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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rainy Day Parade

I spent roughly 5 hours last Saturday walking around Salt Lake City with my friend Sovknight and a video camera. We started at the main City Library, a stunning piece of modern architecture that is a popular place for the homeless to hang out during the winter. Then we walked over to Main Street, and shot footage of all the empty storefronts with their many Available signs in the windows. We made our way north to the giant pits in the ground where the Crossroads and ZCMI Center Malls used to be, took a quick jaunt through Temple Square, and then walked over to the Gateway Mall, where we shot the jarring juxtaposition of the new Mall across the street from the homeless shelter. Finally we walked past Pioneer Park on our way back to my car. We didn't linger, though. Ever since a jogger got stabbed there a year or two ago, I don't feel very safe being there unless it's a summer Saturday, when the weekly Farmer's Market pushes the vagrants and dopers off into a corner, and the park takes on a pseudo cleanliness for a few hours.

We shot footage of all these things because I was asked to participate in a project called 50 States in 50 Days. I was supposed to get some footage of my town and answer some questions about the current economic state of the country. I didn't really think I was the right person to ask to participate in this project, because I am no expert on the economy. But after asking for further information on the project and reviewing the list of questions, I agreed to participate. I told my solicitor that I would upload the footage by Saturday.

What I was not told was that several other Utah bloggers were asked to do the same thing, and only one of us was to have our footage included in the project. Hell, if you are a Utah blogger, you might have been asked to participate as well. Had I been told this, I would have passed on the project altogether, but I was made to believe that I was the only one asked, and that this was as good as an agreement.

So I fulfilled my part, but, upon returning home from our little urban tour and preparing to upload the video, I found an email in my inbox sent sometime that morning saying that another Utah correspondent had uploaded their footage and they hoped I had gotten the message in time to spare me any effort. You can imagine how irritating it would be to receive such a message after walking around on a sunny but chilly day for 5 hours, and after putting thought into some artistic shots and trying to come up with some thoughtful responses to questions. Yeah, I was pissed.

So I wrote the project coordinator back, and told him that, no, I didn't get the message in time to spare me any effort, and that I did not appreciate not being given adequate notice of the cancellation. I was also none too pleased about having not been told what to expect. If I had known this was some race to upload, then I would have said I can't film this before Saturday, so no I can't participate. I guess they asked several people because they can't count on somebody to do what they say they're going to do. Whatever. If I say I'm going to do something for you, I do it, otherwise I don't say I will. I guess most people aren't like this.

The project coordinator wrote back apologizing, saying they were a start up company, whatever that has to do with it, and that they would be sure to be upfront about the fact that they were asking several people in the future. Excellent, well, since this project is being shown alphabetically, and Utah is quite near the end, I'm not sure what good this will do for the future of the project. But I suppose it's the thought that counts. Incidentally, the PC said I could still upload my footage, they'd still pay me the $50 I was going to earn for this, and they'd likely still use the footage. I decided that sitting around for a couple hours while my videos uploaded was a further waste of my time, and I didn't do this for the $50 anyway, so fuck it. I just feel bad that I promised Sov I'd split the fee with him, and I'm ending up screwing him. And as for them using the footage? Well, it's not like the project is called "50 States in 50 Days and 1 more from Utah!"

So bah, humbug.

I felt like I had been robbed of a Saturday, but in retrospect, I did enjoy hanging out with my best friend trying to make some art. We had been talking about doing an urban tour of Salt Lake anyway, because people don't usually play tourist in their own towns and explore them by foot. So it was rewarding in that respect.

But it was also still aggravating.

I told the PC they would get no love from me, so I'm not linking to the project, but I'm sure you could find them if you search. All I can say is that when the Utah video debuts in a week or so, I hope it really stinks.

Unless, of course, the Utah correspondent whose footage is being used is among my dear Readers. Then I wish you the best as always.



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11 comments:

B.R. said...

"If I say I'm going to do something for you, I do it, otherwise I don't say I will."
Genau!
A lack of transparency re: time and task commitment, is a huge pet peeve of mine as well. I don't understand how the economics of time is something that some people can't seem to get. We all have access to a finite number of hours, people, let's not abuse and misuse each other's access to our limited supply of time.

Dena said...

Hang on to that footage - you never know, twenty years from now when your corporate office decides to transfer you to San Antonio or Atlanta, you can show your kids what Salt Lake City meant to you.

sovknight said...

I still had a fun day, regardless. I know it was wasted time, but I had nothing else to do anyway, and I enjoy spending time with you. Some of that video was pretty good too.

And Monopoly sucks.

Trovan said...

You should upload it here. I would like to see it. I've been away from Salt Lake for so long now... *sniffle*

A good day with friends is never wasted. Even if you are out 50 smackers. Don't worry about Sov, he's independently wealthy.

sovknight said...

**was** independantly wealthy. There's a world of difference.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Start-up means they've never done this before. They're trying to coordinate a million details. And that one slipped through the cracks. They're human and I'm not surprised that something went less smoothly than planned. It does suck for you if you consider your day wasted.

Why not upload some of the footage for your readers who might not be so familiar with SLC?

Sra said...

B.R.: Ja. I think some people feel like they can't say no to people, and so they say yes even when they know they mean maybe. Some people don't want to close any doors, because they are looking for the "best offer" for their time, so they agree to do more things than they will be able. It's really irritating, and I wish people would just get real for once.

Everyone else: We talked about editing the footage ourselves and uploading it on our blogs (the people doing the Project were going to be editing the raw footage on their end), but we decided that it might be kind of weird to do that, because it's not really our project. Also, I know nothing about video editing, so this was going to fall on Sov's shoulders. After a harrowing game of Monopoly in which Sov got his trash kicked good, I told him it probably wasn't worth his time to do it, so we agreed to let it go. I'm pretty sure that's how it's going to be.

And, I know what a start-up is. I just don't think that excuses unprofessionalism. I also stated that my day was ultimately not wasted. But the project was a waste.

natabird said...

I hate wishy-washy poeple. I'm sorry this happened to you.

natabird said...

I hate wishy-washy poeple. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Trovan said...

You should upload it here. I would like to see it. I've been away from Salt Lake for so long now... *sniffle*

A good day with friends is never wasted. Even if you are out 50 smackers. Don't worry about Sov, he's independently wealthy.

B.R. said...

"If I say I'm going to do something for you, I do it, otherwise I don't say I will."
Genau!
A lack of transparency re: time and task commitment, is a huge pet peeve of mine as well. I don't understand how the economics of time is something that some people can't seem to get. We all have access to a finite number of hours, people, let's not abuse and misuse each other's access to our limited supply of time.

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