Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Kevin Johnson Interview

Several times over the years I've leaned over drinks and asked Kevin Johnson just how b-roll got started, anyway. But between the clinking of ice cubes and Kevin's own humility, I've never received a satisfactory answer. So when I found him roaming freely on the floor of NAB, I sic'ed Weaver on him. The result is a two part interrrogation of the photog who founded - the on-line watering hole for those of us with keen eyes and sore shoulders. Less a deposition than a meandering chat, I stuck to the lack of script - though at times I sound like (the late) Chris Farley quizzing that old dude from The Beatles. As for Kevin Johnson, he's no preening moptop.
Kevin Johnson 3.1"Nobody cares about me, no one cares about my trips - that’s why I still don’t understand why you’re doing this interview."
The first thing you notice about Kevin Johnson is you're standing in his shadow. Impossibly tall with a rich baritone, the TV News photographer/ web innovator dodges praise and occasionally blocks the sun. At NAB's annual Vegas confab, you'll find him roaming the floor, interviewing vendors, meeting readers and placating sponsors of his increasingly influential site. Otherwise, you'll find him holed up in his D.C. digs, adding intriguing new layers to or merely glancing at it from afar. Whatever he's doing Kevin's careful hot to wear out his web presence. Like the low key owner of an industry tavern, the most you'll get from the proprieter is a silent nod from the crowded bar.
Kevin Johnson 2.1"It’s such a unique profession that we do, its weird, no one understands it but us. I wanted to have a place where people could talk."
That he did, creating a website that featured a few war stories, pictures and a growing row of job listings. About that time message boards emerged and Kev tacked one to his site, the joint really got poppin'. Suddenly the cyber-spot was packed with veteran staffers, journeyman freelancers and an endless parade of wide-eyed rookies. Together they formed a community of sorts and talked an awful lot of smack in the process. When Johnson added an easy portal for video uploading, the discourse gained some 'show and tell', with lifers and neophytes deconstructing each other's freshest efforts -- all while the guy who started it all chuckles quietly from a corner booth.
Kevin Johnson 1.1"It’s a hobby gone mad, it was something that was fun to do it kind of kept me sane as far as being able to vent about what annoyed me about my shop…"
There's an awful lot about my shop that annoys me too, Kevin - enough to fill a dozen volumes of a tell-all I'll never write. Why should I - when you've crafted a gathering spot of pixels and pith that features more real-world allegory than I could possibly every wrangle between two soft-covers. That's my wordy way of saying Thanks and Congratulations, for your early encouragement really helped convinced me I should spend every freakin' evening staring at this blank, taunting screen. Thanks, fella! Just do me a favor, eh? Drop the whole humble routine. You're making the more egotisical types really look bad. I mean, some guys just post endless pictures of themselves...The nerve!

Full Video Interviews Here and Here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the real question .....
what is kevin's substitute user
name for when he wants to rant
about work?