Status Report, Mr. Chekov

Yeah, I didn’t know if I was coming back, either.

In all the trials and drama and blah blah connected to my extended period of unemployment, there eventually reached a time of sweaty desperation when, if one were to be exceptionally kind (or to indulge in more than a little whitewashing) anything that did not involve finding work or making some sort of money had to go by the wayside.

Let’s get real. The truth of the matter is, depression was the flavor of the day and it was on clearance. There was a 10 foot doom field radiating from yours truly. So really, nothing was getting done, and I’m pretty sure I was not pleasant company.

That all changed in early February, when I caught wind of a part-time job at the local campus of Houston Community College. True, it was part-time, but hell, certainly better than nothing; they wanted to see a demo reel of my video work. I had thought that such things were past me, since most of my work happened in another decade, which causes most producers to suddenly become very interested in something else happening in another room. Nonetheless, I scraped together what I had, managed to actually get the stuff from VHS tapes – how primitive! – to DVD. And I guess they liked what they saw, because they hired me.

The official title is Media Videographer. What this means is every week I turn in a five minute story of either local interest or related to the college. I research it, make the contacts, shoot it, write it, edit it and it goes on the weekly newscast of Stafford Municipal Educational TV, Comcast Channel 16.

Which means it is only seen by those residents of the tiny suburb of Stafford who are also Comcast subscribers. That doesn’t even include me, since one of the things that got lost during the tribulations was cable TV.

I try not to dwell too hard on the shouting-into-a-deaf-teacup aspect of this; it is a job, and an enjoyable one, at that. I work with nice, likable people who don’t mind too much that I am a Mac noob (Final Cut Pro is amazing, incidentally), and basically learn one Hard Lesson a week.

We’re a curious hybrid here, a partnership between the college and the city; most of the other Channel 16s seem to be creatures of either the city or the college, either Municipal or Educational, but us, we’re both. That actually allows us some unusual freedom, mixed in with a lot of strange shibboleths, as there are two bureaucracies involved.

And here we are in the summer. The college is eerily underpopulated, and the part-time staff’s hours have been cut down. (Disappointing, yes, but the alternative was laying someone off for the summer, and since that someone would have been me….). Hand in hand with that, the weekly newscast becomes a monthly newsmagazine during the summer, and filling in those hours can be… tricky.

So currently, in between trying to get someone in authority at a local museum to call me back so I can start on next month’s story, and transferring old VHS tapes of programming onto DVD, I find myself… O most pernicious neologism! … cyberslacking. And now the network is down, so here I am roughing out a blog entry. What a country!