The Adventure Begins
Wow. Yesterday’s shoot was a rough one, but an adventure nonetheless. Unfortunately there’s not much of a behind the scenes video for you because I gave Darren the day off for a pool party. (Had to call out Darren. Plus I didn’t think I’d need him for this shoot, but it would have been nice to have his big stature there.) Linzy and I scouted 3 excellent locations for our ESPN shoot. Of course I can’t disclose any details about that til it’s published, but I can tell you what went down.
Location Scouting for ESPN Shoot
For our first location, we needed a basketball court that was grungy. It’s not as easy to find as you may think, especially with today being the first day of school, therefore schools were off limits because call time was at 2:30pm. Normally I would have scouted all the locations way ahead of time, but I was shooting out of state when I got the assignment from ESPN. I requested an extension because I wasn’t going to be back in time. Linzy and I drove around for awhile and finally found a basketball hoop that was perfect for the shot.
Then we headed down to the waterfront to scout for a shot that showed the cityscape because ESPN wanted something that symbolized Portland. Found a great dock down by the water overlooking the city and the Hawthorne bridge. Location #2 check. That was easy.
Finally for the last location, I wanted to do something more urban. Have you ever tried finding an alley way in Portland? Not easy. I had shot in an alley over a year ago, but I couldn’t recall exactly where it was. I knew the general area, so we decided to drive down every street. Luckily, it didn’t take too long. We still had 2 hrs to kill before call time, so we decided Thai food was called for!
I know what you’re thinking, so far that doesn’t sound so bad. Trust me, the crazy part is coming.
We get to the skate park at 2:30pm. It’s now packed with 20-25 skaters, earlier in the day there were about five. Right away they started sizing me up and start peeing all over the place to mark their territory. Ok, not physically peeing, but they started boardin’ in our area, asking if I got permission, flexing their muscles, getting in our faces, this was all before I even pulled out any of my gear to setup.
Earlier when we scouted, I noticed that the basketball rim had no net. Instead it had old plastic six pack can holders, you know the ones that kills all the fish if you litter into the river. (Be sure to always cut the loops. I think I learned that in Elementary school.) Anyways, it looked hideous, so I had my intern Eric bring some scissors to cut it down because you couldn’t even tell that it was a basketball rim. As Eric was cutting down their net, I could see the fear in his face. There were a lot of hostility directed towards Eric and us now! Granted it probably wasn’t the smartest decision that I made, going into someone’s turf and messing up their stuff…but I needed the shot.
As we’re setting up lights and picking out model’s outfit, the skaters continue to whisk by inches from our gear, still heckling and frontin’, I decided to make a deal with one of them that if he help me keep everyone away from the set for 10 minutes I’d give them all beer money. I had 10 minutes, that’s not a lot of time. I didn’t get the lights to where I wanted them because that would have meant putting Eric in a dangerous position, so I opted to keep everything tight and shoot more portraits rather than get the full environment which was what I intended when I saw the place. Eric manned one of the lights while Linzy guarded my camera gear. Fearful for the talent’s safety and my crew, I decided to pack it up after a few shots, crossing my fingers that I got at least one shot out of it. Left there $20 bucks lighter, assured them that I’d come back and replace their net.
The Drunk Photo Assistant
Since that first location was a disaster, I needed a backup basketball location. I decided to head down to the Park Blocks in Portland where they have two basketball courts. I’ve shot here once before but got kicked out by the cops because I didn’t get permission from the city. There was no time to do that this time either, so I knew that I’d have to shoot fast yet again.
I set up for my first shot and a drunk guy thought that it’d be a good idea come over and “assist” on-set. I assured him that my assistants were capable. He then observed for a little and decides that he was going to direct the talent on how to dunk a basketball. OMG. After 15 minutes, we packed it up and headed to the alley.
We’re in the alley, rocking the shoot. Finally, peace and quiet so I can concentrate on getting the photos without having to worry about other people. Not long into the shoot, a crazy old lady sticks her head out of her window and starts yelling at us. We moved a little further away from her and continued shooting. As we were packing our gear to leave, she decides to open her window to yell at us some more.
Lady—”I saw you peeping in my window!”
Me—”No mam, I’m just taking photos.”
Lady—”I have pictures to prove it! You were looking in my window!”
Linzy—”You should be happy if someone wants to look in your window.”
Lady—”How would you like it if my friends and I came to your window?!”
Lady—”You’ve RUINED my whole day!!!”
Me—”Have a good day.”
The Portland Cityscape Location
We parked at OMSI and lugged our gear down to the dock for the last shot of the day. I noticed that there were a couple of row boats getting ready to launch, so I asked my crew to wait for a little bit before we headed down. We get down there, set up our shot, ten minutes go by…I’m shooting…and we hear this lady behind us:
Lady—”I can’t hold this much longer.”
We turned around and she’s carrying a boat of some sort by herself. Behind her is 7-10 other people carrying their own boats. We decided to pack our stuff and move out of their way before someone fell in the water. After they all got in, we set up shop again. Another 10 minutes into shooting…I hear:
Guy on Bullhorn from Boat—”Hey are you guys going to be done soon?”
Me—”Uh, we just got here.”
GOB—”Well we have about 20 boats that’s waiting to dock.”
Me under my breath—”Damn it.”
Me—”How long will it take for you guys to dock?”
GOB—”Probably 15 minutes.”
I checked the position of the sun. Okay, in 15 minutes the sun should still be in a good spot in the sky. I have at least 45 minutes.
We lugged all our stuff back up the ramp and camped out as we watched about a hundred people carry the row boats up. (Doesn’t look like I’ll be joining crew anytime soon) After they all got out, we quickly head down as the sun was starting to set on the cityscape. Like the Black Eye Peas goes, BOOM BOOM POW! I got the shots I was going for, but decided to wait to shoot a few more frames when the sky turned orange…battery pack started to lose it’s juice, then a WHOLE new crew came in to dock. Ok that’s a wrap! I’m not dealing with this anymore.
We had a good celebration afterwards. =)