Oneway East

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I do much of my work in reality television. I have very mixed feelings about this. I pretty much hate the product, by and large. I think I've worked on two shows that I might enjoy watching. "Can't Get a Date" certainly, and possibly, "The Apprentice". I make at least half of my income in reality television. It's hard to walk away from that. And they're never my shows. I never have my heart in the product, I just light them, so I don't feel like I'm selling myself out completely.

But is this what I'm capable of? Lighting silly, vapid, shallow reality TV?

The thing about it is how little reality there is to it. The actors are real people, who aren't reading scripted lines, but all of reality is heavily, "produced". In court, they would call that leading the witness. Write a plausible story for the selected cast members, and induce them to act it out and talk about it. The only thing unscripted is the dialogue.

I met a guy today at the restaurant where we were shooting who went on a rant about how stupid the contestants sounded. He told me that a lawyer friend of his was preparing a class-action suit against some of the networks for making America into a stupider place.

It's us. We're the ones buying it. Watching the shows, giving them the ratings response that keeps on churning them out, keeping me gainfully employed, paying for my books and my New Yorker subscription and all the other things that make me feel superior to the Reality-watching masses.

How is watching silly girls talk about boys, clothes, and nightclubs that compelling to listen to? It just boggles the mind.

But I enjoy my craft. I like trying to make things look nice, in a way that accomodates multiple camera angles and still works. I like my income. I like lots of the people I work with.


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