-year-old son, who, shortly after returning from a prom event, caught bullets outside their Washington Heights home. Both are “code yellow,” in police parlance: injured, but not seriously. (“ ‘Green,’ you’re fine, walking wounded,” LaPointe explains. “ ‘Black’ is dead.”) Even so, in the cold calculation that is the news business, the emotional elements—a mother and son, the prom—make the shooting an irresistible lure for local stations and a must-get for LaPointe.

He throws the Vic into drive, but before takes off, he realizes he forgot something. Reaching into the back seat, he fishes out a stiff black vest, which he shrugs on and secures with Velcro straps. “The bullets don’t have eyes,” he says. “They just hit. And sometimes they’re still shooting when I arrive.”

Like the time in 2008 when shots from an assault rifle sprayed all around him as he pulled up to a standoff with police in Auburn Gresham. Cops killed the gunman, but not before he put a bullet in the vest of a SWAT team member, clipped another officer in the foot, and shot at a police helicopter overhead. Neither LaPointe nor his stringer was hurt, but, he says, “when you hear an AK-47 blasting, it gets your attention.”

The lesson: Wear the vest. “I have two kids,” he says. “They’re teenagers, but that doesn’t mean I want to be killed if I can help it. Our job is not for the faint of heart.”

His 19-year-old son, P.J., learned that on one of his initial runs. A film student at Columbia College, he decided to join his father’s crew last year. “His first homicide was a man shot in his car,” LaPointe says. “The guy must have been trying to get out when the shooting happened because he wound up flopped, head down, towards the curb, blood all over the place. P.J. saw it and threw up for the next six hours.”

When LaPointe gets to the site of the postprom shooting, one of his stringers, Tom Walsh, a lanky 19-year-old with a Blackhawks skullcap and a Kevlar vest of his own, has already amassed a nice cache of B-roll—that is, footage that plays while a TV reporter is doing a voice-over. The question is, Did Walsh, on the job for a mere month, get anything more?

“I did.” Walsh beams at LaPointe. He got a “great sound bite” from a neighbor. He also got footage of a victim being loaded onto an ambulance.

“Awesome!” LaPointe says. “What about the scene?” He looks past the long length of yellow crime-scene tape and the two cops posted in front of the house. Balloons—red, white, yellow, silver—float from the stair railings, and a “Congrats Grad 2015” sign covers the front windows of the white bungalow.

“Grab a couple more shots of the balloons and sign, OK?” LaPointe gently prods. “This could be the biggest shooting of the night.”

Unsaid, but understood by both, is a harsh truth: In the freelance video news business, some shootings are more equal than others. “Dead gangbangers will not sell over a mom and son coming home from prom who were just shot and lived. That’s just the reality,” LaPointe, now back in the Vic, tells one of his other stringers through his cell headset as he jets north. “It is sad, but understandable in a way. It is what it is.”


Into the night he rolls, roaring back down the Ryan, scanners muttering (Cadillac four-door . . . Is there a unit trying to come in? . . . Unable to copy . . . Need your location . . . You have shell casings and blood on the scene), past the post-bar-hour cars drifting in and out of lanes, and down an exit where a big caramel-colored man with a four-day beard and a bored look holds a sign that says “Aloha, Homeless, Hungry, and Hawaiian.”

It’s another few miles on a car that has crisscrossed the city more times than a Red Line train. When I ask how much mileage LaPointe has racked up, he eyeballs the odometer. “Uh, 278,000.” That’s just on the Vic. “I’ve put a million miles on cars during the course of my career—at least,” he says. And he estimates that gas alone sets him back as much as $20,000 a year. (He won’t disclose how much he makes annually. “Let’s just say I won’t be retiring in the near future.”)

This car isn’t just any car. It’s a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor—“Crown Vic” to anyone with a badge—the vehicle of choice for cops in virtually every big city. The nights I rode along with LaPointe, the speedometer routinely clicked over 90 miles per hour and at times flirted with 100. By design, LaPointe’s particular model—blood black, rear end bristling with a nest of whip antennas—mirrors an unmarked cruiser so closely that even cops are sometimes fooled.

“Oh yeah, when I first started in the business, I was told by a state policeman that the smartest thing you can do is get a car that will not get you in trouble in terms of people wanting to break in, steal your stuff—a car that will make you feel a little safer in the hood,” says LaPointe. To complete the effect, he has installed a squawk horn and put a flashing light on the front windshield.

The interior is all practicality. “One, two, three, four, five . . . nine, ten,” he says, counting the scanners in a bank where the center console once was, the little rectangles glowing like a row of Lite-Brite pegs. Continuing the tour, he grabs a platform attached to a hinged arm bolted under the dash and swings out a silver Apple laptop. Tethered to a 20-gig mobile Wi-Fi hot spot, he can upload footage to a website so that news stations can purchase his videos no matter where he is. Back in the days of tape, if a murder occurred in, say, Antioch, he would have to drive there and back to make Beta tapes to drop off at each individual station.

