Archive for July, 2011

Inspiration Expiration

July 20, 2011

You always hear about writers who had a rough time, but made it. You hear about how J.K. spent months in a coffee shop, writing on napkins, before launching her media empire. You hear about how Steve and Kurt literally papered their walls with rejection slips, before landing their six figure deals. You hear these things, knowing full well they’re the exception not the rule, and they’re inspiring.

Then one day you wake up, and don’t have the energy to hump the dream anymore. You think, am I just wasting my time? Will it ever happen? Or maybe you don’t wake up, but your wife does, and she thinks you’ve spent enough time playing writer, and that it’s time to get a real job, like her ex, Doug, whom works at Citibank, a fact she found out at lunch with him the other day…

Unless you’re very lucky, you’re going to have that day, or more likely those days. They are the rule, not the exception. Should this not bring you comfort, know that discomfort leads to enlightenment, and enlightenment always leads to big cash payouts {see the Dalai Lama [he gets free hot dogs, with everything (or so I’ve heard)]}. So, write on, and you will get enlightenment, huge cash payouts, hot dogs, and, if nothing else, I hear the unexamined life is not worth living – Dr. Phil said that, I think.

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(not so) Precious Moments

July 14, 2011

Everybody’s seen the youtube clip with the ordinary supermodel. The one where she shows up, looking like nothin’ special, and, through the miracle of a time lapse photography, transforms into something made of pure sex and chocolate. It’s all well and good on its own, girls could use a lil’ reality in terms of body image, but the problem is, like any other story, it’s complete shit. That, and it’s made my life hell.

I probablly wouldn’t mind it if I were in a different line of work, but being a wedding videographer’s hard enough without unrealistic client expectations. Take Jane (not her real name) for example. Jane is what some might call a Rubenesque vision, that is, if the vision includes pipe cleaners for hair and backne. Now, I can drop subtle hints about avoiding a backless dress, or I can suggest how a fuller veil would add an element of mystery, but since dress advice is not traditionally given by the “guy behind the Camcorder,” my opinions are always ignored.

You’d think that at least some loved one, a mother perhaps, would say, ‘You know Jane, spaghetti straps digging into your arm flesh isn’t exactly flattering. You’d think that, but 99% of the time nobody says anything.

At best, I get a quick meet and greet with the happy couple in plain clothes, which is usually enough to tell me how much work I’ll have to do to make her look like Kate Middleton. Nobody gives a shit how the groom looks. If it’ll take more than an hour of strategic lighting, and more than a day in After Effects to make her shine, I usually pass. If I can’t pass, for whatever reason, I’ll give an estimate so high that they pass.

It’s unfortunate, I’ve lost a lot of business this way. But, the alternative is doing my best and still producing a sub-par video of their special day. I don’t want it, they don’t want it, and it always ends badly. They’ll either give me a bad write up or refuse payment, and I have to take them to court to collect. Court is a time consuming pain in the ass, and it’s pretty awful making, “She looked like a small horse wrapped in swiss cheese,” part of the public record.

Maybe I should just get a job shooting pro baby pics at the Mall. It’s got to be easier than this: nobody ever admits they have an ugly baby.

 

Eulogy for a Friend

July 13, 2011

With death, it’s best when it’s quick and unexpected. Except when it’s not you, and you have to give a eulogy. Then, you want something long and drawn out, preferably one of those “six months to live” scenarios. I know it sounds grim, wishing pain and suffering on your friends and loved ones, but it’s really better that way: at least for you.

If you’re lucky and there’s a ticking clock situation, not only will you have time to prepare your remarks, but the deceased might even write a bucket list, which is a friggin’ eulogy gold mine. Since you’re penciled in to speak for the walking dead, chances are you’re pretty close to him/her, and you’ll be a part of at least one skydiving/running of the bulls/Burning Man/Vegas outing/trip to Amsterdam.

Aside from having a bit of fun with your pal, before they’re worm food, you’ll get some great material to work with. It won’t be the humdrum, day to day, stuff that puts people to sleep. It wont be the sentimental, I’ll miss you man, garbage that’s met with a mix of tears and pity. It’ll be something that stinks of adventure, and it’ll have that living-in-the-face-of-death, inspirational vibe that people eat up.

Of course, you’ll want to be selective about what you include. Skip over the blacking out and waking up in a puddle, bit; skip the Gilmore Girls marathon; skip the entire trip to Thailand; and definitely skip the Vegas wedding: leave that fun surprise for the will reading.

Include any stories, that you might one day tell to a chick at a bar and/or her parents. Include the most daring bits, that you’d see in a Disney film. Include anything that you did which meets the same criteria, and say they did it. Your buddy’s rotting in a damn box, he/she won’t abject. The goal is to make him/her look good, it’s not about you, dammit.

If they’re lucky (and you’re not) and they drop dead suddenly, try not to be bitter in your speech. Also, don’t try to mask your bitterness with humor by making light of the death, no matter how comical. Even if you’re certain a Darwin Award is in the mail, the funeral is, in fact, just too soon.

If the deceased was a real shit, or a bore, you’re pretty much expected to make things up. Don’t worry, even if people know you are talking out of your ass, they won’t call you on it. I mean, seriously, they have more important things on their minds than whether or not Bill worked in a soup kitchen. However, keep it reasonable. Nobody’s gonna suspend disbelief enough to accept that 300 lb Skippy climbed mount everest, or agoraphobic Martha spent a year with Green Peace. But, reading to orphans a couple times a year, maybe(?), sure, why not.

One final tip. No matter what, avoid mentioning debts. Even if your fermented friend had those six months to pay you back, it’s still considered in extremely poor taste if you try and guilt the grieving widow or strong arm the surviving mother out of the twelve bucks you are owed. Just let it go, and fill up on shrimp at the after party.