We knew by Thursday night Greensboro had landed the new Honda Jet plant, but that didn’t stop us from acting all surprised the following morning. In fact, for only bringing an initial 300 jobs to the region, Honda got one hell of a welcome to its corporate headquarters’ new home. More than two dozen news lenses jockeyed for space in the private aircraft maker’s gleaming hangar Friday, all tradin’ paint with a shiny fleet of beaming politicos, countless muckety-mucks and one dill-weed of a still photog. More on him later. For now though, just know that this kind of ee-lectronic corporate theater doesn’t go down without a few sparks flyin’. Just ask the fellas packed onto the camera platform - the ones with the podium microphone’s every warble ringing in one ear, and the heated laminations of Judge Judy blaring in the other. They‘ll tell you the same as me: it’s a sixty million dollar boost to the local economy - not a moon landing.
Still, I wasn’t the only schlub broadcasting across multiple platforms. All around me, fellow lens-jockeys hung frozen in contorted positions, swathed in wires, cynicism and sweat. Thanks to the hundreds of feet of heavy cable trusty Canadian Tim Bateson and I drug in from the truck, the picture in my lens was beaming back live to the studio, where a co-worker with cleaner fingernails than mine routed it straight to our station’s websites (where I‘m certain at least six people were watching). Also, the studio goobs were recording my direct feed onto one of the station’s many hard-drives for later use - just as I was committing the audio-enhanced imagery to my camera’s optical disc. If that wasn’t enough, I was popping off snapshots with my banged-up digi-cam - when I wasn’t guessing what flavor of menthol cigarette the shooter wedged next to me had just enjoyed out back. A half-stale Newport, I think.
But I didn’t log in to talk fine tobaccos. I came to share with you what it’s like to be the eternal messenger. Sure, today’s elevated gang-bang is all because of a personal jet factory. A few days ago it was a gun-wielding grandmother’s video arraignment. Next week it may very well be a Valentine’s Day Boat Show. After a few such hundred camera conventions, the subject matter melds into the background. Far more important is the room’s overall light temperature, the location of the microphone mult-box and what kind of danish will still be available once when you finally get around to crashing the refreshment table. But that’s still a long way off. First, you deal with the have to deal with inevitable hum of the in-house audio system. Speaking of which, is there anything more annoying than a pasty soundboard tech with a gassy attitude? Yeah, there’s that guy. (NOT pictured)
Him...the out of town stills-shooter with too many zoom lenses and the big city sneer. Unlike the Fuji TV crew with their delightful accents, this cat goes out of his way to offend. Arriving early (as to tape his business card dead-center on the all too tiny camera stand), he hovered by his intended spot and announced to every new crew that his half-foot of platform was indeed, holy ground. We locals rolled our eyes at his continual proclamations, but gave him the benefit of an extra inch or two. That is until he insisted on jumping on and off the platform repeatedly, jostling everyone’s shot and sparking a righteous chorus of indignant ’Dude!‘s. Sure, the stranger got his shots, but he proved himself a insufferable prick in the process. While it’s certainly no skin off this frequent-flyer’s lip, it’s the exact kind of bad camera karma we local lenslingers work hard to avoid. Now you know.