Thursday, May 10, 2012

Safe Return Doubtful...

Edwards Crew
Hey Moms and Dads, got a kid who's interested in broadcasting? WE CAN HELP! Just send him (or her) to The Lenslinger Institute's first ever field seminar - currently being held outside John Edwards' federal trial! Drop your (clearly troubled) teens off with us and we'll teach 'em how to read light, measure sound and fold time. For a limited time, we'll even school your adolescent in the fine art of asshole avoidance! HOW do we do it? Simple! We strap them to a wobbly stepladder, pummel 'em with elbows and browbeat them nearly senseless! But wait, there's more! Get 'em here before the defense rests and we'll make sure they'll never again express an interest in Communications. It starts with a pre-dawn cable course, transitions into a midday endurance test and culminates with the kind of late afternoon panic attack that'll send your little layabout running straight for the nearest Coast Guard recruiter! It's cheaper than reform school, better than water-boarding and nearly as senseless as those team-building workshops corporations spend your bonus on...

But just WHO can turn your TV News wannabe into a useful member of society? Our crack staff of highly jaded journalists, that's who! This rough but loving crew of camera operators, sound recordists and assorted engineers are committed (or should be) to preventing future generations from making the same mistakes we did. We'll treat your once precious youngster like they owe us money, douse them in fast food grease, even show them never before seen footage of the Tanning Mom. Don't ask where we got them! Just know that your child's future is as important to us as our next deadline. In fact, we won't rest until they're broken mentally, physically unsound and unwilling to even turn on the TV, let alone aspire to work inside one! But our instructors won't stop there. We'll relieve them of their pocket change and share with them the kind of real life road stories that would make a TMZ shooter blush.   

WHY do we do it? Because underneath our scruff and gruff, we really care! At least as much as a member of the media can. Truth is, our staff is pretty emotionally damaged, if not outright estranged from most of their family. We didn't plan to become like this, but decades of deadlines and  the rub of a thousand newscasts have rendered us virtually empty inside! It's a condition we wouldn't wish on many, which is why we won't let your teenager so much as sleep until he (or she) renounces all interest in mass communications of any kind. It's not always a pretty process, but once we're through with that little bastard, he (or she) won't so much as plug in an iPod without suffering post traumatic stress disorder. It sounds harsh, but when a kid fixates on the Fourth Estate, a future math teacher dies. That's bad for America and while most of us are banned from campuses, the further decline of western civilization is something we simply can't abide. So don't delay, for the very quality of your retirement home lies in the balance. Act now and receive a souvenir photo of your kid grimacing behind a philandering millionaire! Otherwise, we'll soon see you outside your family therapist's office. We'll be in the bushes, snapping towels and taking over/under bets on which of your kids lives with you forever! Just don't say we didn't warn ya!

Disclaimer: Four out of five participants return home so sufficiently shell-shocked they can't even spell T-V. However, certain personality types cannot be helped. Their precognitive conditions are so deeply ingrained they could become even more inflamed with the idea of multimedia fame and fortune. The Lenslinger Institute cannot be held responsible for these hopeless headcases, though we're more than willing to help place them as tradesmen (or women) in Panama City's fledgling porno production industry, or, worse yet, we can put them to work making infomercials. (Cost of restraining order not included.)


Soni said...

So. Yeah. Crossing a minor in journalism off my "things to consider on registration day" list...

phojodojo said...

Your curriculum sounds amazing! I only wish I had heard of it years before!

Grayson: Atlanta, GA said...

Hold your head up high, white dudes who went to college and sank years of perfectly good lives into a career that culminates in standing outside courthouses trying to get the money shot of Johnny's ho. At least no one will ever confuse you with a hedgefund manager. Right?

Our Daily Fred said...

Wow! You nailed it.

We used to call it "doorstepping" where you'd stand around most of the day waiting to get clips of a dozen people coming out of a meeting at the same time.

6 hours of boredom followed by 20 minutes of sheer terror that you might miss the best clip.

sapphoto said...


I've always been impressed with your writing. I've also been so impressed with your candid takes on the good and the bad that photojournalism and journalism in general can dish out.

This post nailed it for me. The inane mundane reality of journalism is astounding at times. I guess as long as we don't know how the sausage is made we can care less and just flip the remotes.

I can barely take the slop that news managers force on us now. I can't bear to watch local TV news. What with their "Fact Finder" teams(uhhh...hey consultant dude...that's what I did for 13 years and we didn't give it a fancy name) and 3 minute sweeps pieces telling me that gas prices are pretty much the same in a 3 hour radius, it's almost too much to handle. I have stopped watching, not that I did when I was in the biz. I know my wife thanks me for keeping the TV off.

I've since changed careers to teaching 3rd graders. I dare say my 13 years in as Assignment Editor, Producer, and "Lensslinger" prepared me as much as the 22 hours of masters classes I took to become a teacher. So I think your post is a great caveat to the glitz and glamour that is Tee-Vee nooz.


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