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Newsbreakers: Lucas Earls, Obesity Videographer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CAP) - You may not know his name. You may not recognize his face. But if you've seen a story on the news about overweight Americans, then you've certainly seen his work. Lucas Earls is an obesity videographer, and he films all the fat people for news stories about fat people.
"I just kinda stumbled into it, actually," Earls said in an exclusive sit-down interview with CAP News. "I was filming a piece on inner city rodents for WNEM back in Saginaw when I found myself zooming in all the large men and women walking down the street. It was like a car accident; I couldn't look away."
Earls said he later noticed the station using a graphical image during news about the poor eating habits of Michigan residents, so he offered up his stock footage of fat people to use as a backdrop for the story. The response, he said, was overwhelming.
"Really the pinnacle was when CNN called," Earls said as he showed CAP News shelves and shelves full of tapes of fat people. "Could I get them some film of overweight blond women, short men with beer guts, chubby teenagers, you name it. It was at that point I realized I needed a larger sample to choose from."
And it was at that point that Earls moved from his small house in Saginaw, Mich. to the obesity capital of America, Memphis. It was there that he defined and refined the now-popular gut, butt & strut filming technique that involves a close-up shot of a someone's belly, another of someone's ass, and then panning out to show that person waddling away.
While Earls is satisfied with all that he's accomplished in his career, he knows he's facing some stiff competition from hungry obesity videographers fresh out of college. And at 47, he finds it funny to be considered the "grandfather" of his profession.
"It's not like I'm still shooting on Hi-8, I do have a pretty nice Sony camcorder," said Earls. "But these kids with their cell phones and online video and whatnot - it's tough to keep up with how fast they're moving product into the marketplace. Eventually, my ship will sail."
How about something else that might be more sustainable and less cutthroat, like a wedding videographer?
"I thought about that, but I love what I do, and I do what I love. How many people can really say that?" asked Earls as the interview wrapped up. "For me, fat people are where it's at."
And until some young whippersnapper takes it from him, plastered all over the news is where Lucas Earls is at.
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