Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rage Against the Machine

Portier in ReposeAND SO IT WAS that Portier squandered not his exile. Sorry to go all medieval on ya, but a certain Gulf Coast photog has been ablaze as of late. Since returning from banishment, the blogger known as Turd has been laying down some revelatory text. That includes the following passage - in which Rick explains why field crews love, hell - live - to lament...
Once in the confines of the mobile newsroom it's permissible for the team to bitch and moan about the story they are about to shoot. As a matter of fact, it's necessary for the storytelling process, for only after complaining half way to the story, can a photog give his best effort at polishing the daily turd.
Classic VarnerMan, he ain’t just sprayin’ grafitti with that one. From the moment I first pulled away from the station with a reporter riding shotgun, I noticed it. A news crew's gotsta expotulate. Be it the whimsy of our missions or the nature of our verbal souls, the proclivity to bitch is found in every newsgatherers' DNA. That includes me, of course. Barely an above average shooter, I can lay out the dementia behind a particular gig the same way Stephen Speilberg storyboards a car crash. Of course we shooters are known far and wide for our sour attitudes, but the Hairspray Brigade can more than hold their own when it comes to remonstration. I know one guy (not pictured) who wrote every single TV news script the same way, yet pioneered whole new ways in which to whine enroute. Or how about the gal who deadpanned every on-camera stand-up, yet routinely snarled traffic with wild gestures behind the windshield. And don't even get me started on that one shooter how thinks he's Shakespeare. How does he record any natural sound when he's constantly runnin' his mouth?

Grzybowski grays outDon't bother answering. Just know that your local news crew probably groused all the way to their story today. Whatever it was that ticked them off, they undoubtedly blamed The Desk. That's unfortunate, for not every street-level woe can be pinned on those back at the shop (not pictured). More often than not, it's just the nature of the beast. After all, our jobs are to rush to the center of something calamitous and demand answers, mug shots and if at all possible a live interview at five. No wonder we chafe around the edges while in pursuit. I'm sure plumbers also pout on the way to a bad hairball clog, but could it ever be as creative as a lensman gettin' bent? Or a former beauty queen stewing on the injustice of it all between power hits from her colossal can of Alberto VO5? I think not. What better way to jumpstart the juices that wipe away deadlines than to rue the day the very first test patterns were sewn together from old indian blankets? That's not mutiny you smell, Officer. It's the pungent cloud of adversarial magic. It'll dissipate once I get some sound on tape and prove to those %#@!&$@# back at the station that a Car Wash is a lousy place to quiz the citizenry about constitutional law. Now if you'll give me my license back, there's a guy in a Hulk Hogan doo-rag with some cogent thoughts on the matter.

Grown men I tell youStill, one must be careful when propagating rancor. Rant and bellow for too long and you run risk of becoming that guy ... the one who complains when his ice cream's too cold. Even if you escape a reign as your station's King of Pain, Instant Karma's damn sure gonna get ya. I'm reminded of a story I was told long ago: A reporter and photojournalist (not pictured) were driving back to the studio, frustrated from a day of thwarted effort. Neither man was much liked by his peers and after a little give and take found they had much in common. Mostly enemies. All the way back to the shop they lambasted their coworkers, detailed who they detested and why, complete with homophobic ire and ethnic stereotyping. By the time they pulled back into their affiliate's parking lot, they'd laid waste to all who deserved it and a few who didn't. Too bad they didn't realize the car's two-way radio microphone was keyed. With each diminishing mile, every syllable of their derision was washing over the inhabitants of the newsroom they so professed to hate. I weasn't there when the disparaging duo bee-bopped into the office but I would have liked to have been - as both men could be insufferable tools...

Come to think of it, both those fellas are out of the business now. One's a minister; the other one swore he was going to law school. Wonder what they rant about now?


Oreo said...

I never realized that's why my best stories are the ones I detest the most when assigned.

Take, for instance, the auction piece I did Friday, which can be found on my blog. I was told to shoot a car auction but don't identify the make of the vehicles. I vowed to shoot the piece without showing any part of a car, but I'm apparently not that good.

Duff said...

I've found, time and again, that everyone in this business is just flat out crazy (myself included). Normal people just seem to shy away from it, which is probably good because normal people (or "normies") are boring and would make for boring tv. Still, it'd be nice to have one or two people in the newsroom that aren't self-centered, egotistical pricks waiting for you to leave the room so they can talk smack behind your back. Not that I'm any better.

Oh, and as far as I'm concerned, the desk is responsible for all my misfortune, including dull stories, high gas prices, video rental late fees and that rash on my back that's right in the area I can't quite scratch. Bastards.

peter said...

"polishing the turd" - love it. You've gotta fill the space - all you have is a turd - so you shine it up real good?

So the space is the 30 min news show on a day with only 10 minutes of news?

And the turds are the stories you use to fill the time?

Does it work?