Living in the spotlight ain’t as easy as you think:
We are all ‘paparazzi’ now
IN LOS ANGELES, we live in what is, arguably, the media capital of the world.
After all, Bollywood is a pale imitation – though catching up fast – to Hollywood. Did anyone ever hear of Pinewood Studios?
Entertainment is America’s second largest export, second only to U.S. Dollars (yes, we export those by the boatload, mostly to China).
Living in a fish bowl, as some of us in Los Angeles do, requires special knowledge. Of hardware and software. Hard power and soft power.
Lynxdigitalmedia and I enjoy a balmy evening on the sidewalk patio at Trunks on Friday. Many of the bistros in West Hollywood have recently added outdoor seating to their facilities. It’s a wonderful – and too rare – innovation for Southern California. © Warren Swil 2013. Creative Commons.
The past month has been the first time since the 1980s that I’ve actually been in front of the camera – not really by choice.
It began about three weeks ago, after a story about me appeared in many local newspapers (along with images of me being “escorted” by a police officer). Read the best one here.
ON APRIL 7, with Jonathan D. I was enjoying the outdoor patio at Bayou, a popular new bistro on Santa Monica Boulevard. Suddenly, I was asked to step onto the sidewalk for an on-camera interview with Chris Greco. (I posted about him on Facebook a day or two later.)
Chris said he is a contributor to TMZ, the celebrity/gossip site. Why on Earth would they be interested in me? Nevertheless, he had done his homework about my case on Google and was thoroughly professional
I had warned him before he started the camera rolling that I would not talk about my employer at all because I was prohibited by them from doing so.
He tossed a few softballs my way, I smiled, graciously giving him what he needed. Then he slipped in: “So what do you think about what is happening at …. (my employer)?”
I deadpanned: “Chris, you know I cannot answer that question. But isn’t it a beautiful evening we’re having here in West Hollywood?”
As every politician (and I am not one of those) knows – and practices, daily – when you are asked on camera a question you don’t want to answer, do not say: “No comment.” Just change the subject.
If you do say “No comment,” the first thing the viewers will wonder is, “What is he hiding?”
SO, on Friday night it was my pleasure and my education to have the most delightful connection with another who is, like me, on both sides of the camera.
Lynxdigitalmedia, “Lynx” to his friends, and I sat on the patio at Trunks in West Hollywood for about five hours.
For the first couple of hours, it was a “get-to-know-you” conversation. But, after we had swapped our stories, and the sun dipped behind the Santa Monica Mountains, the flavor of our environment changed.
As I was pulling the little white paper sack from my leather jacket, Lynx zoomed in for the ECU. Video photography by Lynxdigitalmedia.
The paparazzi hit the streets.
Increasingly, we both became aware of the camera strobes, first hear-and-there, then with increasing frequency. Not all were aimed at us. But as it grew later, they were, with increasing frequency. Did you see my post “Shooting you, shooting me”?
Well, it happened. Again.
But that’s an old story, already told.
Not only did the cameras disturb what had become a totally personal encounter, but so did the people. They are attracted like moths to a flame when they see the strobes – and, of course, Lynx, who looks like he just stepped out of a reality TV show or soap opera. He had, indeed.
At one point during the evening, I told Lynx about my medical marijuana experience of a few hours earlier.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that Lynx could shoot a video clip for my blog post about it. He has a tiny video camera that looks quite a lot like a phone (and many believe it is, to his advantage. But he had left his memory card elsewhere, so I suggested we use my iPad which captures great video.
We set up the shot.
I was to reach into the pocket of my leather jacket, retrieve the white paper bag inside, and then empty the contents and show them to the
The finale: two joints, one mouth. Video photography by Lynxdigitalmedia.
camera. Out came a Swiss chocolate bar, then another. Then I puled out a joint. Lynx did a closeup.
For the finale, I pulled out the remaining two joints, then stuck them both in my mouth grinning broadly at the camera. After the obligatory 30 seconds or so, I yelled, “Cut!”
Lynx did amazing camera work, with my iPad, not an easy piece of equipment to operate like a camera. Not the static talking-head shot seen on so many commercial networks. As I opened the little white paper sack for the first time, he zoomed in on my hands. When I held the chocolate bars up, he got an ECU.
Now I know why he is rapidly becoming a star. Nay, he is already one!
Alas, my totally unrehearsed on-camera presence was lousy. Far too frenetic. I can’t share it here (or anywhere). But you will see a couple of images captured from it along with this post.
INSPIRED by the work of Lynxdigital media, I spent Saturday afternoon learning iMovie. The video you can now see on youTube was shot from the plane on my return from Guadalajara, on April 23. Watch it here.
It may be a bit amateurish. But for my first attempt, I am proud. And, it was fun – to make, edit and publish.
It’s certainly not approaching the creativity of the video I blogged on Friday by Steve Devol of the L.A. Times.
But hang on Steve and Lynx, practice makes perfect.
Are we all buckled up for takeoff?