Monday, May 21, 2007

Impulse Buy or Investment?


Recently, I received an invite to cover a posh fundraising event in Beverly Hills. Knowing there was going to be a lot to see, the tv producer in me wanted to videotape it. Unfortunately, I didn't come to this realization until the night before the event. But there were two important things to consider: 1. I really don't like to shoot and 2. I don't own a video camera. Actually, it's not that I don't like composing shots in viewfinders, it's the set up and break down I absolutely despise. Several years of lugging heavy equipment from place to place and standing on platforms, chairs, or boxes to get the shot due to my height deficiency burned me out. However, under favorable conditions I do occasionally go back to my old ways: if it's a subject that interests me and a reasonable payment is involved.

But I'm a writer not a shooter! So why was I standing in a Hollywood electronics store Saturday night agonizing over whether to buy, rent, or borrow camera? Because the producer in me knew I could better cover the event through video not just words. But could I afford to buy or rent one? Yes, but who wants to eat tuna for a week if you don't really have to? Was the sacrifice worth it? The question went unanswered until the next day.

On the way home, I called a friend and arranged a pick up of their professional camera Sunday morning before the event at noon. At 10:30 am, one and half hours before I was to be on the red carpet, those plans fell through. Thinking quickly I contacted a rental shop. The $5,000 dollar deposit for a $500 loan of equipment was more than my credit card could stand. So in a panic I went back to the electronic store and purchased a camcorder and tripod, knowing I would have little time to charge it. When I told the sales person my dilemma, she threw in a car charger. Then I rushed my purchases to the car, ripped open boxes with the help of my car keys, plugged the car charger to the camera's battery charger and nothing. No lights, no noise, no nothing to indicate that the charger was working. It was thirty minutes before the fundraiser and I am pissed--more with myself than anything else. I had totally mishandled the situation, and was not going to be able to appear to be the professional I knew in my heart to be.

With anger churning inside, I arrived 15 minutes late to the event. I tried to pull it together, because I didn't want to further misrepresent myself nor this site. Professional press flashed away at red carpet arrivals and their I stood with my consumer digital camera. Talk about feeling small. There I was trying to hang with the big boys with my little "toy" that captured still images and video. A part of me wanted to leave but the trooper in me kept me there, flashing away like everyone else. I was there to serve a purpose, and I meant to do that by any means necessary. Which in this case meant using my little digital camera and video shooting skills. My coverage of the event should be posted in a couple of days.

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