Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How-to videos

I'm back from my video shoot in Cedar Rapids.

It was a one-day shoot; a "How-to video" to teach sales people to use a certain new technology that will turn a three-day job into a two-hour job. I drove the four hours down to Iowa with the sales associate who landed this job. He's about a year older than I am - driven, "successful" and instantly likable.

We stayed in a very nice hotel, the kind where they put chocolate on your bed. The clients always pay for my own room on these trips, and I usually stay up way too late watching dumb movies. (This time it was Robin Williams as the president-elect; didn't catch the name.) I spent the majority of yesterday out in the rain and mud, orchestrating the action to get the best shots needed to teach the viewing audience how to use the technology. No time for a lunch break as I had to catch a flight home at six from the Quad Cities, which was another hour-and-a-half drive away.

I was thinking how nice it would be to have a few other "How-to videos" to explain a couple things in life that confound and confuse me:
  • How-to talk to someone for four hours that you barely know as you drive through the Midwest.
  • How-to stay away from hotel vending machines when you have a pocket full of change.
  • How-to make small talk with the various corporate executives as you light them for their interviews. (Are those your kids in the pictures on your desk? Not your wife? Sorry about the divorce... oh, divorce(s). Um... so, how long have you worked here?)
  • How-to decide between McDonald's, Wendy's or Taco Bell on a road trip.
  • How-to decide between Tums, Rolaids or Alka-Seltzer at the convenience store counter.
  • How-to look like an upstanding citizen when you're a video producer and you wear your hair long because you think it's artsy and you have to shoot a video in a small Midwest town where everyone wears their hair neat and short and you have to go through the security checkpoint at the airport.
  • How-to choose a magazine that can be read cover-to-cover during the one-hour flight back home - People, US, Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly... or, How-to waste $4.95 and sixty minutes on the same stories only with a different cover.
  • How-to pass the 25-minutes from the time you land until the time you are allowed to remove your seat belts, move about the cabin and collect your things.


Kim Ayres said...

Four hour drive - stick on an audio book

Vending Machine - only carry foreign coins in your pocket - has the addedbonus of making you look like an International traveller

Small talk - forget it, go for big talk instead "Is Kant right to posit the idea of a Noumenal world...?"

McDonalds/ Wendy's/ Taco Bell - find a vegetarian restaurant selling lentil soup.

Tums/ Rolaids/ Alka-Seltzer - avoid McDonalds/ Wendy's/ Taco Bell and you won't need them

Upstanding citizen - head high, shoulders back, look people in the eye and give them a firm handshake, while handing them your business card. It won't matter what you're wearing if you do it with enough confidence.

Choosing a magazine - Reader's Wives hidden inside a copy of New Scientist

Pass 25 minutes - always carry a Sudoku book in your pocket.


Carole said...

I started to comment on this post and then got lost in your Library Thing, looking at the books you read and how you rate them and I decided I need a video on How to Stay Focused.

Your library looks varied and interesting though.

Tom said...

Kim: Lentil soup? :)

Carole: There's an open space on there for your book one day...

Anonymous said...

this is one of your funniest pieces. i see you-tube videos calling you.

and the last one, you spend it listening to a 2 yr. old fuss because they thought they were getting off the plane, but everyone is just standing there. that's what my plane did when we flew home from FL in Oct. ;P