Upload & Sell: On
For our aspiring pros in the group, today was another chapter in my as yet unwritten book, "So You Want To Be a Pro?!"
Just as I was finishing a five mile walk early this morning my cell phone rang. You know a challenge is afoot when the client begins apologizing before they even tell you what they need. "Is there any way you could bend your schedule to shoot a BBJ for us today?" If it's humanly possible, my default answer for the past three decades has always been, "Certainly!" My clients are probably the most pampered ones in existence, and I have no intention of changing that at this point.
A call to the client I was shooting for today, a quick shower, a gear check and I was on my way to what I knew would be a hornet's nest. The airplane had just landed from a one hour shakedown flight and at least twenty people stood waiting with their tools to dive in an do the final tweaks. This scenario isn't all that unusual, but then the rest of the story unfolded. Glancing at my watch it was just after nine, the plane was departing with a Prime Minister and fifteen crew and high ranking military officers at 12:45, no wiggle room. We boarded, did a quick walk through and I began setting up and shooting. The jet was shaking from the footsteps of the dozen or so technicians scrambling around the various cabin sections, dismantling tables, captain's chairs, trouble shooting the "Air Show" system, and a bunch of other things on the punch list.
My plan was to begin in the aft lav and work forward, partly because that was the only compartment not filled with people and tools. I began turning on all the lights and figuring out angles. When I had finished with that compartment, work in the next was supposed to be complete so I could progress toward the nose. Shooting a BBJ in three hours is basically an impossibility unless of course you utilize the advanced techniques we saw in the shots I posted yesterday When I opened the lav doors I was greeted with a war zone of tables, pedestals, wiring, and technicians in little blue surgical shoe covers. Having been around this block before, I could see that this shoot didn't have a prayer of getting completed, unless they wanted me to shoot it as it flew to the other side of the world, not out of the realm of possibility. The guys were able to put the next VIP cabin back together enough for me to fudge three or four perspectives, but that brought me to a stone wall of impossibility, and I was just in everyone's way, so I pulled all of my gear out of the plane and put my part of the operation on pause until I could determine what was going to happen next.
This was the point where a BBJ assignment did a rapid course change to a VIP/delivery ceremony shoot in a completely different location. None of this was planned, but it was happening and a whole different set of tools were required. I used to allow this stuff to get me all twisted up, which accomplished nothing, save limiting my ability to deal. The next two hours bounced back and forth between a board room and a middle of the day sunblasted ramp. The jet shoot never resumed, but I knew there was no way it was getting completed, or anywhere near.
Certainly this whole scenario is extreme, but it's the stuff a commercial shooter's life is made of to one degree or another, just listen to my friend Joe McNally wax poetic about his three decades in the crucible. I have have come to realize that it, if it doesn't make one a raving maniac, creates a confidence and flexibility that ends up permeating everything you do in life, and that's oddly satisfying, in a masochistic sort of way.
A dozen executive portraits tomorrow beginning at 7 am and I'm cranking up for the 4th.