Friday, June 27, 2014

What Can Murphy Teach Us?

In video production, as in life, Murphy's law rules. For the uninitiated, Murphy's law states that "if something can go wrong, it will." Really it is just the statement of the obvious, that life is full of the unexpected, and often times, that doesn't always mean something good.

Since video production involves recording life as it happens, the not-so-good-unexpected always enters into our work.  As a metaphor for life, video is great! Because when the unexpected does happen, it's not the specific twist of fate that matters so much, it is how you handle it that counts.

There is not one single video shoot that I have gone on that hasn't had Murphy's law ready to play out somehow or other on the set. To name a few: the monitor suddenly doesn't want to power up; the mic cable has a hum in it or is picking up the local radio station; the interview subject shows up in a tight herringbone outfit that is virtually buzzing on the screen; a meeting got scheduled in the room that you planned on using as the on-location studio; a band starts playing right outside the window of the interview location you have selected and spent long hours setting up; in the middle of the long and soul-felt answer from your interview subject, the camera battery warning comes on; the interview subject that was going to be "so great" is as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It's ALWAYS something.

If your interview subject is nervous then you need to slow it even more empathic and more encouraging. Let them know that  you would be nervous too with a camera sticking in your face.  Connect to them as a fellow human being. The cable has a hum in it? I learned long ago that being prepared means bringing not one spare of everything, but two or three. Your battery is running low in the middle of someone spilling their guts? Let your interview subject know what's happening. Stopping them with your awkward dilemma, though slightly embarrassing,  is much better than telling them that the long, heartfelt speech they just gave wasn't recorded at all. Be honest and never be afraid to speak up. Because, after all,  we're all human, we all screw up sometimes, and Murphy's Law applies across the board to every single one of us.

As aggravating and unnerving as these glitches can be at the time - and I'd be lying if I told you that I always keep my cool - in the end I feel really lucky that I stumbled into a profession that has so much to teach me about life; to name a few - be kind, be patient, be forgiving, be prepared, and go with the flow so you can enjoy the work.  After all, life is short and even if you record it, you only get to live it once.

Here is one of our latest video creations. Only those who were there on set will ever know how Murphy's Law played out that day...

No comments: