Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ESPN shoot / When things fall apart

A few pics from a recent shoot for Jim Surber at ESPN Magazine.  Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is having a great season -- when we shot him, he was undefeated and his ERA was under 1.00.  I guess that's pretty good.  Jim wanted to try to get a cover image out of the shoot (!!!), an opener for the story, and also something for the table of contents.  We had 20 minutes with Ubaldo, and each setup used at least 4 lights, so we had to work fast. 

I went the day before to scout, and found a great spot in the bullpen.  We cleared it with Rockies' media, and planned to get there a few hours before our 20 minute slot with Ubaldo.  We had to get each lighting setup dialed in and clearly marked so we could move through all three setups quickly.

The day of the shoot, our media contact dropped off the face of the earth.  No one else was there.  So we were left standing outside Coors field as the clock ticked down.  We now have an hour to set up.  I start to sweat.  

45 minutes left to set up.  We finally get into the bullpen, unpack lights, camera, and laptop (shooting tethered) and get our three setups dialed.  Five minutes before Ubaldo is scheduled to show up, the Rockies pitching coach shows up and he is PISSED.  There are stands and lights all over the pitching mound, and he has pitchers to warm up for that day's game.  He wasn't told about the shoot and he wants us OUT.  NOW.

I take a deep breath, put on my Kofi Annan hat, and work out a tenuous deal with him where we scoot a few lights over to make room, then readjust all the lighting we'd set up.  Now I am really sweaty.  Ubaldo shows up, and thankfully he is a pleasure to work with.  We get our three shots, and get out of there as fast as we can.

I don't always have time to scout editorial shoots, but I'm glad I did on this one.  Even with the advance planning and scheduling, there was no way to anticipate that our media contact was going to throw us under the bus. 

If this had happened to the less experienced me, say five years ago, I might have snapped.  Planning ahead, knowing where to shoot, working quickly and efficiently, and dealing with unexpected adversity on set are all acquired skills, and there is no substitute for time spent doing these things (or having them happen to you).  

This is especially true in the editorial world where most of the time you are working on the fly, without a producer or any real budget.  It's great practice for advertising work, since it teaches you to improvise on set. 

Thanks to Wes Ferguson of LA Digital Assistant, who totally hooked me up on this one.  And to Ubaldo for being super cool....


Dustin said...

This rings way too close to home lately...Nice recovery.

jimgolden said...

mr kripke, awesome story...images look tight, ya'd never know...