This week I got my first piece of hate mail at WXIA. It could have been a critique of my prowess as a videographer. That aspect of my Dragon*Con story, which aired Monday, was overlooked by the unhappy correspondent.
Had the writer carefully checked 11alive.com, he would have found that WXIA produced two pieces on Dragon*Con over the weekend. Both were one-man-band pieces. Photographer Stephen Boisey shot and produced his piece Saturday night. I shot mine over portions of two days, then produced and delivered it Monday.
Boisey’s piece had better visuals. He kept his eye out for the material that makes Dragon*Con the curiosity that it is: Grown men and women in strange costumes. He interviewed some of them. He asked clever questions. He pieced it together with some production music that’s stored in a library at WXIA. It was a fun piece. Regrettably, it’s no longer available on 11alive.com.
Visually, my piece was somewhat of a failure. Every time I camped out looking for odd costumes, none came. Instead, I got abundant video of mediocre costumes, as well as garden-variety spectators. Whenever I saw the truly amazing costumes, my camera was nowhere nearby.
Sensing my near-panic, my friend Darrell offered to assist. Darrell is a filmmaker and freelance video guy. For the price of a beer, he helped ensure that my interviewees stayed in frame and in focus. I was grateful. The interviews saved the piece.
My interview with Dana Swanson especially saved the piece. Swanson is “Miss Lady Flex” in an Atlanta musical act called Le Sexoflex. She grasped my storyline instantly. She and her three band-mates, who’d already planned impromptu performances at Dragon*Con, gave the piece a helpful aural thread (once I substituted a naughty word. Download Le Sexoflex’s highly listenable mix tape at no charge here. Warning: It’s shamelessly raunchy and utterly hilarious.)
Bottom line: Once I realized I lacked sufficient video of crazy costumes, I solicited help from Eddie Ray. He’s a friend and spousal co-worker who put something like a thousand Dragon*Con photos on Flickr. He blessed my use of his photos.
If you view both pieces, you’ll notice that Boisey and I both managed to interview the same couple at one point. Given the fact that some 40,000 people attended Dragon*Con, this makes perfect sense.
Boisey and I both got separate hate mail from different viewers who claimed we failed to show Dragon*Con sufficient respect. We respectfully disagreed. Both pieces showed a lot of affection for the event.
Meantime, I’m burying the lede: An epic failure that encapsulates the genuine hurdles I have yet to overcome as a photographer. I’m saving that story for the next post, though.