My Place Under The Sun

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Working With A Nightmare

A few weeks ago, I was asked to be a stylist for a Maxim, a magazine for men, shoot. The model is a veteran and has been doing the print rounds lately as the agency handling her is trying to build her up as an international actress / model residing in the Philippines.

Needless to say, I was pretty hyped since this was my first styling job and it was for an internationally known glossy at that.

The Pre-shoot Meeting.

My photographer friend asked me to attend a pre-shoot meeting that the model's agency had requested. This is quite common, even in ordinary fashion shoots to get the people involved in the shoot prepared. Having worked with a Maxim project before (as a photo assistant), I knew that the magazine would send pegs or images of what the concept for the shoot should look like. Or at least something similar to it.

The photographer and I have already discussed our own concept based on the pegs but wondered how far can we push the "sexy" envelope. Which we found out, during the meeting, was not too far.

Anyway, we arrived at the large office building and met everyone. The manager, two production assistants, the wardrobe person, another photographer (who turned out to be the art director, without our knowledge) and a friend who just happens to tag along and a videographer.

Everyone except the model.

As a curious cat, I asked where she was and further inquired if it was possible to have her join the meeting. The manager immediately shot me down with a stern look and said that there was no need for her to join.

I then sensed that the shoot was not going to be happy experience.

We showed the manager the pegs and she basically turned almost every single image down. As it was, according to her, "too revealing". (duh? it's a men's magazine). She then blatantly insisted that the shoot should also feature the company and it's facilities. It just gets better by the minute.

The Shoot

The photographer, the make-up artist and I arrived. Welcomed by one of the production assistants, we were led through the studio and the dressing room. I rummaged through the wardrobe immediately and started going through the lingeries that were available while the photographer talks the model through the shoot.

In this small dressing room, there were already at least ten other people there who mostly did not have anything to do with the shoot. I also noticed two videographers, a video director, the art director, the friend, the production assistant who welcomed us, his casually invited friend who took pictures without the permission of the main photographer, and three other people who were just there to see what's happening.

I immediately moved to where the wardrobe was to pick out what the model was going to wear for the shoot. My photographer-friend talked to the model and as expected, the management did not relay to her anything we talked about the 2 hours plus meeting we had the day before. She was completely clueless except for the fact that there was going to be a shoot.

The model even had the guts to tell the photographer that she was not comfortable with him and wanted her friend to do the shoot instead. At that instant, I felt the immediate urge to get out of the room to grab a cigarette. I called the attention of the photographer for a quick huddle to discuss the situation, the possibility of walking out of this horrifying shoot definitely came up.

We all decided to continue and roll with the punches. Find out where it leads and hopefully, during the shoot things will get better. And to avoid boring you with details, it did not go any smoother. There was the incident where she came out with this ridiculous lingerie which I never picked out, the case of the missing wardrobe personnel and of course, the shoot turning out to be a fashion shoot instead.

And to think that the whole thing was supposedly handled by a multi-million company that's trying to position itself to bring hollywood in asia.

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