The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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    Why does television always want to film people walking?

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | April 12, 2008

    I taped another television segment today, though this one is not intended for an American audience, and strictly speaking, may actually be banned from within our borders. Suffice it to stay, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles may be immortalized as part of U.S. propaganda.

    Anyway, we did (yet another) shot of me walking. Television people always seem to take shots of people walking. It is a safe harbor footage they can use for voiceovers and cutaways.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to walk for television. I have walked at ABC, for CNN, for CBS, for this unnamed propaganda piece. I have walked inside buildings, down hallways, on streets. I have walked alone. I have walked with another person. I have walked with the camera fixed on a tripod from far away. I have walked with the camera man right in front of me, walking backwards himself. I have walked north-south, east-west. I have had to walk down the same street twice in different directions.

    The walking shots really amuse me, because as a print reporter it comes across as artificial. I would not be walking if they were not asking me to walk. It is not like getting B-roll of people working on my computer, where I am actually e-mailing and they happen to record me doing something I was going to do anyway. And it is not like an interview, where clearly the person is being asked to speak to a camera, but the viewer knows that someone off camera has clearly asked a series of questions regardless of whether that interviewer actually appears.

    The walking shot is like pretending to be natural but it’s actually not. Somewhere between reality and fiction.

    Topics: Book Musings, Media & Interviews, Quirky | No Comments »

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