Friday, December 10, 2004

How to be an illusionist

I needed to create an illusion...

Yesterday was (I hope) the final shooting day for the video I have been working on since August. I needed shots of people walking through metal detectors at an airport, and going through the general hassles of air travel, but could not get into DFW or any other airport for the shoot, much less take videos of the TSA (those people whose salaries and equipement we all pay). The solution was to dress a set to look like an airport, recruit folks who look like air travelers going through security (complete with rolling-eyes, impatient attitudes and generally feeling harrassed). Fait Accompli!

Brad Young and John Perez (cameraman extraordinaire) got their heads together and came up with Garrett Manufacturing in Garland, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). These are the fine folks that brought us that treasure-seeker's metal detector and, of course, the walk-through detectors at all airports and the wands. We met with Vaughn Garrett, the son of The Mr. Charles Garrett, who in 1964 came up with the idea, electronics and the patent to create a company that is now in 80 countries, worldwide. Vaughn is a nice guy and was a superb host.

When you enter their manufacturing plant/offices there is a museum on the right of the reception area, with everything from Nazi WWII helmets, nades, silver, gold, Civil War belt buckles (one with a bullet that went through the soldier and lodged in the buckle from the back), swords, coins from the Roman Empire... you get the picture. Fascinating how an idea became such a fantastic reality.

I have always secretly wanted to have one of those metal detectors and be able to take a leisurely stroll down the beaches of Normandy, or Gettysburg, the local park, or anywhere else my desires fancied. Seeing the museum made me want one again. Bradzilla came up with the idea of having a metal detector that plugged into your iPod that would beep over the music so one could take a nice walk, with the music of one's choice, while seeking buried treasure. Wait! Buried treasure! That's a pirate's delight - the stuff of which pirate dreams are made. "Yes, I am a pirate, born 200 years too late. There's nothing to plunder, my cannon don't thunder, I'm an over-fifty victim of fate." – Jimmy Buffett

Alas, Vaughn was in a board meeting, so I was unable to impart this idea to him. I am thinking royalties here, so don't steal Bradzilla's idea or ye will be keel-hauled after walking the plank. Besides, we be pirates so I will liberate the idea meself. Yar!

I came seeking an illusion and left with a treasure, one found in my own backyard - in Garland, Texas.