“A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse” – Rod Stewart
When a musician is said to have a good ear it doesn’t just mean he can hear sounds and noises. They’re referring to his inner ear where subtlety and nuance occur in a given piece of music. Or, it’s in their head trying to get out. That is an extremely valuable asset in that genre. The same might be said of a “nose for news”. A good eye in video is what separates the wheat from the chaff. I do a lot of work with my step-son Jesse, who is an artist in every sense of the word. He sees things and comes up with ideas which at first blush (to me) are totally way out there and run headlong into my business sensibilities. He’s the artsy-fartsy guy and I’m the cold steel business end. But it works. Beautifully.
So we’re in New Orleans covering a train the trainer for docs who were going to speak on a soon to be launched product. That’s another story. They were being trained on using the locked down, no improvisation, legally approved, regulatory stamped, market researched, no straying from the script, power point deck under penalty of death, or worse, you won’t get paid. This was a two day affair where we covered all the training and presentations.
That evening, I brought up the idea of getting these docs on camera in an impromptu setting near a big buffet where the drinks were flowing. Marketing thought it was a great idea but they wanted no part in lining my victims up. Par for the course. They just pointed them out and I would descend on my unsuspecting prey. This part of the process I call “bulldogging” because you have to be gentle but forceful and promise them their own personal copy of the video. Usually I have to coax, cajole and coddle folks, who if you take away their slides, it’s like pulling their pants down, in public.
To my delight, everyone was extremely cordial and friendly and more than happy to help. There were nine docs in total in a very crowded buffet/bar/lounge area and that presented a problem for me. There was no place to set up the lights, tripod, mics etc. I was getting a rash. I wanted to find a corner to stash them and get them to open up. As the crowd started to thin, I’m really panicking now. These birds are going to fly.
So Jesse says, “Let’s just stand them one by one in the middle of the floor with the big crowded hall behind them.” I thought he was nuts. He says “Trust me, with a shallow depth of field it will look great.” So I relented, somewhat hesitantly and I must say, it went off beautifully. They each had enough to drink where they felt comfortable speaking their mind on what we could be doing better as a company to market the product and even added their own experiences in clinical trials.
When I got to my room later, I checked the footage and it was gorgeous. The audio was perfect and the framing showed a hub of excitement and enthusiasm that captured the spirit of the moment. I still have that footage and wonder where Jesse got his “eye”. I rely on his judgement solely now which frees me up to take care of the business end of things.
Now, anytime time Jesse comes up with an approach I think is off the wall at first blush, I usually respond with “Eye, eye, Cap’n!