Sunday, May 27, 2007
The Flight Director
I didn’t do Wavelength all by myself. There were many people who supported and encouraged my efforts. Pookie, Kia, Lance, Carlos, Adrian, Derek, Paul, Lorna, Sir Lance ... But none more directly than Arthur F.D. Johnson, Jr. My director, producer, mentor, and friend. For a long time, before I made a move, I talked A.J. first
We met volunteering at the community access station on a long-running public affairs show. We both quit after the host was involved in a domestic dispute. A spot on the schedule opened soon afterwards and we decided to alternate. Wavelength one week, and A.J.’s show Points of Interest the next. P.O.I. was a retread of the other talk show we bounced from, minus the ego and drama.
A.J. didn’t know rap. But he knew how to work the equipment at the studio and he had his own video camera. He also had a hook-up on the postage, and I never had to pay for the countless cassettes and cds I sent out to contest winners. I could've made it without him, but it would've been hard.
Even his mistakes inspired me. His hesitation to cut to the next video usually led to some of my best ad-libs and one liners, aimed at Mr. Johnson. I was only kidding, A.J. Really.
When our live shows ended, we began shooting Wavelength entirely on location. By then, I had my own camera and luckily my job at the university afforded me access to editing equipment. I missed the fun of the live shows, but I enjoyed my newfound independence. A.J. and I didn’t speak as often and we seemed to be heading in different directions.
While Wavelength moved from cable to broadcast, and back again, A.J. stayed at the public access studio. Last time I checked, someone had put him in charge of the place.