Friday, July 23, 2010

When One Door Closes ...

This week I got calls for two very interesting jobs that involved a lot of travel with the promise of generous pay.  I'm at the stage of producing photo shoots that just getting the calls is fun and encouraging, especially good jobs such as these.
I heard about the first gig Monday morning.  It involved going across Canada from BC to Nova Scotia by car for two weeks.  Initially I thought it was a producing job wherein I would be asked to shoot some behind-the-scenes stuff.  Right up my alley and a very exciting proposition to get to an opportunity to see Canada in such a way.  I've got some other stuff going on right now that makes this trip even more appealing - let's just say, it's a very good time for me to get out of town.  In my excitement, I didn't realize that what they were really looking for was a director of photography.  It took a couple of days.  Even before that I was offering to lower my rate to make it happen.  But once I lowered my rate they wanted to see some work samples that closely matched their brand messaging. 
Ugh.  Before I continue with this post, I have to vent.  I hate brand messaging.  The only way I'm able to work in advertising at all is as a producer, because in that capacity I'm taking care of the photographer and the crew, making sure they have all they need to do a great job for the client.  I don't really want anything to do with the product and I'm perfectly happy not being asked what I think about such things.  I'm much happier making sure we find a perfect location or cast the best talent and, most importantly, that we have good food to eat.  I like to book travel arrangements, too.  I also like to create budgets and schedules and to assume the responsibility of staying within their limits.  I'm sort of like John Cusack in Say Anything - I don't want to buy, sell, process or distribute anything bought, sold or processed ... something like that.  I don't want to photograph anything that doesn't have anything to do with the people that I'm working with that I find interesting.  I can't stand the schlock.  So behind-the-scenes, making-of type videos and photographs are my bag.  I like observing people doing interesting things.  I like authentic behavior.  While models are posing the photographer is trying to manipulate them to best sell the product, but my pictures of that process are about something else.  I don't want the client to see my pictures most of the time.
Anyway by Wednesday it was clear that the Canada job was not for me.  I was bummed, but also glad to know that I need to be clear about what I'm trying to do.  I thanked the photographer that put me up for the job while reiterating that I'm very interested in work as a producer.  And that while I'm producing, I'm interested in and capable of shooting behind-the-scenes stuff that could be used for content in some cases.
Then, the very next morning, I received a call from a photographer's agent that asked me to put together a bid for a job that would take he and I and a small crew around Oregon for three weeks taking pictures of cultural figures and places.  I don't know yet if we'll get it, but can you imagine if I had said yes to a job that I wasn't really right for and missed out on a job that's EXACTLY what I want to be doing? 
Even if I don't get either job, it was a lesson is staying lucid about one's intentions and goals.

1 comment:

JMB said...

This is a story worth sharing with folks less seasoned in making livelihood decisions. Thank you!