Youthful exuberance: it's powered more local live shots than an acre of camera batteries. I should know; I entered this business young, dumb and full of enthusiasm. Why just being near the antiquated gadgets that populated my first TV station electrified me -- and that was without sticking my tongue on the cart machine's power plug. But as intoxicating as I found my first affiliate's interior, I couldn't wait to get outside. That, I thought, is where the ACTION is. One look down the hall at the fellows with the dusty cameras and the seen-it-all expressions and I knew what I wanted to be: Lenslinger. (Actually it would be years before that name came to me; years after a college kid took a friend of mine hostage and thrust me onto the scene of unplanned calamity.) From there I insinuated myself behind a news kind of lens; one that would take wherever I wanted and a few places I didn't. But they were very few. Yes, back then I'd repeatedly suggest I ride on TOP of the police car if I thought it made for a funkier shot. It often did and I'd rush back to an edit bay with my bounty; eager to chop, slice and stretch the sights and sounds I'd collected in the name of news. It was nothing short of revelation and every two weeks they even paid me! Sort of.
That, of course, was some time ago. In the years that followed I bounced around a bit, shot every kind of news story there was at least twice while pretending to be cynical. And then it took! No longer faking my thousand yard stare, I decided I knew it all and didn't like any of it - all because I'd televised a few midnight drive-by's. In fact I might have become completely unfeeling had I not fathered two girls. See, driveway hugs and playroom Barbie towns will soften even the crustiest of cameramen. Eventually, I came around and while being a Dad didn't make my job any easier, it sure as hell put it into perspective. No longer jazzed over the cop-shop beat, I followed my instincts and Kuralt-like aspirations into the back half of the newscasts. There I could be creative and alone, unfettered by toothy reporters and glowering deputies. What followed was a decade or so of B-Block fodder and when I looked up from my umpteenth Easter Egg epic, it struck me I was no longer cool.
These days, I'm counted among the elders - a not so washed-up used-to-be, age 43. That's 106 in photog years - dead to you and me. And while I'm not yet ready for that pine box out back I readily admit I'm not the immortal lenslinger of newscasts past... I'm that dude who'd just as soon be left alone... I promise my package will be among the best in your show - if only you get the eff out my way....So why am I dredging this up again? Simple. I glimpsed the guy I used to be outside the Civil Rights Museum the other day. His name is Brian White and I pass him in the halls. But the other day, this production assistant joined us out in the open for a full day's clot of gratuitous live shots. His help was needed and we greatly appreciate it. But what I've come to savor the most was the random snapshot Weaver took around lunchtime, for the determined satisfaction on young Brian's face as he manned a reflector took me back to a simpler time, when every live shot felt like a shuttle launch, cell phones came with their own leather shoebox and all-knowing anchors burped the word of God...
Pace yourself, kid.