“With gas prices and the cost of tape, I almost went broke,” he says. “Live [TV news] trucks had such an advantage. Now I kill it. There’s no limit to where I can get my stuff out and how fast I can get it to them.”

Observing LaPointe, you quickly realize that speed sustains him. “Whaddya got?” he chatters into his headset. “OK, so one dead there? All right. Did you happen to hear where the two-shot was? I thought he said he had two yellows? Well, I’m just going to start working my way south. I’llbeoverthereinaminute, okbye.” Tap-tap-tap on the keyboard, reach for a pen, change lanes, press the headset. “Did they say possible homicide? OK, bye.” Pedal down, laptop down, window cracked. “Hello? Whatcha got? OK, let me know and I’ll let you know.” Turns to me. “Madness, buddy. Once it starts happening, it’s like a fucking waterfall.”

Be advised . . . Gunshots fired under the cover of very loud music . . . Large crowd present . . . No further.


A fatal shooting at about 1:45 a.m. on Pierce, near Wood, catches LaPointe’s attention for more than the fact that it adds to to the night’s body count. It’s in Wicker Park. A murder in a trendy, affluent part of town means more news interest. And an easier sell.

LaPointe races up the Kennedy to the location and parks at the end of the block, a gentrified, shiny stretch of red-brick and wrought-iron beauty, all trimmed lawns and swept sidewalks. (Police would later say that a man was sitting on his stoop with some friends when another man approached and started blasting.) LaPointe pops the trunk, pulls out his camera—a small high-def handheld number—and heads toward the blinking blue. “Always flashing lights in my life—whether I’m at a dance club or out on the streets working,” he says.

A few steps in, he stops. Fuck. A blue minivan squats like a turtle. A stringer for his main competitor. The guy has already plucked the scene clean, LaPointe says, and is probably feeding the footage to a station as we speak.

In the blood sport that is TV news, the competition among freelancers is more than fierce; it is at times ugly, personal, cutthroat even, at least between LaPointe and his chief rival, Ken Herzlich, who runs Network Video Productions. Both have been around forever. Both despise each other. To LaPointe, Herzlich is a “game player” who tries to shut him out of a scene by all means possible: “He’s just a mean-spirited guy.” To Herzlich, LaPointe is a showboat: the dyed hair, the Crown Vic, and the claim that he’s the model, at least in part, for the Jake Gyllenhaal character in the film Nightcrawler, about a video journalist with no conscience. “LaPointe wants to be on TV,” Herzlich says. “He wants to be famous. That’s just not me. I want to do the work.” Counters LaPointe: “I compete by kicking that guy’s ass every night.”

Not tonight, though—at least not at this scene. LaPointe was smoked fair and square. Grumbling, he picks at the leftovers: an ambulance beep-backing down the block, cops shooting the breeze. As he retreats to the Vic to reconnoiter, he happens upon a trio of 20-somethings—two men and a woman—sitting on the steps of an expensive-looking condo tucked behind an iron fence.

“Any insight into all of this?” the woman asks.

LaPointe turns his palms up. “Another night, another shooting. I think our guys have already covered, like, a dozen tonight. It’d be worse if it was warmer out.”

“This is such a nice neighborhood, too,” one of the guys chimes in.

“I’ve never felt unsafe in this neighborhood until this year,” the woman says. “This is the third or fourth time we’ve had the cops out here.”

Her friends look down and shake their heads. LaPointe wants to say something. He wants to tell them to try living in Englewood or another of the couple dozen neighborhoods where the cops come three or four times an hour; where bullets, not firecrackers, pop on a Saturday night; where, later this evening, he’ll see a woman pushing a man in a wheelchair and take an educated guess that he lost his legs to a shooting, not diabetes.

But LaPointe doesn’t say any of that. What’s the use? Instead, he offers: “It can be a tough city.” There’s no time for a long debate, not on a busy night, which this is turning out to be.

I need to request a crime lab for a homicide . . . Crime lab’s been notified. They’ll be responding . . . Ten-four. Officers on the scene.


“Chicago is like that perfect girl you want to date, but she’s got this really weird dark side,” LaPointe muses, tipping 90 miles per hour on the Dan Ryan. “Beautiful, she looks great, but sometimes it’s like, ‘Where did that fucking come from?’ It’s like Fifty Shades of Crime.

LaPointe grew up far from the chaos, in the small, almost all-white western suburb of Westchester, just off the Eisenhower. For a while, after graduating from Proviso West High School in 1990, he plied a far different trade. “I was a teaching golf pro,” he says.

