Monday, April 10, 2006

The Camera Is Not Your Friend

A lot of gang bangers enjoy my blog so I'd like to give something back to this loyal readership. It's a simple piece of advice, and if they're smart, they will heed it. Here it is: The camera is not your friend.

A few of my readers have ignored this little life lesson and have suffered the consequences--incarceration.

Here's the thing: Everyone wants to be famous. And in this day and age it's increasingly easy to achieve a certain degree of fame simply by appearing on a reality TV show. But to get "street cred" these days, it's more important to appear in Reality DVDs, straight-to-video documentaries that cover life on the streets in some of America's toughest neighborhoods.
Criminal justice experts say that gang members are anxious to appear in these videos as a chance for them to show off, to establish their reputations, to gain prestige -- even to claim their 15 minutes of fame, as if they were appearing on an inner-city reality show. But their unthinking actions often lead to unwanted attention from law enforcement that can get them arrested -- or worse.

One of the most important elements of a succesful marketing campaign is the ability to target your core demographic. In your case, fellow gang bangers. Obviously an easy way to target your audience is to put out a video and, you know, represent. Now, unlike typical marketing campaigns, you actually don't want your product distributed as widely as possible. For instance, you don't want law enforcement to view your documentary videos even if they pay for them, especially if you have committed crimes on tape.

If you're smart, you'll make fiction. Take a month or two off and write a screenplay with your pals. Get a friend to shoot the video (on stolen equipment, of course) and when it's finished, run a disclaimer at the top saying something like, "The gangstas, organizations, and hoods portrayed in this film are fictional, any similarity to actual ganstas, organizations, or hoods, past or present, being purely coincidental, especially the fatal drive-by shooting that ocurred at 25th St. and Cesar Chavez at 3am last Tuesday. Though the names of some actual locations, institutions, and businesses have been included as cultural referents, this should not be construed as a reason to pull us over or anything."

I made a documentary of myself robbing a liquor store and dealing blow but I will never release it. It sucks because my make-up looks fantastic and I deliver an incredible monologue to a clerk at gunpoint. And I know it would do really well. But I'm also smart enough to realize I could go to jail for it.

So instead I do comedy. It's not as glamorous as murder, but the cops can't arrest me for a bad set.


mrmilkduds said...

Truth, wit...and complete with a wink and a nod to the those on the "screet". Nice, Laura. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of it through a camera's lense, a blog box, or their very own podcast. It just seems more exciting to be holding up a convenience store looking all Nellie than being the next Poindexter with another Lost podcast.

Butternut said...

I have this strange desire to pirate download these videos. I'm such a gangstar. German engineering in the house, yo. Verd.

Back in the day I made some of these videos too. We show kids in the street, flashed our lunch money, our fancy ID bracelets, dope graphing calculators and some kids were shown puffing on inhalers. My company, SGHB (Suburban Ghetto Hood Boyz, LLC), was distributing them in front of 7-11's and at the playground. It was all just to fund our Slurpee and Dig Dug habits.

"... but the cops can't arrest me for a bad set." I wouldn't count on that. Don't start smashing fruit.

Clinton Freeman said...

I'm from one of the most notorious hoods there are (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY, USA).
OGs had enough sense to tap sobebody's brainiac little brother for advice on how to bet the system. Today's wippersnappers don't seem to understand the benefit of the 5th Amendment.
I blame the declining gangsta educational system and Bush. There needs to be a "no gansta left behind" campaign.

Matthew said...

Oh, it's so easy to point fingers, but I think we all remember the Laura Swisher/ Scott Stapp sex tape that leaked out a few months ago.

Clinton Freeman said...

I didn't hear about a tape, but then again I would never think to look for one.
I'm assuming that's some kind of joke. It might be funnier if I knew who Scott Stapp is, but it doesn't matter. I know my Swish is as pure as the snow outside my window.
Oh, what. It was last week that it snowed. Salavie.

Matthew said...

Don't feel bad, Clinton, it wasn't funny either way.

mrmilkduds said...

Oh, I don't know about funny, Matthew...but it sure has me pondering a quick google for the tape.

Peter said...

I downloaded a torrent of this, but the sound was malcalibrated and it was too annoying.