Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Flatbed One

Air Force One WatchSay what you will about Dubya; the guy’s on time. He and Air Force One swooped down from the heavens right on schedule today, rolling to a stop in front of a camera platform filled with shivering press. I was but one among them, a flinty lenslinger squinting into the morning sun as jet fumes permeated my every pore. That’s right: I got sucked into the mix. What can I tell ya? One day I’m stalking housewives at a discount thrift store, the next I’m being felt up by a guy in camouflage while two of his buddies fondle their wands. Turnabout’s fair play, deputy- but unless there’s more in my pockets than a couple of half-dead Double A batteries, can we skip the orifice probe ... please? I am a married man. Hmm? Right - where was I? Oh yeah, freezing my tripod off in front of the Decider in Chief. Yeah, by the time he emerged from the depths of his most tricked-out ride, I’d been on scene for nearly three hours. But I hadn’t spent the time daydreaming...

NBC freelancersInstead I tore through my morning with Presidential zeal, deciphering the many conflicting edicts handed down by men with sunglasses and sour dispositions, grappling with testy electronics and - as always - carrying out the mission and whims of my perceived superiors. There were times this morning I feared my cell phone was going to burst into flames from sheer overuse Who gets dragged off to Guantanamo Bay if that happens - HMMMM? It won’t be the weather bunny. Anyway, let’s review: It was an early morning and quite the cold one. I presented my credentials and entered non-negotiations with the Secret Service on the matter of where we local folk might park our TV trucks. After more than a few furtive gestures, it was decided we could perch alongside the tarmac’s edge and thread our cable over the fence. This we accomplished quickly, despite a flurry of calls telling us A.) they’ll break into programming the moment the pilot throws that jumbo jet in Park, B.) the 5 and 6 o clock producers both want separate packages and C.) Can the chatter - we’re streaming this live to the web and that last knock-knock joke was borderline offensive!

Man in BlackAs for the President, he came, he waved, he went. Sure, he presented some elderly women with a service award, but the details of their exchange were lost to the echoes of the tarmac. From where I stood, she could have been Leslie Nielsen in a dress and a shawl, I dunno. What I do know is, no matter how I might gripe, I’m well equipped to ride this flatbed trailer bound for nowhere. The people beside me are cool - if not a bit smart-alecky and who really needs feeling in your face this early in December, anyway? Pointing a camera at an airplane doesn’t require too much skill and after a nice quiet Thanksgiving break, I’m just the man for the job. I just worry about Chad. All was going well with my reporter for the day until those civilians took one look at his sensible dark suit and mistook him a Secret Service Agent. At first he laughed it off, but now he’s talking into his shoe again.

Hope he’s ordering a pizza.


Joel said...


Have you have ever thought about submitting your blog for a media award.

Your writing should be taught in area english classes.

Check out my hand video editing- have a long way to go to become as good as a hack but working on it.


Joel Leonard

Anonymous said...

"Pointing a camera at an airplane doesn’t require too much skill..."

Tell that to my ND. He's desperate for live shots to a point where he does them himself. Today he was told by the control room to iris down, tilt up, and focus.

He got the tilt part. The rest I heard on the conference call from my truck "I don't know how to do that."

I guess it's not as easy as it sounds. Welcome to small market!


Oreo said...

I got to babysit Air Force One a few years back when he gave the commencement speech at LSU. Those guys stationed around the area have some rather large weapons with them, don't they? The only difference was that I was stuck out there for hours in the sweltering heat of a Louisiana May with nary a cloud in the sky. I almost asked if we could set up under the flatbed to have some shade.

Looks like you had about the same spot on the truck as I did.