Fending off a coliseum full of zombies who 'just wanna sing for you', schlepping gear up gravel in a pair of pumps, feeling your knees bleed as a third grader answers a series of 'Yes or No' questions ... all that TV Photogery can bang up the frame. It's one of the more ignoble reasons I work alone. But the calisthenic nature of our craft is what separates us from those Print animals. It's one thing to be clever when all that's weighing you down is one skinny notebook and a pair of action slacks. It's quite another to capture fly on the wall footage by keeping your axe ahead of the action. Sure those newspaper photogs sling a lens, but unless they're hunting buffalo on the horizon, they ain't packin' the kind of pounds your average TV shooter does - especially in the smaller markets, where a ten minute ribbon cutting can take three different half-dead camera batteries. Who makes these things? Ever-Heavy?
Fawn all you want over that reporter with the posse of photogs. Me, I get off on chicks with sticks. That's my own piggish tribute to the female photogs and one-woman bands currently working the Pantsuit Hustle. We've come to expect our TV females to be perfectly coiffed; that's a tall order when you've spent the morning wrestling your own camera and tripod around the some sunstroked barrio. It was tough when I did it back in the early nineties. By the time I got around to shooting my own stand-up, the perspiration pit-stains usally had joined into one growing hemisphere of sweat. Not a good look - even for a furry dude like me. Try it as a woman and you'll be given a hard time indeed - if not outright bus fare! Even if you do escape the horde of offened villagers, my guess is the promo guy's not gonna leave any flirty messages about that upcoming image shoot.
So while my pals and I put the portage in reportage, take that gym membership and stick it up your cubicle. See, my journalism is of the double-jointed variety; it takes cunning, charm and a fair amount of contortionism. I'm not saying it's better than what you'd read in the paper; just a more immersive way of watching your world - or neighborhood, as it were. Either way, know that I'm not happy unless the street-level cinematography is something near seamless. That doesn't happen without elbow grease and backache juice. Sure, cameras are getting smaller and laptop editors are really slimming down. But unless someone invents a lens that levitates, they're going to have to pay somebody to stick 'em in interesting places. And don't talk to me about robots. You ever see a machine talk his way past a rent-a-cop with a lisp and superiority complex? I didn't think so.
Now help me up, would ya?