Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Boy, did I get that one wrong.

For the past few days, as we’ve been driven from basecamp to location in the stakebed, we’ve seen all these cars parked on turnouts on a certain section of Mulholland Drive – all driven by men, all just sitting there, with the occasional rebel who’s gotten out of the car and is talking to someone through the driver’s window.

As we passed them several times a day, day after day, we’d made the assumption that it was a place for a certain type of gentleman to meet like-minded gentleman, and had been making all sorts of inappropriate jokes as we drove by, but today one of our guys couldn’t stand the suspense anymore and had the driver pull the stakebed off the road, got out, and asked them what the hell they were doing there.

Turns out, they’re paparazzi, and they’re waiting outside Britney Spears’ house for her to come out so they can take her picture, follow her to wherever she’s going, or whatever it is that those guys do.

I tried to take a picture of them, but the sun was right behind them – when I shook my head and put the camera down, they all started to yell helpful suggestions, but we had to move on since we were running short on time to get the rig finished.

They asked if we had any tips for them, and the only thing I could think of to shout back was “buy low, sell high”.

I’m really tempted to go back on my day off and pick their brains about how to get a good shot in poor lighting conditions, since if anyone’s going to know, it’s those guys.

First unit shoot the house tomorrow and Friday, and then we come back Monday to wrap it out.

Filed under: Work

7 Responses

  1. Meg says:

    I know how hard it is to make a living if you are a photographer (I worked for years doing headshots for struggling actors in Hollywood) but paparazzi don’t get my sympathy. Yes, I know they are “just doing their job” and “if there wasn’t a demand, we wouldn’t be here” but holy jumping catfish, staking out somebody’s house day after day, following them at close range to the 7/11 and everywhere they go just seems, um, well, creepy and scummy. Yup, being in the public eye seems glamorous, until you are. It goes with the territory, unfortunately. Off my soapbox, off to look at pics on TMZ (vbeg)

  2. snarkolepsy says:

    “I’m really tempted to go back on my day off and pick their brains about how to get a good shot in poor lighting conditions,”

    You might want to think about an SB-600 type flash. Since I’m sure you don’t want to upgrade your lens.

  3. Charli says:

    ‘buy low, sell high’ – ha ha. Nice. Best advice I’ve heard in a long while. Pazz make a living off of other people living, what a hard way to go.

  4. Christopher Boffoli says:

    Can the flash idea. It is only effective for about a 30′ throw and gives you a harsh, flat light and dull color temperature. What you want is to get a digital camera that has the ability to dial into a high ISO (simulated film speed). The rigs those guys use can be pushed to 6400 ASA. That gives them the ability to hand-hold low light shots and not have the shutter drag. They do use a bit of flash but only with a reflector so it is not too harsh. Obviously they know when to pump up he flash for those Lindsay Lohan getting out of the car crotch shots. For that particular genre one doesn’t worry too much about color temperature.

  5. snarkolepsy says:

    “What you want is to get a digital camera that has the ability to dial into a high ISO (simulated film speed). ”

    Yeah – but she can get closer without having to put out the money those guys do on a rig. For instance – buying a lens that compensates for her camera. But they aren’t cheap. Buying a new camera isn’t cheap either. Which is why I suggested the 600. You are right it doesn’t have a long throw, but from what I’ve seen – most of her work fits into the range, and for a flash it has gives you a lot of range. Built in defuser – and lots of setting range.

  6. nezza says:

    Or…couldn’t you “quickly” rig up some of your movie set lights? ;o)

    Or (non-stupid option) could you take them in silhouette instead?

    Peggy sez: I should have – they would have let me. In fact, they would have posed. I’m back at that location Monday to wrap, so I may try it, if the stakebed driver will slow down for me.

  7. nezza says:

    Oooh – I hope you manage it!
    (For some reason I have a mental image of them posing in a James Bond/Charlie’s Angels sort of style, except with cameras rather than guns. That thought will keep me amused for a good few hours.)

    Peggy sez: Now THAT’S an idea. I’ll try to get them to do it.

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