He spent a couple of years in Genoa City, Wisconsin, at the Nippersink Resort, and a year in Lake Geneva at the now-defunct Americana, which replaced Hugh Hefner’s Bunny playground when it went belly-up. He earned an associate’s degree at the College of Lake County, then enrolled at Roosevelt University for film study and video journalism. But while delivering packages for UPS on the side, he wrecked his spine. “That was the end of my golfing career,” he says.

Assignment editors yell at him. Cops bust his balls. Victims’ families call him scum. “I get no respect,”says LaPointe.

LaPointe worked at CLTV in the early ’90s as a desk assistant on the “insanity shift”—9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekends. Occasionally, he found himself in the field; he helped cover the trial and conviction of Congressman Mel Reynolds, among other things. But a couple of heated exchanges with producers—plus surgery for his back that would require several months of rehab—led to a “mutual parting of the ways,” LaPointe says.

After his recovery, he decided to strike out on his own. “I just thought, This is so much more entertaining than sitting at a desk all night listening to a scanner. You’re like a caged lion. I wanted to get out there and see all this stuff.”

But the lone wolf act didn’t pay the bills, so he took on some stringers, offering to help them through his TV connections. “There was no way to get to everything,” he explains. The deal was (and still is): They would shoot the aftermath of a crime or a disaster and send the footage to him. If he could sell it to a station, he would give them a cut.

The business model worked, but his personal life wasn’t quite as tidy. He had a son and a daughter, born on the same day four years apart, and after a bitter custody battle with his son’s mother, he eventually settled in a two-bedroom condo in the northwest suburbs.

He put in long hours—insane hours—building the company, which was fine with him. “I don’t personally enjoy sleep,” he says. “I have to sleep, but I wish I didn’t. I would rather be going all the time.”

Still, even now, he can’t help imagining himself living the country club life, teaching duffers how to fix their slices. “I enjoy telling the story, taking the pictures. It’s a very interesting business. Where else can you get such an immersion into life? But I’m in the hood every night versus being on a golf course every morning. I miss the course.”

He also misses the cachet. “Sometimes I feel a little like Rodney Dangerfield,” he says. “I get no respect.” Assignment editors yell at him. Cops, though mostly cooperative, bust his balls. More than once, a victim’s family has called him scum for intruding on a tragedy, a sentiment that never fails to wound, even though he believes that what he does serves a higher purpose by drawing attention to a problem.

“We can show all the dead bodies of people being killed all over the world,” he says, “but we can’t show it in our backyard. It’s a double standard.”

Hardly anyone treats him like a legitimate journalist, he says, yet “I’m out here every day, telling the story of Chicago.”


LaPointe is off again, this time to the scene of a double homicide in Chatham. “There could be a shoot-’em-up anytime over there,” he says as we race to the scene. “It’s a hot zone, so watch yourself.”

He is cruising west on 79th Street, past the Just Jerk Cafe and a methadone clinic that has the neighborhood up in arms. He’s ready to tap-and-roll through the intersection at Indiana Avenue when his focus is diverted by a stooped graybeard, semidancing in place and trying to get his attention.

LaPointe slows the car and lowers the window, listing to starboard, not wanting to ignore someone in distress, but also too long on the streets to ignore the trust-but-verify imperative.

The man mumbles something, his slurred voice a box of gravel.

“Sorry, what?” LaPointe asks.

“Chicago is like that perfect girl you want to date, but she’s got this really weird dark side. Sometimes it’s like, ‘Where did that come from?’ ”

“I say, ‘Over there,’ ” the man rasps, pointing to a dark lump on a dark sidewalk, laid out like a forgotten bag of groceries. “He’s been laying there. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive, but he’s been there for a long time. There he is, right there.”

Clearly the man thinks LaPointe is a cop.

LaPointe sighs—he’s losing time getting to the double homicide—then says to me: “I don’t want to check on a dead body, but here I go.”

Bathed in the yellow glow of the streetlights, he picks his way through a garden of fast-food Styrofoam, drained 40s, and sprays of shattered glass and kneels beside the person.

“Hey, you OK? Sir, sir, you all right?”

To me: “He just needs an ambulance, I think.”

“Sir! Sir! Are you OK?”

The body doesn’t move.

“Is he breathing?” asks a woman in dark jeans and a black do-rag, making her way across the grass, stopping a few feet short and leaning in for a closer look.

LaPointe feels for a pulse, the rise and fall of the man’s chest.

“He’s breathing,” LaPointe says, looking up. “Hey, can you do me a favor—”

“He was down there at the bar,” the woman says, cutting him off. “Is he drunk?”

“Well, I don’t see no blood,” LaPointe says.

