Sunday, November 9, 2008

Opposing Viewpoints

Want to know what it's like to be in a television studio for a major news event? Imagine a whirlpool of corporate and political forces. Or black hole, that image will work also. For years and then months, weeks, days and hours, centrifugal forces built from a wide, gentle rotation to an intense tightening of spin. You reach the event horizon where there is not enough energy to reverse course. You're trapped. The spin builds to a point where either gravity tears you apart or you get sucked down and out the other side. You’re on the air.

One of the major drawbacks of being in this business is the distancing I feel from the audience and the illusion I help create. I know what goes into the making the images the public sees and doesn’t really see. I know what’s in the background and how it got there. Yet there are few viewers who really want to talk about camera angles, lighting and scenery. It’s like seeing the brushstrokes and not the painting. Knowing to much.

The election of Barack Obama may be a seminal point in US politics, a change I've wanted to see since the death of Robert Kennedy. However as the election campaign wound down to it's final days and there was electricity in the streets of NYC, I just wanted the damned thing over. There is a tremendous amount of effort that goes into the run up to these major media events that the public doesn't see, work that should go unaccredited, invisible and perfect. As someone who has been fortunate enough earn his living in a fascinating business, I've gotten accustomed to the long, intense hours leading up to going on the air or first curtain and the anticlimax of the applause. But like lawmaking and sausage making, to witness news making close up is to lose one's appetite for it.

The evening of the election, as I was getting teary eyed as the speeches were being made and the celebrations started, I also felt a little cheated. Exhausted to the point of apathy wasn’t where I really wanted to be at this moment in time.

And load out started in the morning.