Walter Pierce

re: This brave new world

by Walter Pierce

(with video documentary)

A little shout-out to The Independent Weekly. We’re all up in the 21st century, y’all. I’m not talking journalism. Ours is top rate, if you ask me, and keeps us busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest.

I’m referring to the video documentaries we’ve been posting on for the last few weeks. Newspapers have been doing them for several years to wildly varying degrees of success, and it’s too early to gauge our own success. Crawl now, walk later. But we’re getting better. By we I mean me, mostly.

Mary Tutwiler dipped a toe in the pool last week and went to Begneaud Manufacturing where they’re building and welding together a 16-foot tall Blue Dog sculpture. Artist George Rodrigue was there to check on the progress, so Mary showed up with the digital camera and high aspirations that would, upon review, evaporate like dew on a summer lawn.

Mary is an adept still photographer, and in her photographer’s mind the scenes at Begneaud Manufacturing called for vertical shots. Mary left Begneaud with a camera filled with sideways footage, and with an introductory lesson in Video 101: The video camera must be horizontal. See Mary’s Blue Dog documentary below. Your chiropractor will thank you for it.

You might assume that making a video would be a cinch for me. But in the six and a half years I worked in television as a news producer I didn’t edit any video. Not a frame. The equipment at TV stations is infinitely more complicated and intimidating: many bells, myriad whistles and a jet-like whirring sound. I didn’t want to wreck the Ferrari, so I just didn’t drive it. But the video documentaries we’ve begun producing here are more like Pawpaw’s Buick: no stick shift, no overdrive, just a V-6 with an automatic transmission, power steering, and that faint, creepily comforting old person smell.

If your wonderment that I’m going on and on about this hasn’t yet retarded your curiosity, you may be asking yourself, “Why video?” The short answer is, “Because we can and it’s fun.” The longer, more nuanced response involves multiple media platforms, Web traffic, engaging the reader, supplementing our coverage, and, I’ll admit, generating revenue. I’m not sure how that last aspect works; that’s for the brain trust in the advertising department. Wait, I think I just figured it out: Also this week at, watch a short documentary on artist Cody Bush, subject of this week’s LivingIND cover story, and then send us money.

And in the meantime, bear with us, watch our videos and send in suggestions both for how we can get better, and what you’d like to see us cover. We certainly don’t presume to compete with TV stations when it comes to video. They’re professionals. We’re amateurs. Kind of like Olympic athletes, only slower and not as strong.