Earlier this year Last year my friend Clark had an idea for a short documentary film — a day in the life of a Detroit street dog. He said he’d brought it up before among our little guerrilla tribe, and no one liked it, but I loved it. Immediately I started imagining how we’d do it: We’d need some sort of ride-along expert, either a vet or (the guerrilla, zero-budget solution), a vet student, preferably someone with access to the specialized equipment you’d need, including drugs. We’d need a radio-collar system to keep track of whatever dog we settled on as our star. We’d need at least one but preferably several small, wearable video cameras, like the new GoPro, along with specially fitted harnesses for the dogs to carry them on their chests. And we’d need a crazy crew who wouldn’t mind working all night in some of the city’s worst-of-the-worst neighborhoods, probably following our subject on bicycles, carrying equipment in backpacks. We’d have to be our own security, which would mean no security.
It’s still a great idea. But after several fruitless phone calls to the city and the Michigan State vet school, along with a back-of-the-envelope budget estimate, I decided it wasn’t going to be done by us.
It’s not going to be done by the Discovery Channel, either. The channel applied for and was approved for a tax credit for nearly $560,000 to make a series called “A Dog’s Life,” about guess-what:
Besides using crews to film the dogs, the project would attach small cameras to the animals to capture Detroit life from a dog’s-eye view.
Bad news for the Discovery Channel: The city turned them down for permits, saying such a portrayal would be bad for the city. Note to the Discovery Channel: Try Flint. They’re hungrier, and unless I miss my guess, the problem is just as bad there. My vet, who works as the on-call professional for animal emergencies for several different police agencies, said the problem was always bad, and became critical when the foreclosures started; people would simply turn their animals out to fend for themselves. Weird breed mixes are a common sight in the city. Most have at least some pit bull in them, but you really do see all kinds — Wendell, Sweet Juniper’s dog, was a resident of the Detroit streets before he was adopted, and he looks pretty close to purebred German shorthair. Jim has written several times of what an enthusiastic bird dog he is on the neighborhood’s pheasants, so it stands to reason.
Filming them is still a good idea, and it can be done for a lot less than a million bucks. Fly under the radar, and you don’t need permits.
OK, this is the second-to-last day of Hell Week, i.e., the first week of classes at Wayne. I have to hit the shower, the gas station and probably several other places before heading downtown, so quick bloggage:
I only caught the end of the president’s speech in Tucson last night, but before it was over I predicted it would drive conservatives crazy, and whaddaya know?
Good gravy, this flooding in Australia is positively Biblical.
I’ve been reading some of the inside-baseball mea culpas and discussion over the early misreporting from Tucson this weekend, and it strikes me as a huge waste of time. Every study I’ve read says people want news NOW, and don’t mind if early reports in a breaking situation are wrong, as long as they’re corrected quickly; in fact, they expect it. Reporting Gabrielle Giffords to be dead, and then correcting it a few minutes later, doesn’t strike me as an egregious mistake after a woman’s been shot in the head point-blank. It happened with Jim Brady during the Reagan assassination attempt, and it’ll happen again.
What do you civilians think? As for me, I think I need a shower. Later, all.