Ah, weather video - that immeasurable service TV stations provide for all those viewers held captive in window-less basements. What solace my static wide shot must be to all those folks quietly chewing their way out of their restraints. I can envision the thank-you notes they might send: letters and words ripped out of newspapers and magazines, haphazardly pasted to faded construction paper...
tHanKs fOr SHOwIng tHe gEEse AT tHE PArk. noW caLL thE POlice...
Actually, I don't mind shooting weather video - even when it's one of many stops on a whirlwind tour of swing-by vosots. It gives me a chance to drive around a lot, looking for the perfect environmental vista to leisurely frame and endlessly tweak. But when the clock is ticking, and deadlines are fast approaching - the hunt for weather VO can turn into a frenzied race around town, a circuitous loop around favored haunts looking for new actors on familiar backdrops.
Okay, perhaps I'm over-dramatizing it. What's new? But there have been many times when I've felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 - hurtling through streets at break-neck speed, scanning every side alley and back street for the imbedded image that will set off lights and sirens in my internal cyborg viewscreen.
Of course I'm not on the hunt for the one time-traveling ancestor who can save the planet. I'm looking for wind-surfing senior citizens, rush-hour secretaries struggling across windy avenues, loafers from the homeless shelter building snowmen. Perhaps I should slow down. But who has time to dawdle when you've got two tapes full of daily tripe wedged under the sun-visor and a cell-phone full of unanswered messages? Hear that idling engine? It's the sound of me missing deadline.
I only wish I could benefit monetarily from the pursuit - but alas, I'm an indentured staffer. I do recall one shooter from way back who excelled at turning precipitation into compensation. By the time the third unlikely snowflake fell, he'd have The Weather Channel on the horn - transforming his fifty seconds of lame snow into a couple of hundred bucks and a TWC ball cap or two. I never quite wrapped my brain around the legality of his endeavors, but it doesn't matter since he left the biz long ago to focus on shystering full-time. Last I heard he was pimping cell-phone service, and no doubt out-earning his photog days.
All I got are a couple of faded ball caps.