“Whoever Takes Pictures Of Kittens In Human Clothes. I Love Those!:” A TDQ Q&A With Wally Lurz, Part 2

Wally Lurz: The Best

Wally Lurz receiving the presidential award for being The Best Photojournalist.

TDQ: Is there a photojournalist hierarchy? Is the ultimate goal to be in New York or DC working “for the network” filming Brian Williams or Diane Sawyer, or is the best work done in the trenches? 

Lurz: I’m the best. That’s all you need to know. There’s a hierarchy in terms of being cool and not being a douche. And, being a good shooter of course. As far as going to NY, LA, or CHI it’s basically a preference. Finding the right fit for what you like and what you wanna do. I know people who’ve gone to bigger markets and those that have gone to smaller ones, as well as people that have gone into film or production of some sort. Then there are those that have gotten out completely. There’s a pretty big turnover rate in television. I know as many people in TV as I do that have gotten out. Overall it just depends on your talent, goals, determination and a lot of patience. It can be difficult to get a job in the big cities because they’re usually union shops and the guys in those jobs stay there ‘til they die. You do seem to have a little more control of your product in the trenches though. Which is nice.

TDQ: What’s a typical work day like for you in South Florida news?

Lurz: Take the best sex you’ve ever had, add it with winning the lottery, and you’re nowhere near it…really. You’re nowhere near it.

TDQ: What are your thoughts on the heat vs. the “Heat?”

Lurz: Apparently one of them is a football team. No, wait. Baseball.  So, I was out getting weather video of people running, biking, the sun shining through palm fronds, etc. when the phone rang and I was told, and I quote, “I need you to go to the Sports Authority, they’re having a sidewalk sale and I need you to get a soundbite on the heat.” Keep in mind this was on June 21st. For you college graduates out there, June 21st is the first official day of summer. I’m doing the interview and I keep wondering why this woman keeps bringing up basketball. Then, like Pete Rose’s Super Bowl winning basket, it hit me! …She’s just a moron, well, I will correct her. Yeah, that was a craw full of Awesome. Crazy Man, Ca-razy.

TDQ: Tell us about Shakespeare by the Sea

Lurz: Shakespeare by the Sea was fun! It’s run by a fantastic group of professional Actors, Producers & Directors. Most of which have been doing it for nearly 20 years. It was new to me but, my girlfriend has been a part of it since the beginning and suggested I audition. And, boy did I!  I had seen Shakespeare by the Sea before, however I really don’t have a lot of experience with Shakespeare aside from studying it in high school and college. So, when they wanted a monologue for auditions I was at a loss. Until one afternoon I was listening to some 80s tracks and all of a sudden it hit me. I kept singing “Kids inAmerica” by Kim Wilde, then speaking it, then speaking it in accents, until one stuck. I looked up the lyrics and quickly realized it was perfect. I did the monologue of “Kids inAmerica” as a communist Russian immigrant living amongst the corrupted American youth. I cracked myself up doing this and thought it was brilliant. And if you read the words, you’d think it was written by a Russian immigrant living inNew York in the 80s. The Shakespeare crowd however, didn’t find it as amusing as I did. All I heard was my own heart beating after I finished. That, and my girlfriend cracking up, which was nice. I figured, you know, I thought it was funny. (which it was… and genius) The following week they called me and offered me a part. Something must’ve worked. (Even if it was drinking with the director the year before while watching the World Cup.) It was a good time and great experience and I urge anyone who has not gone to go. You get to see players perform Shakespeare outside by the ocean at a great venue while eating and drinking whatever you can fit in your coolers.

TDQ: How has the internet changed television news since you started in this business?

Lurz: It’s made it faster, which is hard to believe. You don’t have to wait for the evening newscasts anymore and before long those cool Live News Trucks will only be seen in museums. Like everybody else in the world, I can’t imagine working without a cell phone or computer. Don’t know how they did it with payphones and typewriters. Although, they had cool hats and everybody smoked. If I can organize it I’d like to get everybody from the stations & papers to dress like the 1940’s Press. Show up at a press conference with fedoras & suits. Little piece of paper stickin’ out of our hats that read ‘Press’.

Whatever, we should just have fun cause pretty soon it’ll all be run by just one station, with one guy sitting alone in a room with 27 computers, a bowl of Cheetos, crippling carpal tunnel and a vicious case of manic depression. Who’s coming to happy hour?!

TDQ: Quick: Margaret Bourke-White or Eddie Adams?

Lurz: Whoever takes pictures of kittens in human clothes. I love those!

TDQ: Isn’t your career really all downhill from here after this interview runs?

Lurz: I’m in Television News, brother. The only direction my career can go is up! By the way, are you guys hiring?

TDQ: Are you on Twitter? If yes, why aren’t you following @dailyquarterly?

Lurz: I’m sorry, I don’t speak Jive. Twitter ain’t good but for two things, Jack & Sh!t. And Jack left town. Um, Twitter? Seriously? Isn’t it enough that I check Facebook, email, make phone calls, feed myself, set my alarm clock, tie my shoes, do laundry, feed the cat, mail Christmas cards & take 93 mandatory sexual harassment exams at work? (Boobs are wonderful, btw) The only thing I would Twitter about is what I’m doing on Facebook. Like, “Check out my Facebook today, where I talk about the proper amount of mayo that should go into your tuna sandwich.”        

TDQ: Better source of news using social media? The Daily Quarterly fan page on Facebook
or @dailyquarterly on Twitter?

Lurz: Uh, see above question. I love your Facebook page, it’s dreamy!

TDQ: You’re welcome for our time

Lurz: Get Bent. …Oh and, Han shot first. (F— you Uncle George.)

Unfortunately, Wally didn’t win an Emmy last weekend. But he can take comfort in the knowledge that President Obama knows he’s the best photojournalist in South Florida. Read Part 1 of our TDQ Q&A with Wally here.

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