When Tom Lassiter asked me to come speak to the Triad Final Cut Pro Users Group, I had to laugh. Not at the invitation, but the irony of it all. It was only seven months ago that I began using Final Cut, the most sophisticated editing software this then 43 year old had ever laid callouses on. “I need to be able to blow into a bay with the smell of house fire on me and lay the whole tragic smack down in under a few minutes,” I fumed at the time. How I was gonna do so with the candy-colored hell that is an FCP keyboard worried me, so much so that I almost did something about it. But instead of getting all proactive, I chose instead The Photog Way. That’s right: I grumbled, pouted out in the open, launched a campaign to defame the good people at Apple. Then I figured out Final Cut the same way I’ve learned every other piece of gear in my career: under extreme deadline. That makes me a survivor of sorts, but it hardly qualifies me to address a group of computer enthusiasts.
Or do it? I’d be less than frank if I didn’t admit I like public speaking. It’s like performing stand-up comedy without having to be funny. Not being funny is something I can usually pull off, especially when the subject at hand is familiar as, say, a highly sophisticated editing system I never bothered to properly learn... Yeesh. Knowing my particular strain of bullshit would only get me through the first fifteen minutes, I dialed up the one individual whose technical grasp matches my own knack for self-aggrandizement: The Mighty Weave.
Come on - who didn’t see THAT coming? Chris Weaver and I have been indulging each other’s distraction for almost as long as we been friends. It’s a good partnership: He’s detail oriented, I get lost in long hallways. He can prattle off any gadget’s schematics, I know most of the Lizard King’s on-stage tirades by heart. Who better to provide usable intelligence once my own fuzzy thinking ran dry? Apparently no one, for I dare say Weaver and I fell into a groove - right there in front of twenty-five or so Final Cut fans. We detailed our work-flow, told how we used a byzantine system to make simple cinema under horrendous conditions. Weaver showed them a handful of time-saving techniques. I described how handy those moves could be when you were slicing away on some laptop bolted to the back-cabin of a stranded live truck, searching for the cursed HOME button as your partner for the day squirts hair spray in your one eye not out of whack from viewfinder abuse.
By the end of the session, nearly three hours had passed and unless I was hallucinating, nobody was in any rush to leave. Maybe that's because Weaver and I covered each other's gaps. Maybe it's because we covered methods, motivation and the madness surrounding daily news. Maybe it's because we knew when to lay off the minutia and roll that beautiful bean footage of a certain person imploring his colleague to "Call the Law!".
Hey, no need to bore 'em.