“Aw, he came outta Duke’s,” she says, nodding toward a place across the street, its neon saxophone beckoning customers inside. “He just drunk.”

LaPointe sighs again. He starts to ask the woman to call 911, but she’s already halfway to her stoop, so he heads back to his car. “I gotta go,” he says. “On to my shooting.”

He falls silent as we resume our drive down 79th.

“I hope he doesn’t get robbed,” he finally says.

After slant-parking the Vic as close as he can to the scene of the double homicide, LaPointe starts filming. There isn’t a lot to see at this point. Just some detectives speaking sotto voce and a few uniforms cracking jokes. The bodies have been carried away. On the nearby corners, some residents yell at the officers, trying to provoke a back-and-forth to break up the boredom. “Hey! Hey! You got a cigarette?” one woman shouts, causing the crowd to snicker. The cops don’t bite, but one approaches LaPointe.

“You’re going to have to back it up,” he says.


“Who you with?”

“TV news. Did I do something wrong?”

The cop points to the yellow tape that has suddenly appeared behind LaPointe.

“Aw, come on. That wasn’t here before.”

The officer gives a sidelong grin.

“Yes, sir, Officer!” LaPointe says with mock friendliness. Then he turns to me. “See what I mean about respect?”

Looking back, he just shakes his head and calls out, “You guys have a good night.”


The rest of the evening spins like an ugly kaleidoscope. Shots fired at Halsted and . . . Be advised . . . Accident with an ejection . . . Gang fight, Gladys and Lavergne, 30 males and females . . . Multiple gunshots on Monticello [squawk] . . . Please respond.

That last one is another double shooting, this time in Humboldt Park. But LaPointe decides to sit it out. One of his team members has it covered. Besides, LaPointe and his crew have already logged so many shootings and killings that the TV stations have likely had their fill of gore for the night.

Wearily, LaPointe retreats to his office, a high-ceilinged space in Chinatown that looks like a cross between a fun house and a bachelor pad run amok. At one end, fake tropical plants surround a vinyl-lined koi pond, watched over by a stuffed doll: Peter Griffin, the doofus from Family Guy. At the other, a Sopranos pinball machine pings and blinks a few feet from a mirrored disco ball. LaPointe sits, hand to temple, at a polished white bar, blinking hard at a computer screen as “3:13 a.m.” pops up on an LED clock. He’ll be up for several hours more, tweeting out teaser footage and photos, checking in with the news stations to see if they need anything.

As it turns out, LaPointe can’t find any takers for his film from the double homicide in Chatham. The Washington Heights mother-and-son shooting, however, gets picked up by two local stations, with LaPointe’s Captured News logo running in the upper right of his footage. On Tuesday, he’ll learn the weekend’s body count: 12 dead, 44 wounded, double last year’s totals for the same time period.

There is to be one bright spot amid the grimness: LaPointe has promised P.J. that they can cover Bike the Drive, the annual event that closes down Lake Shore Drive for a few hours on Sunday each Memorial Day weekend. They probably won’t get much interest in the footage—all the TV stations will have their own people there. But the real point, LaPointe tells me, is to take a break from the mayhem.

At dawn, however, the scanners light up. The report: a massive pileup near Crown Point, Indiana, 46 miles away. It’ll take about two hours to cover, perhaps longer if it’s really bad. (It turned out to be relatively minor.)

LaPointe calls P.J. to break the bad news.



“Yeah, so no Bike the Drive, I gotta go check out this thing in Indiana.”


“OK. Sorry. Bye.”

At 5:30 a.m., LaPointe climbs into the Vic and waits as the garage door bangs open, rising on the new day.


Real Life vs. Big Screen

Pauley LaPointe claims he was the inspiration for Lou Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in 2014’s Nightcrawler. You be the judge.

 Pauley LaPointeLou Bloom
CompanyCaptured NewsVideo Production News
RideFord Crown Victoria Police InterceptorDodge Challenger SRT8 392
Golf instructorMetal scrap thief
LookDyed white hair, preternaturally blue eyes, body by BowflexSlicked-back hair, creepily intense eyes, body by hunger
“I’m a tiger when I’m after something. I get paid to get the great stuff. That’s my job.”“Who am I? I’m a hard worker. I set high goals, and I’ve been told that I’m persistent.”
Single Haul
Close CallArriving at a police standoff just as the gunman opened fire with an AK-47Sneaking into a home where a triple murder just occurred
Driving what looks like an unmarked police carMoving a body for better visual framing
Chief RivalKen Herzlich of Network Video ProductionsJoe Loder (Bill Paxton) of Mayhem News
Way of
Dealing with
“Nothing has fueled my fire more in my career.”Cutting his truck’s brake lines

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