Amy Bowers TV Talk

online fiction

Another road weekend with my partner Duncan Blitz, and we were still twenty miles shy of Socorro. Eminem on the radio. Duncan's thirty, but I'm older and don't hear lyrics.

nowadays it just seems
everybody only wants
to discuss me
so this must mean
im disgust-ing

but it's just me
im just obscene

but not as obscene as Rush, so we listened.

I had the wheel, Duncan had a book about movie directors. The secret of motion pictures, he read out loud, is learning to listen. (I tried to listen). Great actors and great directors are great listeners, he continued. Right, I agreed. Like Sandra Bullock. Her movies are popular because she's a really good listener!

In Socorro, Duncan interviewed a woman named Margaret, for our series on chronic pain. He asked about her dependence on Demerol, following eight back surgeries that ended her career as a teacher's aide. "I don't want a high," she said. "I want to deal with every day life without hurting so bad. I don't think my doctor listens to me," she despaired. Duncan listened carefully. I wondered whether I should have used less fill light, and listened to the wireless mic as sound bites rolled in.

Another two hours to Las Cruces, where we interviewed a neonatologist for our series on Honest Death. We needed B-roll of the ICU. It didn't look like much, just a bunch of incubators, you could barely make out the babies, so tiny, surrounded by technology. I planted a mic by one of the machines and lingered my wide shot. The machine sounded creepy, and I hoped it would get the attention of our viewers. I figure half of them have their heads in the refrig during our reports. We grab their attention with great sound. If we make them turn around and listen with their head, instead of their butt, maybe they'll watch for a minute and ten secons.

Next we drove to a cemetery where we had permission to shoot Dunc's standup. The wireless mic was noisy, so I changed frequencies. "Still dirty," I told Duncan, "I'm getting crosstalk. Can I try your unit?" Much better. We waited for Magic Light, beautiful soft illumination that comes after 7:30PM as we approach summer solstice. Duncan delivered his piece to camera, flawless, as usual, while I shot and listened.

Back in the car, I confided, "I don't know what the dead people are saying, but I know what frequency they're on." We picked up some cold drinks and I set up a sunset shot. The horizon edged over the sun. Pink, violet, blue, scarlet sky.

We lapsed into silence.

I had Thursday off and watched the World Trade ceremony on TV. There were bagpipes, and then it was quiet near ground zero. There was nothing else to listen to.

Amy Bowers
Contributing Writer

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