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The Perils of Live Television
There is an old adage in stage and television that says you should never work with kids or animals. Both are unpredictable and they will also eventually do something so cute that it will upstage your performance, even if you are currently juggling sixteen flaming bowling pins while singing light opera as you perform elective surgery.
We recently learned this lesson the hard way, even though it was a complete accident. Worse, we didn’t manage to capture the incident on camera because that video would have certainly “gone viral” and ensured that all of our future columns would be filed from Tahiti.
As both regular readers probably know, Your Humble Servant is the publisher of a website known as WildIndiana.com that is quickly becoming one of the leading players on the Hoosier outdoor media scene. WildIndiana is currently making a strong push into video because a sizable segment of modern society doesn’t want to be bothered with complicated concepts like nouns, verbs, dangling participles, facts, story development and the like so we have invested heavily in visual media. Now it is more likely you’ll find us slinging a video camera rather than a pen and notepad.
That is why Yours Truly and four crew members found themselves at the Indy Fishing Expo this past Saturday at the Johnson County fairgrounds. We were there to live-stream several video segments for social media.
Promptly at 1 p.m. I took my place in front of a new boat on display and the cameraman silently counted down to “one.” I, serving as master of ceremonies for this “live broadcast,” went into my monologue welcoming folks to the show.
As our various guests spoke in turn, my overtaxed brain worked at 1000 miles-per-hours to develop an interesting line of questions while I attempted to look earnest and interested. The following is a verbatim stream-of-consciousness dialog that took place inside my head:
“Wow, this guest has really bad breath. Gotta think of a question. Man, he has REALLY bad breath and it kinda smells like an over-ripe porta-potty. I wonder why are all the guys are gesturing madly behind the camera?!? What are they trying to say?? Hmmm, Don is running away and Scott is really interest in his feet. I don’t understand what is happening but I’ve GOT to think of a follow-up question. Dang, something doesn’t smell good around here. I wonder if they dropped a jar of stinkbait in one of the booths…”
These and similar thoughts continued until all the interviews were finished and we signed off. The rest of our time at the expo was a blur of talking to people, dismantling the equipment, lugging gear and generally trying to make our way to the door. The “situation” during the broadcast was quickly forgotten.
However, once we arrived back at our vehicles in the parking lot and the rolling cases were secured, one of the guys turned to me and said with deep solemnity, “Did you understand why we were making all the commotion?” Confused, I admitted that I had been clueless.
He then explained a little drama involving a toddler we shall call Little Timmy. It seems that during our “live shot,” an unaware Dad had hoisted Little Timmy into the boat on the opposite side from where my guest and I were standing. Within seconds a situation developed.
We stood staring into the video lights on the left side of the boat, unaware and chattering, while amidships Little Timmy decided that he needed to “go potty,” right now as in “NOW!!” Now, as in “make a doody while standing in a brand-new boat next to a couple of guys broadcasting live to several hundred people.”
My crew explained in great detail that, over dad’s increasing hysterical protestations, Little Timmy stopped, assumed a stance generally associated with children having a major bodily function in public and then began to violently execute the major bodily function right there, as they say, “In front of God and everybody.”
My producer explained that at the moment Timmy’s little fists clenched and his grimacing face turned beet red it became impossible to continue functioning as a semi-professional video crew member. He decided it was better to slink off into a corner and have a quiet hysterical sob than to loudly cackle and point out the hapless dad, who finally had Timmy under his arm as they ran for the restroom.
Godspeed, brave father!
Unfortunately for us, all this played out just outside the camera frame and the viewers were blissfully unaware of the sights, sounds and smells of this child-related live video blooper.
Especially the smells.