Monday, September 20, 2010

Men Who Stare At Goats

Editing GoatsGuess what I did today? Okay, so the title and picture pretty much tells you that, but allow me to elucidate anyway, won't you? I'd barely strolled into the morning meeting this fine Monday when an odd combination of letters screamed at me from the dry-erase board: Stewart/Goats/Edit... Scratching my head, I withdrew from the room, wondering what all this goat business was about when it hit me: I did shoot a bunch of goats last week! You know, the fact that I can travel out of town just to hang out with a bunch of cloven-hoofed beasts as they masticate AND THEN FORGET ABOUT IT FOUR DAYS LATER should tell you a thing or three about the mental capacity of a forty something photog. Especially one like me - who churns out TV News at such a steady boil that very little of it is left simmering in my brain-pan. You might also chalk it up to my powers of focustration, for I'm quite able to walk through a squad of riot cops and remember only the glint of light on that one guy's visor. Not sure that's always a good thing, but an eye for detail comes in damn handy when you're locked away in an edit bay all day.

Well, not ALL day. There were the few minutes I spent trying to open that bag of Doritos, the half-hour I devoted to trick-clipping my fingernails into a trashcan, not to mention that whole post-lunch period where I tweaked one clip so many times I finally lost consciousness. Dude, was my neck stiff! Luckily, I had a chance to stretch it, for no sooner had I awoke and finally leaned into a sequence than a shadow fell over my edit bay. Minutes later, I leaned into a steering wheel instead, racing to record the image a building in Winston that, frankly, wasn't going anywhere. But who keeps score? Not me. I'm way too busy 'making slot' (deadline), which is basic Tee-Veese for "you get to come back to work tomorrow". Most days though, I go it alone and whatever I chase down in the morning I serve up fresh and steaming later that day. This gig, however, was different. This was deeper, delayed, more densely formed. This was from the mind of the Piedmont's Premiere Journalist of His Generation. This, was a Buckumentary.

"Buck-yuh-men-tuh-ree". That's an insider El Ocho term for 'any pre-recorded report helmed, hosted and/or written by Senior Reporter Bob Buckley. Ya know, it's not every talking hair-do who enjoys eponymous bonding with the glass-handling staff, but then again, there are very few Bob Buckleys. In fact, I've only met one, a rather adept fellow from the Midwest who never met a subject he couldn't wrap several layers of television around. Just ask any of the many shooters who've accompanied Bob through some of the most esoteric reportage this side of that guy who throws darts at the map. They'll tell you there's no one better than Bob at illustrating abstract issues on screen. Why he once explained supply-side economics using only a half dozen eggs, shadow puppets and the long lost transcripts of Copernicus. You can't get THAT in some tiny feeder market! Nor can you acquire the kind of crushing headache a full-on Buckumentary can provide from some live truck script hastily scribbled onto the back of a Jimmy John's sandwich bag! No Sir, for that particular migraine you need a stack of neatly typed analysis, highlighters in five fruity colors and and soundbites gleaned only from the wrinkled corners of your tape. Speaking of which, I'd better get busy...
First though, any chance you can help me with these Doritos? It's like they're hermetically sealed or something...

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