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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dork Star

I know I’m a dork. OK. Let there be no preconceived notions that I think I’m the coolest thing since locker answering machines. Remember those? I actually used that little gem of an invention as a pivotal piece of a plot twist in a story I wrote in Junior High. Further proof of my dorktitude. But still, I come here bringing nothing to the table in terms of coolness. So, it goes that there is still damning evidence of my days of dorkdom somewhere in my house. My wife will say it’s very easy to find by just looking at me and some of the shirts I wear, self made mind you. And as I write this, I can see the shaking of her head and can hear the voice coming from a place of both two parts pity and one part love proclaiming, “You are such a dork.” The evidence, at least one that we can call Exhibit A, is a video tape. A VHS-C tape smaller than an iPhone but thicker than a digital camera exists with me acting like the biggest nerd this side of Adams College.

It was 1993 and I was a freshman at Coastal Carolina University. It was my one and only semester at Myrtle Beach University and I was a bit homesick. Well, that’s what I told myself, anyway. I didn’t know a lot of people there and those I did know had way better things to do than to entertain the likes of me 24/7. Needless to say, I spent a lot of nights bored out of my skull. This was a full decade before Facebook and the best distraction I could hope for was a few hours of SimCity Classic. I didn’t even have email or the Internet to waste time on in those days. What I did have was a girlfriend 600 miles away and no cell phone or long distance. Sometimes, I had to decide on clean laundry or a phone call when it came to quarters.

I also had a video camera and wanted to do something both innovative and sentimental for her. A friend of my brother’s had asked me to film him and my brother rocking out to White Snake. Both his and my brother’s girlfriend were sisters so that’s where the connection lie. Oh, it was "Deeper the Love", in case you were wondering. A few of you might be thinking it was "Here I Go Again", but that would be silly, right?  Ok, it was all silly because it was lip synched in the end.  Anyways. I took the master video and mixed it with the song, matching up a specific movement in the video with the tape that was playing in the background so that I could match it in the editing. That’s where my idea came from, except I took it to a whole new level of dorkiness. I wasn’t going to just film myself singing a song. I was going to film myself singing three parts of a song and then mix them all together. My choice of song? "All For Love" by Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart. Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me. It was cool… wasn’t it? The Three Musketeers had just come out and I snapped up the soundtrack and hatched a plan. I would film all three vocals in different locations, run them all through my editing box that I had with music synced up to the action and then just flip between each video, recording my final masterpiece. It could not fail!

Oh yes, it could.

I don’t know which was more sad, the fact that I actually did this or that I was able to get someone to film it for me. Probably both. The poor girl. She was such a trooper and didn’t once tell me I was nuts, though I’m sure she thought it. I mean there I was on a cool November Sunday wandering around campus with a boom box and a video camera. At the back of CCU’s campus was the Wall Building. It was fairly new and they were still doing construction on it. What was finished was this sweet bridge from the main part of campus over to the Wall Building. It had benches and pillars and lights and the back of Wall was a pretty nice backdrop.

We set up and hoped that people wouldn’t see us. Somewhere, in the back of my head, I knew how dorky this was. I think I blew like ten takes and a good two hours of this poor girl’s time. A jogger even ruined one of my takes and he was probably like, [heavy breathing] "dork" [heavy breathing].  After all was said and done, I had one third of the puzzle, my Citizen Kane. LOL. All I had to do was record Sting and Rod Stewart’s part.

When I transferred home for the Spring semester I found myself with a few options for filming but limited on crew. I highly doubted that I would have found anyone else willing to indulge my dorkiness. I headed down to the river via an old rail line that had been renovated into part of the bike trail. It had some great landscaping and was rather quiet in the Winter months. At one end of the trail was a bridge. I’ve heard it called West Jaw Bridge, West Draw Bridge, West Yaw Bridge and a ton of other names, but it’s a trestle bridge that kids in my neighborhood used to jump off of into the river for fun. I planned on using all of that area to do the second part in and then for Sting, I was going to use the castle turret at East Park for the final part.

Unfortunately, I got bored or ended up never having enough time or mental capacity to pull off the entire feat. Considering that the first third was filmed on the move and the second two thirds would be a stationary camera position made me feel like it wasn’t worth it since it would never look the way it should. And yes, once again, as I type that I realize how much of a dork I am for wanting scrap such a silly project because it just wouldn’t look right. In all seriousness, had this thing ever seen the light of day it would have been ridiculous. I would have probably made Uwe Boll look like Martin Scorsese.

Sometimes I’m glad that further proof of my ridiculous youth are kept hidden but it’s goofiness like this that makes me feel compelled to share. Yes, we can all grow and learn from this. Parents, don’t let your kids try and impress the ones they love with a boombox or a video camera. It will all end in tears, I just know it.

Now, where is my Kenny G CD?

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