Every four years the best amateur athletes from around the world gather in a world-class city to compete. There is pomp. Circumstance. And television coverage. All to see which athlete will bring home the Gold.
I hereby propose that, beginning next Olympiad, one week after the coverage is done, we hold the Photog Olympics — not to find out which photog is best, but to put on display all the pageantry that is the news business, hand out awards, and drink beer.
The following is a list of “events” I shall present to The International Ways and Means to Make Television Interesting Committee when it meets next month in the basement of the b-roll institute.
500-Meter Cable Run (through a crowded hotel lobby) As the name implies, photogs will schlep 5-part siamese cable through a crowded hotel lobby in preparation for a live shot that the desk neglected to tell them about until 30 minutes before show time. He/she must run the cable along walls and around potted plants to keep it out of high traffic areas, and tape down any cable laying where people might walk — only to rip it up minutes later when a stacker realizes there is a shed fire on the other side of town. Points deducted for sloppy tape, spilled drinks, knotted spaghetti, and foul language.
The Run and Gun It’s never pretty, but if it makes slot, who really cares? Well, the Run and Gun judges do. In this event, photogs will be strapped with a runbag, fancycam, and tripod. They will sprint from their idling news van, to crime tape two blocks away. They will then drop their tripod and shoulder shoot a statue of Darrel Barton half a block away. Judges will award extra points for use of a 2x.
The Perp Walk As the name implies, this event will test a photogs ability to walk backwards, maneuver around corners, dodge potholes, sense parking meters, and keep the shot in focus. Extra points if he/she can get the perp to cuss, spit, or confess. Cops will cuff-and-stuff stackers for their crimes against photogery.
Marathon Edit Session You thought 26 miles and 385 yards was long. Feed a photog a big Taco Bell dinner then lock him in an edit booth for 26 hours with nothing but a half-case of 5-Hour Energy, a bag of Skittles, a full video bin, and an empty timeline. That, my friend, in an endurance test. Finished product to be judged by the NPPA regional video clip chairs. Results will be announced at the following Olympiad if they are complete.
Live Truck Slalom Did you think we would leave out the truck ops? These smelly stevedores of LIVE TV risk life, limb, and lunch to bring folks the county commissioner’s meeting as it happens. In this event, truck ops get to pit their traffic and routing skills against each other. Each driver starts from a different location. They are given just fifteen minutes to race from their current spot, through rush-hour traffic, to the site of last week’s catnapping. The first one to establish a live link back to home base gets to it all again tomorrow.
Each event will be followed by a complete debrief in which those who have never stepped foot in the field will blame the photog for the complete failure of the games.
This is a preliminary list. Feel free to suggest your own event.
The International Ways and Means to Make Television Interesting Committee reserves the right to change the time, date, and location of the games at a moment’s notice, refuse reimbursement of any or all expenses, and generally make every photog’s life a living hell for the next four years.