6/30/2006

The Shoot from Hell

As some of you may recall, I used to work in the exciting and glamorous world of TV production. I held all the crew positions at one time or another...including master control, director, editor, camera monkey, and microphone spittle remover. The hours were shitty and the pay was even shittier, but I did my work, and I did it with pride. But after over ten years of abuse, I finally bailed out and dove into the exciting and glamorous world of computer programming. However, I do occasionally take on a freelance TV gig. It helps remind me why I got out of that rotten, stinking business.

Last night I was helping on a shoot for a furniture store commercial. For reasons you will see in a moment, I normally despise commercial shoots. But the location was close to my mansion, and I was promised it would take NO MORE THAN TWO HOURS. So I figured, why not?

So I got to the dump at the scheduled time and met up with the rest of the crew. The display room was huge, dimly lit, and had he acoustic properties of a high school gym. I could tell this was going to be a fun night. Then the store owner showed up - he was going to be appearing in the commercial. Now if I have only learned one thing in my vast experience in show biz, it's this: Store owners who insist on starring in their own commercials are Class-A schmucks. Why, you ask? Two reasons...

1. They are too fucking cheap to hire professional talent.
2. They are American Idol wannabes trying to buy their way to fame.

So while the owner was talking to the producer, I sized the guy up. Ten cans of hairspray. Three layers of makeup. Cheap cologne. Loud tie. And the whitest fucking teeth I've ever seen in my life. Serious, this dude must gargle with Clorox every morning. This schmuck was totally in love with himself and eager to get his ass in front of the camera.

Then he came over and introduced himself...

Schmuck: "Hi, my name's Biff Butthead!!!"
Me: "Hi, my name is Dyckerson, and I'll be shooting you this evening."
Schmuck: "But I thought the other guy was the camera operator."
Me: "He is."

Next we began to set up for the first shot. The script was five lines, and there were three different shots...which meant he only had to remember one or two lines at a time. Piece o' cake, right? WRONG. Each shot requires at least 50 takes and two hours of videotape.

Here are just a few of the highlights...

Schmuck: "Do you need to white balance? How's the framing? What about a mic check? How's the back light? Can you fix that in post?"
Me: "We're all very impressed with your vast knowledge of broadcast terminology. I can see your subscription to Videography magazine has not gone to waste. Now shut the fuck up and read the lines, monkey."

Schmuck: "I'm having trouble with this line. I think we should change the word EVERY to ALL."
Me: "No problem, Shakespeare. There will be a $50 teleprompter change fee, paid in cash, directly to me."

Schmuck: "Can you do anything about this shiny spot on my forehead?"
Me: "Sure. I'll get you a bottle of Rogaine."

This bullshit went on for not one...not two...but FIVE HOURS. And if I had a nickel for every time he said "Let's do one more take," I'd be a wealthy Dyckerson. Finally we packed up and left at 1:00am, but the schmuck was so in love with himself, I don't think he even noticed. In fact, he's probably still standing there doing take after take after take.

So listen to uncle Dyckerson, boys and girls. Study hard, go to med school, and stay the fuck out of TV.

10 comments:

Chief Scientist said...

Advice taken. The only videos I am in are porn, and involving me. I don't need multiple takes but I do need multiple cameras, unless I am shooting 70mm and with a wide-angle lens. Then my whole wee-wee can fit in the frame.

tfg said...

Well, fuck. There goes my dream of being the channel 11 weathergirl.

Mighty Dyckerson said...

Mod - I wouldn't know about that. I'm not into beastiality porn.

~ Stacy ~ said...

"... and I'll be shooting you this evening."

[heh]

Funny.

RevRee said...

Dyckerson's right! Working in television pays SHIT!

I've heard some people make their money after hours in the studio...

Not that I know anything about that or anything...

Manola Blablablanik said...

Mighty, with all your skill, how come you haven't started producing your own porn? Here's an idea: Manola cleans the tile of your plantation mansion.

RainStorm1212 said...

Wow, this guy actually makes Tom Cruise look good. You should have just kicked him in the balls.

jmeped said...

My new best friend is a tranny if you need a muse, or a story line. I like to boss people around can I be the director?

Mr. Anthrope said...

If my name was Biff Butthead, I would so open a furniture store named after me.

Cara said...

Ahhhhh T.V. She's a cruel bitch that shows up in high heels but then promptly shoves them up your ass.

I hate her. But I shall not leave her.