Thursday, October 18, 2012

So That Others May Vedge...

Lean into it.
Knowing what all the knobs do will get you started in this business, but if you're really going to last behind the lens, you must know how to GET BENT! Just ask Jimmy Hall, the self-described 'camera mang' we first met chillin' outside the John Edwards trial. Better yet, leave the man alone 'til he's done up there. Whatever bucket list he's working on, it looks like he's about to check off another box. Why, it's enough to make his Momma nervous, leaning back like that. Not me, though. If I know Jimmy, he's got two green sneakers wrapped around his speaker's spleen. My only concern is how I might have to catch that fancy-cam in the unlikely case he drop it. Then again, if said rig suddenly loses altitude, dude's comin' with it - Wile E. Coyote style. I can only hope to break his fall with a nice soft anvil I ordered from ACME. But enough of my thought bubbles, let's get to our feature!

You now, a smart guy like Jimmy could find a much easier way to make a living. But legal tender isn't ALL this admitted cinephile is  after. It's the lifestyle. Yes, it's tough making the S-word (style) stick when you're aiming it at a  news shooter, but put all thoughts of my cargo jorts aside for a minute and consider where even an entry-level lenslinger might find his (or her) self: Holed up in a cabin with some mountain drifter turned reality show darling, high-stepping backwards with both eyes crossed as the man America loves to hate tries to step on your shoes, living in a van down by the river as police in scuba suits scrape the bottom for hints of where the limo went ... and that's all before lunch! Yup, it's not my tax bracket that lulls me to sleep at night. It's the quiet knowledge that the best views don't always make the news. Instead they roll around in my head for damn near decades.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get some sleep. My chiropractor's kids needs braces and I told him I'd hook him up by riding along with a bunch of bike cops as they crack a stolen moped ring.

THAT should be worth a couple of visits.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dawn of the Dumb

Haunted House Plane Crash

Sling a lens through an October of B-Blocks and you're bound to hit a haunted house. These days, they're hard to miss. Cornfield of Corpses, Spew at the Zoo, Cadaver Shack: surely there's a flock of hopped-up weirdos making church folk nervous in YOUR town. There certainly are here. In fact, the free-range beatnik seems to thrive here in the Greater Piedmont Googolplex. Perhaps it's our (sometimes) thriving film making community, our wealth of rotting textile plants or just an overall love of chainsaws and moonshine. Whatever the cause, large-scale haunted attractions are big business around here - which means they pop up pretty regularly on the evening news. Enter, ME, a weathered skeptic with a growth on my shoulder and a fresh deadline hanging over my head. I don't need some mannequin slathered in Strawberry Pop-Tart to make me break into a cold sweat. All I gotta do is imagine how many ribbon-cuttings I'll shoot when I'm Fifty.

THAT'S horrifying.

Anyhoo, if you're looking for someone to lead a Brownie troop through Massacre Castle, you got the wrong guy. I'm feckless at best, a firm unbeliever with a knack for distraction and the body language of Barney Fife. I consider myself a realist, but I still break out imaginary Kung-Fu whenever I walk into a spiderweb. I'm no threat to anyone, but push me through Hell's Hallway and some college-age zombies are probably gonna want to press charges. I wouldn't last a millisecond in the UFC, but I'll gladly put myself in traction attempting to go all Billy Jack. Thus, I steer clear of Satan's Basement and the like: no one wants to see a middle-aged man wet himself. Well, no one that I wanna hang out with. Yep, there's only one way I'll willingly enter an old condom factory full of grabby Goth Kids... 

With a face full of fancycam.

Grant me that shield and I will march into anarchy. It won't stop bullets or speed up time, but a brightly labeled TV camera can open locked doors, fend off degenerates and cause keynote speakers to up chuck rubber chicken. Don't tell ME I can't take on a room full of former Blockbuster clerks. I survived city council stand-offs, sparked stampedes at Easter Egg hunts and clawed my way through coliseums throbbing with American Idol Undead. Hit me with your best shot. Better yet, DON'T HURT THE CAMERAMAN! It's the very same warning I give those brutes at the Girls Volleyball Tournament every year. Hey, Crumbling Mummy Man! Hands off and I'll smear your silly image from the Capitol to the Coast! Lay just one square inch of gauze on me or my camera and even the nerd you got DVR'ing tonight's newscast will swear you didn't show up for your shift.

Now put down that crossbow before I hurt both of us.