Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Gnats on the Glass

At least he got the shirt right.
You there - with the Etch-A-Sketch... Don Ho just rose from the dead and he wants his shirt back. While you’re at it, hand over your health insurance card. It’ll come in handy when they have to chopper you out. 

Nah, I’m kidding, no one’s gonna lay a hand on you. But don’t be surprised if you pop up on indignant photog blogs across the land. See, you’re being a tool. We’ll get to why in a moment, but let me ask you: Would you barge into a Major League dugout during a game and start swinging a Wiffle Bat? ‘Cause you kinda just did. It’s one thing to whip out your tablet-cam and block some granny’s view of the proceedings, but when you start crowding out the pros, you’re treading on dangerous ground. See that dude slumped over his tripod? He may look asleep but twice now he’s committed your image to his memory card (You know, in case you should go missing.) And his buddy with the fishing vest and look of indigestion? He’s already wondering if your intestines will fit in his live truck’s glove compartment. Careful, his elbows are considered lethal weapons in three states.

Me? I’m a lover, not a fighter. But block my shot and the sequined glove comes off. It’s a professional courtesy among those of us who squint for a living and one I’d gladly extend to you and that magic portal you’re clutching. And just so you know, we’re ALL Apple fans. But you’re trying to prepare a four course meal using nothing but a dinner plate and it offends our sensibilities. So keep that sidelines and we’ll get along just fine. Remember, the iPad is a wondrous thing, but so too is the human rectum. If I were you, I’d go with the smart phone instead. Might be easier for the paramedics to remove. Don’t worry though...

 I’ll be happy to call 911.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Debacalypse Now

Charles Ramsey Once upon a time, a photog's only concern was keeping the live truck between the ditches. Now these TV stevedores have to worry about spreading global viruses. Take the latest case of Charles Ramsey - that whimsical witness who's helped a nation heal snicker and snort at a sadistic rape and kidnapping. Sure, he kicked that cursing anchor kid out of the national consciousness. And for that he should rightfully be heralded a hero. But what about those underpaid souls pointing glass at this latest sensation? Will they be able to move past the part they played in this predictable passion play? Can they sleep at night knowing a passel of catchphrases can be directly linked to the twitch of their collective thumbs? Many can not and as their focus goes, so too does their sanity...

It's why we here at The Lenslinger Institute are proud to announce the opening of Camera Manor, a full service rehabilitation facility for those living with the fact they unleashed a lunatic across the land. Already, scores of wards are filling fast with photogs caught in the grip of P.H.S.D. (Post Hyperbole Stress Disorder). Spotlighting ass-hats may launch a million internet memes, but the scars left on the news shooter psyche don't fade as fast as Balloon Boy, Sweet Brown, Grumpy Cat...

Just ask Hobbs in Room 13. Once at a train wreck, he jammed a camera in a hobo's face. How was he supposed to know hobos yodeled? Well, they do, and before Hobbs could even find his tripod, the yodeling hobo went viral. Old dude eventually got a reality show, even banged a Kardashian. Meanwhile, Hobbs is blinded by remorse. Says he poisoned the planet, added to the inanity and brokered a hobo's third case of the clap. Hobbs took it hard. Eventually we found him in the photog's lounge, sewing his eyelids shut with tiny strips of gaffer's tape. Now he sits in the dark in Room 13, making shadow puppets only he can see. 

But YOU can help the residual victims of telecommunications abuse. Just send a blank check, valid Lotto ticket or complimentary keg to The Lenslinger Institute  and we'll see that the lost souls at Camera Manor hear just how much we enjoyed your generosity. Meanwhile, feel free to snicker at the very next hysterical neighbor who rockets to the top of your Twitter feed. But remember...

A guy with two credits of film school under his belt and three bucks in his billfold is a terrible thing to waste.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Blood on the Moon

Screen shot 2013-04-30 at 6.40.54 PMIn a world where ambush interviews often lead to fisticuffs, isn’t it refreshing when one goes goofy instead? That’s exactly what happened recently when WJLA reporter Kris Van Cleave and photojournalist Brandon Mowry took on a local carpet cleaning company suspected of sketchy bookkeeping and unscrupulous suckage. It could have ended there, with a terse denial and quick eviction of said camera crew. But the man being questioned, whom will call “Dumbass”, turns in a performance so textured. so nuanced, so completely ill-advised, that the resulting clip is playing all summer long at the Dollar Theater in my head. Now, if you’ll kindly stop kicking the back of my seat, we’ll get through this...

The first fifty seconds is pretty standard fare. Van Cleave questions the man about getting his floor covering cleaned as hidden cameras rolled. But shortly before the minute mark, the camera comes out of hiding and stupidity ensues. Flush with the realization that he’s about to make the news, the upbraided sensation dashes from his place of employ, forcing Van Cleave and Mowry to join in pursuit, lest the suddenly agile upholsterer runs completely out of camera range...

And then God blew milk out of his nose.

At least I did, for as soon as Dumbass split the scenery, he took a tumble, biting it hard on the pavement outside and emitting the kind of mortally wounded Girl Scout noise that causes News Directors to shout when the photogs gather around and guffaw at a particularly pleasing sequence. But the fun doesn’t stop there. With a dazzling flash of ass-crack, Dude gets up, breaks left, breaks right and breaks left again before circling a van and finally running off. Mowry and his camera follow, as Van Cleave does an admirable job of keeping the wisecracks to a minimum (my favorite: “Does this mean you’re not gonna clean my carpet?”).



All the while, the reluctant interviewee displays a brazen case of ass and elbows, at one point nearly running in front of a moving car, a risky move that could jettisoned his news debut to the very top of the next available broadcast. Luckily, no one got hurt, though I’ve put a definite kink in my spleen laughing at the raw footage. As it sputters to a close, dude is still running, no doubt to earn his fellow floor covering saboteurs that the jig is most definitely up. Wherever he went, this track-suited fugitive left a definite impression, raising the act of running away like a leetle girl to the level of performance of art. Bravo, Good Sir, Bravo. You deserve to go viral and possibly even score your own reality show development deal. Why this hasn’t been Songify’d already could be the subject of another investigation - one I’d be more than happy to assist with any reenactments. You bring the fancycam...

I’ll bring the ass-crack.