Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hustle and Grow

"Film school, Schmilm school, how fast can you walk backwards?" Okay, I’ve never actually asked that of a new photog, but I’ve wanted to a time or ten. It’s not that lighting, composition and pace aren’t important; they are. But all the burnished cinematography in the world doesn’t mean squat if you can’t make slot. ‘Slot’: that’s teeveese for ‘you get to come back to work tomorrow’. Of course, those outside TV News would call it a deadline; but we behind your local lens have a had time wrapping our brains around the D-Word. (It’s like asking an Eskimo his native word for ’Snow‘;. Dude - you’ve got to be more specific.) In our world, everything is on deadline, turn-around times shrink every day and tomorrow doesn’t exist. As paradigms go, it’s kind of rushed - but the modern news photographer’s penchant for haste may be the one trait that keeps them employed in 2009 - the year that (I predict) will do down in the annals of broadcasting as the Beginning of the End.

See, the coffers are running dry. Now that Obama’s the President-Elect, there are simply no more political attack ads from which to gorge on. Couple that with quantum-leap technology and an economic forecast that reads like the book of Revelations and you sir have a shifting of the plates beneath the Fourth Estate. So how do you keep from getting swallowed into that gaping broadcast morass? Do what TV News photogs do best: Hustle. That is, after all, what separates us from the latte-swilling cinema geeks down at the independent film fest. Those cats are artistes, no doubt: they got the turtlenecks and Tarantino fetish to prove it. You, Mr. (or Ms.) TV News Photog, are merely first responders. You know like those E.M.T.’s we race to fender-benders all the time. It’s nothing to be ashamed of! The world needs people who can capture reality and deliver it to the masses - all before the tow trucks have dragged away all those sheet-metal cadavers.

I’m reminded of what my pals down in the Promotions department say. Actually, I kind of fade out when folks who lean on drink machines for a living tell me how television news should be. Don’t get me wrong. Those people got SKILLZ! But until they can drop in on a 4 o clock press conference and have it sliced, diced, fed and lit by the opening of the 5 o clock news, I’ll invite them to step aside, for I’d rather bum-rush a hostile news story than baby-sit a needy client any day. How else am I going to stay fit and/or relevant for the coming footrace? See, new toys and shrinking budgets are about to thin our herd considerably. If I were more of a techie I’d list the ten new machines you needed to master, but instead all I can tell you is to take pride in your accelerated pace. Know that it takes verve and a real set of grapes to dash in to happenstance and stick a lens in it, to ‘move through the room like an ambulance driver’. So cheer up fretful photog: your ability to backpedal before freshly made felons without slamming into a wall just may save your bacon, er paycheck.

But doing it while dressed like you just stumbled off a booze cruise? Now you’re just showing off…


turdpolisher said...

an economic forecast that reads like the book of Revelations

you never cease to amaze me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the call. I'll be calling you soon to ask for some help on a little project I'm working on.

Anonymous said...

the above message was written by the former blogger known as "The Colonel" and not by "Anonymous".

Anonymous said...

I'm going thought the same worry at my shop.
Thanks for putting it down in words to read; I'd never be able to do it...I don't know why I thank you. It just makes me feel better knowing someone else feels the same. Makes me feel less crazy.

Anonymous said...

Wow....your special.

Blog about more mundane crap...why doncha.

How do you manage to get ANY work done when you spend so much time accessing this blog?

Chop..chop...tripod. Get back to work.