Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dear mom: TV is going great.

Today was day 1 of learning to be a TV reporter. I had my reservations about TV from the get go, because I dislike the following things:

1) Carrying heavy stuff
2) Worrying about how I look
3) Being legally liable for $12 000 dollars worth of equipment

But it's part of the program, and apparently we all have to be able to shoot video, edit audio, play the piano and tap dance for the web these days if we want to be employable. So I gamely put on my best Reporter Barbie outfit, complete with pearls and make up, and arrived ready to learn.

Step one: Take the battery out of the charger, put it in the camera, and take it back out again. I successfully get the battery into the camera, and gently push it out again.

Whiz-BANG! The battery shoots out of the camera like a cannon ball and hits Peach squarely in the uterus. Peach is torn between clutching her stomach in pain and laughing hysterically. Off to a great start already.

Step two: Framing a shot and focussing it. "Let's pick a student at random for an example," says the tech guy teaching the lesson.

One nanosecond later, a broadcast quality close up of my face was on two very large television screens at the front of the class.

99% of the time, I take being low maintenance to extremes. It takes me 45 minutes to get ready in the mornings, including breakfast. I have gotten one manicure and zero pedicures in my life. I wear my hair in a ponytail almost every day, and the only reason there's anything in my wardrobe besides hoodies, jeans, and t-shirts is because my December internship forced me to go shopping.

But there are a few scenarios that bring out my repressed beauty anxieties. One is getting my hair cut (the lighting is very bright, you have to look at yourself in a mirror the whole time, and everyone who works there is wearing 90 pounds of makeup and is dressed like they're going clubbing). Another is being on video. Bad pictures? Whatever, you can blame the shot. There's no hiding from video. That is what you look like. Puffy cheeks, bloodshot eyes, staticky hair, and all. In broadcast quality close up. On a very large screen. In front of my entire class.

Step 3: Put the camera and tripod together and do some practice interviews with classmates. 

My group and I walk in from break to find our camera missing. "Someone must have mixed them up and taken ours by accident," we reason out loud.

Tech Guy goes white. "Could you please... go check... and find it... now?"

Did I mention these cameras are worth $12 000, and we signed a form saying we're responsible for paying for them if it's our own fault they go missing or broken?

Dear mom: TV is going great. Today was our first day and I rendered my friend infertile. Also, someone took our camera and now I owe Carleton twelve grand. I'm sure I can pay that back in ten years or so. Tim Hortons has had a help wanted sign since September.

We found the camera. We even set the tripod up, turned it on, and took a sequence of shots.

But it took us about two hours. That's going to be real impressive when we're interviewing real people with better things to do.


The Peach said...

Right in the baby-maker. When I can't have children because of radioactive activity in my uterus, I'm calling on you to be my surrogate.

Millie said...

You could totally work for Tim Horton's, I think I left my uniform at your house.