Just when you think that everything is in line, that all your ducks are in a row, that you have reached Video Nirvana, the lens cap of life falls off and you realize - yet again - that you are nowhere near as clever as you think you are.
Way, way back in the Lost Days of the 20th Century, my crew and I decided that we could make a documentary every bit as good as what you might see on PBS, or any other network. The subject of our documentary - which would air as a segment of “On the Air with Richard S. Drake,” was the Civil War Battle of Fayetteville.
It was something we worked on for about a month - hey, we all had jobs besides putting our little TV show on. I interviewed Kim Scott, a local expert on the battle, and members of the crew performed yeoman’s service, doing dramatic readings.
We also had shots of maps, paintings, and music to go along with footage of local Civil War re-enactors.
The only thing left to do was to go out into the community itself and get shots of historical sites, including both the national cemetery, and the Confederate cemetery in Fayetteville.
The Confederate cemetery, in fact, was our last stop for footage, at 8:30 on a frigid cold morning,
And so there we were, my director, Bill Ritter, and myself, traipsing among the graves and monuments, getting shots for our program, sipping that always excellent coffee that you get from convenience stores.
After about half an hour, we had all of our footage -now all we had to do was edit the program together. And in reality, we were editing almost up to the time it came to pop the tape (these were the days before DVDs) into the deck and share our work with the rest of the world.
I have to say, it’s one of my favorite shows, and without being too vain, there were some others who agreed with that assessment.
And yet . . .
I didn’t notice this the first time I watched the program, and probably not even the second, but on the third viewing, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
It was just a brief shot of the large monument in the Confederate Cemetery, but at the base of the monument there was a small white object. What the hell could that have been?
It was my styrofoam coffee cup, which I had evidently placed there while I handled the camera. More proof that styrofoam screws up a lot more than we can ever imagine.
I still notice it, every time the documentary airs. I’m sort of grateful that no one else has spotted it yet.
Quote of the Day
Deceiving someone for his own good is a responsibility that be shouldered only by the gods. - Henry S. Haskins