Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Risk Takers...

Here's some work that just came out in golf digest this month on risk takers in golf...I got a call from Christian Iooss in december asking what If i'd like to shoot a big feature about people in golf that are known for taking risks both on the course and off. When he called, the story was really just getting going and there were no concepts yet for the photos, so we did some brainstorming trying to come up with illustrative metaphors that would be cool and also show "risk" (without looking ironic or hokey, as that is ALWAYS the risk for us on shoots like this)..the subjects were Ian Poulter, Ben Crane, and Donald Tump....Ian was considered a risk taker because he has been a very brash dresser, kinda mouthy, and an early adopter of social media..and he backs it all up with an excellent game and very high ranking...lets just say he's really colorful, and golf needs that. After tossing around some ideas, we settled on putting him on a giant rotating knife throwing wheel, wearing one of his signature loud outfits (that he designs). After Christian and I envisioned how awesome it would be, we realized we only had a few days to prop it, and the shoot was in southwest florida...Miami is close by, should be able to find a knife throwing wheel in miami no problem, right? You know where this is heading,,,couldnt find one in any prop houses, so had to hire a set builder in miami to build one, and oh yea you only have 3 days. Like SO MANY editorial jobs, you just gotta go with it, have faith, and improvise when you need to, but mostly just cross your to the location the day before (ritz carlton in naples), scouted the property with the PR girl and had a little panic attack..."you cant put it there. You cant put it there either. nope, no there either. ok, you can put it there but keep quiet about it." The wheel showed up 2 hours before the shoot, and it looked AWESOME. Ran to walmart and bought some knives "call me if he shows up early!" Ian showed up right on time, was an awesome sport and got the concept...great shoot..and we all had the cathartic experience of stepping up on that wheel!....Ok, on to texas now to shoot Ben Crane. Bens shoot the concept was an homage to risky business. The iconic scene where tom dances to "old time rock and roll" in his skivies. Ben has always been a bit of a stick in the mudd on the tour, he lists his hobies as "fly fishing and bible study", not a very polarizing figure. But he recently has been doing these hilarious very dry self deprecating videos of late and putting them on youtube, and he is getting a big following for them. Again, like alot of shoots, i had no idea what the location (his house) would look like or if we would have a location that made sense for the concept. After a quick scout, the coffee table was PERFECT, just like in the movie when tom jumps up on the coffee table half way through the song. I had picked up a classic pair of wayfarers the day before, and the magazine was sending the shirt. me: "so ben, wheres the shirt the magazine sent?" ben: "huh?" uh oh. the magazine forgot to send...panic time again. we went in bens closet, he had a bunch of shirts with loud prints and this one shirt his wife got two days before, and it was perfect, pin stripped just like the movie. The concept was a little risky, i wasnt even sure he would do it. would you get on a table in your underwear and sunglasses and dance in front of strangers while they took you picture? But even ben said "wow, cant believe i have this shirt as i would NEVER wear one like this. This is a sign, its meant to be." So he hoped up on the table, we bought "old time rock and roll" at itunes (your welcome bob seger), pumped it up, and we had a blast for about twenty minutes while bens wife and three year old daughter looked on in disbelief. Again, awesome shoot. The last shoot was probably my favorite, as it was with Donald Trump, and we were shooting it at his club in palm beach, Mar A Lago. I had shot Mr. trump, as he likes to be called, 2 previous times, the last time was just this past august. And let me say, the dude is one of the nicest you will meet. I always gauge how nice a person is in reality based on how they treat my assistants. They are always nice to me (they have to be or i will make them look bad!) but not the case with my assistants necassarily. Alot of subjects are kinda dismissive to my assistants. Not really rude, just not interested. Donald has never been like that on set. he is always genuinely interested and kind to everyone. I think he's just a nice guy at heart. Anyway, Donald is always buying and building golf courses, even in risky times, so the magazine wanted to feature him as well. After lots of brainstorming, we thought a shot of him standing on a ledge on the roof at mar a lago would be a good way to illustrate risk. But we would have to shoot him on white in a ballroom, and shoot plates of the roof top view and drop him in later. So we got to mar a lago early, and scouted, and scouted, (hey isnt that billy crystal having breakfast?) and panicked a bit, and scouted some more...only a couple of places would work, but at least we did have a view and we didnt need to get him up there. So we shot the location plate, (and sat for an hour after to enjoy the view from the roof), and then went back to the ballroom and waited for Donald. He showed up early (he always does), and was as gracious as ever. We had a bit of fun reminiscing about our last shoot in august, i showed him some of the outtakes on my computer, then we got down to business. After the shoot, he invited us to have dinner there at the club. And it was by far the most over the top buffet i have ever experienced. Piles of lobster, prime rib,scallops wrapped in bacon, a whole baked grouper, you name it, it was there. Washed it all down with an excellent bottle of red wine. It was december 23, the last shoot of the year, and an awesome way to end my work year....two days later i was in Cabo with jess and henry.....thanks christian!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nat, terrific post. If we didn't know how f*#king hard you work to get those shots, we would all be jealous of your fabulous life.....nice job!