Archive for man on the street

Talk to me

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 4, 2013 by davegerry
Your thoughts?

Your thoughts?

After a brief summer hiatus I find myself back on the street again. Soliciting comments from passersby on the sidewalk is the bread and butter of just about every television reporter. I have asked so many people so many questions (many exceedingly strange..the questions, that is, not the people) that it is second nature to me now.

Weather, though, is a critical component to success in this venture. You can’t really blame people who don’t want to stop in a monsoon and give you their thoughts on something like National Macaroni and Cheese Day. Doing ‘streeters’ in the rain..or the biting cold..can be misery. Sheer misery.

When the skies open up you seek an awning for shelter. This often brings you into close contact with a security professional. I’ve had security people come up to me and tell me and the cameraman that the business we are standing in front of owns the sidewalk clear out to the street. He would like us to move along. This, of course, is nonsense. The sidewalk is the sidewalk…unless you are in the type of neighbourhood that has specific bylaws and regulations governing filming. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is such a place. You need permits to get footage on Rodeo Drive and, if you get the proper paperwork, you’ll probably be accompanied by an advisor from the film commission every step of the way. This seems odd in an age when anyone with a smartphone can point it and make their own little movie.

At its best a ‘streeter’ will fly. It becomes a kind of random curb-side theatre with the potential for great little spontaneous moments and reactions. At its worst it is a grind. It’s an airliner coming in with no landing gear on an unfoamed runway. There is no real way of telling , in advance, whether you will get a high flyer or a mess.

You just fasten your seat belt..and assume the position!


May I ask You a Question?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 17, 2009 by davegerry

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=wet+sidewalk&iid=5268611″ src=”b/e/3/9/Businesspeople_Walking_in_d872.jpg?adImageId=8431582&imageId=5268611″ width=”336″ height=”508″ /] I was back on the street again yesterday, back out there in the rain, microphone in hand, pleading for people to stop and talk.

There’s much greater detail about the television man-on-the-street scenario earlier on this blog if you go to the post entitled On The Street Where You Live.

As I say, I was out there…on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive which is a bit like being in the middle of a Fellini film. You never know what you’re going to get.  It’s a mosaic. Yes, I believe that would be the proper, if not polite, term…a mosaic. People were, for the most part, pleasant which is the way it should be. My initial approach is always pleasant and I expect a similar response.

A couple of younger types did have their ear buds in so tight they wouldn’t have noticed me if I had thrown myself at their feet.

And there are always a few souls who have no time talk to me because they are too busy having a compelling conversation with themselves. This is the thrust and parry of life on the sidewalk.

One person, an elderly woman, did chastise me for taking up so much of her time ( must have been forty seconds)  that she missed the crosswalk signal. That’s a busy lady. By the way, who establishes the volume level on that crosswalk tweet?  Is that a factory setting? You get the go-ahead to walk and it sounds like a 200 pound sparrow is aggressively seeking seed. I understand the feature may help the hard of hearing but this CHIRP will fragment the fillings in your teeth.

There were car horns and undermuffled trucks and the sirens from passing fire engines and police cars. In a few months, just like the swallows in Capistrano, the cadence of  leaf blowers and power washers and pile drivers and jack hammers will lyrically reappear. It’s all the stuff that makes a big city sing and a working reporter cringe.

And I was glad to be out there again.

On the Street Where You Live

Posted in High Definitions & Low Expectations, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 5, 2009 by davegerry
On The Street Where You Live

May I ask you a question?

I miss talking to people on the street..well, the sidewalk actually. A couple of years ago I produced a one hour television special on the art of eliciting spontaneous verbal response. And it is an art. What’s going through a reporter’s head when they suddenly step up to you and ask a question?  Much more..after the more. Continue reading