Friday, May 30, 2008

Jake at the Lake

Weaver on PointSince the lousiest assignments make for the best anecdotes, I’m a little worried about tonight’s dispatch. But as soon as The Suits told me they wanted a preview of this weekend's boat races, I ran from the room, shrieking like a little girl. I ain’t skeered of boats, but I was terrified they’d change their mind before I could take to the lake. All morning long I worried some school board member would claim the salt and pepper shaker arrangement in the Teacher’s Lounge was a racist conspiracy and I’d be pulled off my little feature.. By noon however nary an imbroglio had surfaced, so I headed to the body of water in question, hoping only to reach the beach before some spot defibrillator training class broke out at the armory and I was redirected. Think I‘m kidding? You‘ve never processed happenstance for a daily wage, I take it. If you had, you‘d know why I was beaming like a lobotomy patient as I pulled up to the water’s edge. To my left a long line of highly festooned boat haulers sat glinting in the midday sun. To my right a half dozen firemen loitered under a lakeside picnic shelter, watching as two Hooter girls unpacked complimentary sandwiches from an orange cooler. It was then I realized I needed back-up.

Still Interviewing RacerChris Weaver arrived six minutes later. Not so much to ogle the co-eds, mind you - but to provide some technical assistance. See, Weaver's something of a gadget nut. For every overripe bromide I slather on-line every night, he's got an adaptor, a cable or thumbdrive to make it better. That comes in damn handy - as I am the most technically deficient cameramen you'll ever meet. Sure, I talk a mean game - but when it comes to calibrating frame-syncs I ain't your guy. No, for that real world manly stuff you're gonna want someone like The Mighty Weave - who can field-strip a live truck in less time than it takes me to pass gas inside of it and blame the reporter. Was that too much information? Mayhaps, but I just wanted you to understand the kind of relationship Weaver and I have: He's the overly-stoked McGyver type who's never met a competitor he couldn't crush. I, however am of the absent-minded professor strain - far more into faking a state of Zen than tuning in some finicky signal. But this particular post isn't about the Man-Love me and the Weave share. It's about boats - really little, fast ones.

Weaver the Pit Crew BossSorry, 'SuperStock Tunnel Boats'. Whatever you call them, they more resemble Jet-Ski's with cockpits than any craft you'd dignify with the term 'boat'. Hell, my bathtub is bigger - and it displaces more water! I couldn't help but think of Evel Knievel's ill-fated canyon-jumping vessel as I walked through a forest of gaily-lacquered projectiles, water missiles and soggy crotch-rockets. Weaver on the other hand was getting down to brass tactics; identifying with of the three boats were about to favor us with some demonstration laps, picking out the prettiest and adorning its interior with a lipstick cam. Across the way, I looked up from the official I was interviewing, spotted my cohort conning his way into a cockpit and smiled quietly. With Weaver as my crew chief, I just may win the race! Or atthe very least fill my ninety seconds of newscast with action, irony and some really wicked first-person footage. I love it when a plan comes together!

Interviewing RacerFirst though, I had to bag all my sound. It may seem silly to conduct multiple, extended interviews for a report than last little more than a buck-thirty on-screen but such is the nature of distilling emotions. All the trick shots in the world won't help a piece if the viewer doesn't care about the outcome. While I can't say I tapped into any deeper truths, I did excise a few good bites from my on-camera chats. Luckily for me, everyone I spoke with was an old salt; veterans of the boat show circuit who knew how to talk up a camera or two. That was fine by me, as I wasn't exactly launching a hidden-lens investigation. Rather, I was sleepwalking my way through a delighfully subdued Friday afternoon. Only when the boats fired up their engines did my pulse race, but only for as long as it took the two tiny crafts to sling a few nasties. With a roar and a sputter both vessels returned to their berths, but not before I'd shot their skittering path every way I knew how. In the end, it was more about the experience than the TV news story that aired a couple of hours later. As for Weaver and me - we had such a good time, we thought about having t-shirts printed to mark the occasion.

Maybe next year...


Anonymous said...

hey lenslinger, i had the chance to
do an NFT on boat racing last year.
talk about getting lucky and having a plan come together.
skyfox, ground stuff and an on-board mini-dv ...
at one point the mini-dv came loose and spun foward .... that shot is in the story ....
the boat racer grabed the camera
and there was no damage.
here is the link if your bored.

keep up the great work
punky cameraman;jsessionid=ED3B35824DE38B57AC2F725730DAADD7?contentId=2252760&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

Oreo said...

Nice story. Sounds like the Mighty Weave and I are kindred spirits. I'd love to have a lipstick cam to use on some stories. If I make it to NAB with y'all next year, maybe he can rig me up for the dog's eye view of the show.

in-gun-ear said...

Where the hell do you think Weaver gets all his McGuyver-isums from? PLEASE COME TAKE HIM FROM ENGINEERING! NOW! We have naps to take, eehhh,...... work to do!!