My friends like to say that I’m living the dream and my last gig certainly didn’t tarnish that reputation. I recently got to travel to New York to shoot the most beautiful women on the planet for the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show featuring Justin Bieber and Rihanna.
How does one get such a gig you might ask? Well it helps to know a producer that you have worked with many times before that trusts you and likes your work. The only catch was I had to work “as a local” which means that the production doesn’t pay for your flights or your accommodations, but I’d be a fool to turn down this opportunity.
The only thing working against me here was a little storm they called Sandy. Actually Sandy wasn’t little at all and she was scheduled to arrive at exactly the same time as my flight into LaGuardia. Looking at a weather map showing a thousand mile wide hurricane, I decided to try to beat her there but only made it as far as Denver before all flights were canceled. Unfortunately for me all my camera gear did make the last flight to NYC while I had to return LA after 17 hours traveling.
I watched helplessly for the next several days as the storm surge hit flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power around the city. My sincere condolences to all those that lost their homes or the lives of loved ones but as they say, “The show must go on.”.
I got the first available flight, a red-eye, into JFK and production sent a car to pick me up at 5am. It was a disaster area, public transportation had ceased and half the city was in the dark. Despite this I was the first person to arrive on set. I got a NY bagel (so much better than an LA bagel) and went to work for the next 12 hours or so.
The first few days of production were on a soundstage shooting interviews with the Angels including Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes and Behati Prinsloo. Yes, they are just as pretty in person.
Our A camera was an Alexa on a dolly operated by DP/director Cameron Barnet. He is one of those soft-spoken masters of his trade that you always hope to work with and aspire to be. The lighting was dialed in to perfection by gaffer Frank Blasko.
Our B camera was supposed to be my 5D but I hadn’t seen it since they forced me to check it at the gate several days earlier. After several calls, the airline located it at LGA and we sent all of our PA’s to go grab it. Why would we send all of our PA’s? Well, the city had limited traffic to cars with 3 or more passengers only so we had to.
The day of the big show is a bit of a blur for me. There were so many things going on at once. I was simultaneously rigging GoPros on five different floors, shooting time-lapse, operating a rear projection slideshow hooked up to my laptop, pulling focus for our Steadicam operator, wrangling super-models and shooting 5D coverage. There was also a major blizzard going on outside.
Over the course of the show I slept on couches, floors and shared hotel rooms but I arrived every morning with a smile on my face because I am living the dream. I really enjoyed working with the team at Done and Dusted and I hope to work with them again soon. I watched the show last night on CBS and it looked great. If you missed it they are airing it again December 12th.