Friday, February 20, 2009

Just A Note About Translations...

I hear this a lot in meetings with people prior to shoots......."My (fill in the blank) says I look much prettier (handsome) in person than I do in photographs."  This person then proceeds to hand me anywhere from two to twelve photographs, that span the time of anywhere from a few months to a few years, and the talents from sometimes the equivalent number of photographers.  Then they look at me as if I am the second coming of you know who, and will deliver onto them nothing short of astonishing beauty of themselves.  And I often times do deliver astonishing beauty in my shots; but usually not the typical type.  (The beauty I go for is the raw, unaltered, straight forward kind...but that is a different posting altogether).

Here is what this person fails to grasp, comprehend, notice, or accept.

Yes, some people (like maybe you and maybe me) do look better in person than they do on camera.  I mean we all know it works the other way, right?  Especially those of us living in cities like LA and NYC who frequently bump into movie stars and celebrities at the grocery store, coffee shop, plastic surgeon's office, and group therapy sessions....I mean we have all seen at least one well known person and thought, "My god they look so ordinary in person.  So, boring."  That is because for some people, you put a camera on them and "Poof" they transform into this other being.  They have this "X Factor".  The ordinary becomes mesmerizing somehow.

Now those of us not possessing this "X Factor", well do not despair, we too get to have careers and be beautiful in our own way (I will not name examples, but there are plenty of well known ones), we just need to accept that the camera sees us a little differently.  But the important thing to remember is that "it sees us", so the more of you, "the real you", that it sees, the more beautiful your image, and your work will be.  Because there is nothing more beautiful than the truth, at least in my opinion.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Still The Most Beautiful City....

I went to Paris about two years ago.  I swapped a flat in Paris for Headshots in LA.  Best trade I ever made.  Stayed there a month.  Had the time of my life.  There is a photo of an older couple walking the streets below Montmartre.  I was on my way back to the apartment when I spotted them at a crosswalk.  They were so in love.  It was incredible.  So I followed them...for about ten minutes.  They walked like this the entire time.  I kept thinking maybe someday that will be me.  Two strangers allowed me to believe in love again.  Later that night I was craving something familiar, so I went to the movies.  I saw a film that was shot in LA...have to admit, it made me a little homesick. didn't exactly reinforce that hopeful feeling of being in love.  It was Fracture, with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling.  Ah well, I was still in Paris for another week.

They Come And Go So Fast...

It was one of those Rare Rainy Romantic LA days.
Listening to Billie Holiday sing in between the raindrops at my window and on my roof.
Wishing I could have a cigarette.
Spending some time at my desk by the window...pretending to work.
The sun kept fanning across my windowsill, off and on, like a sheet on a clothesline.  
Finally I pulled out of my daydream and looked up and saw the "Love Child" of the Rain and Sun.  
Actually twins, if you look close.
I wanted to run to my roof to get a better view, but I knew better from experience.
Moments like these fade so quickly, and you can't always put them in a vault and stop time.
So I took just a few more frames and just sat there.
What a view.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Where The Streets Have No Name...

Listening to my favorite album.
Recalling my last trip here.
Imagining all those stars on a cool crisp night like this.
Can't wait to get back there.
Crank up the Music and Dance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How To Take An Epic Headshot

If you are still at the level where you require a headshot as one of your marketing tools, it needs to be good right?  Because it serves as your calling card in a big way; one that can pry open those tightly welded doors to the interiors of "the Room".  Actually good is not good enough for that, it needs to be Great.  It needs to be Unforgettable.  Hell, why shouldn't it be Epic even? Well they should be, and they can be, but so often they're just...okay.

Look, I am an actor as well, it is why I came to LA from Chicago, and it is what keeps me here. The desire to be 100% Pro someday...not just in ability, but in accomplishment.  This entry is not about that though, I mention it only to strengthen what I am about to say.  So that you know that I too sit on that side of the camera, in the waiting room, in class, in workshops, on "tiny little sets" (and no set is tiny), in front of the mirror talking to invisible people, in traffic doing my audition (usually much better on the drive home), on the phone with my Reps delicately asking why am I not going out more, Blah-Blah Blah-Blah-Blah-Blah-Blahhhh.     Point is I get it.

So back to that important gadget on the utility belt, the ol' headshot.  How do you get that killer shot?  Is it the photographer?  The camera?  The background?  The lighting?  You?  Well, it is all of that. Sure you should absolutely find a photographer who has decent to good equipment, a decent eye, understands light, and all the other stuff, but I am telling you this:  

If you don't have YOU figured out enough (not all the way, but enough), then forget it. 
All that technical stuff could be amazing and the shot would just be okay.  

Not to toot my own horn, but I know I am a solid photographer.  I know of the work that is out there by others, and I know where it stacks up against my own.  YET,  I will tell you this : 

Not All Of My Clients Get Epic Shots.  

Why?  Because they are in the way.  

They haven't 100% invested in believing in The Big Secret.  (No, this "Big Secret" does not require a Vision Board and you imaging a brand new BMW in your driveway).

Here's the Big Secret to taking an EPIC headshot.  Get the right photographer for you and then just Show Up.  That's it.  Just Show Up.  Nothing else.  No "doing" anything in front of the camera, not worrying about your hair, clothes, wrinkles, none of that.  In fact, start doing nothing in front of the camera on set and some day they might just put a statue of a little golden naked man in your hands.  

Seriously, look at the great performances of the last 70 years on film.  All of the Greats, the Pros...they all know how to work the camera in a reaction shot, and in turn, let the camera do all the work.  All they have to do is think it and we, the audience, get it.  What is "it" you ask?  "It" is anything.  Anything at all.  Anything real, honest, and true....and something true can be completely false and made up at times, as long as they make it real for themselves and believe in it.  Do you understand what I mean?  

See, if the story is working, if the director is doing a good job, and if the actors are already creating characters in their "performances", well, when it comes to that all important close-up reaction shot, the money shot, the work has almost entirely been done already.  They just need to show real life of some kind and we will do the rest as light glides across a 100 foot screen and we eat popcorn.  

And that is what a headshot is.  It is a close-up reaction shot.  So just sit there and do nothing, and allow yourself to have a real thought and a real reaction.  And.... it can be about anything at all...except, "Oh I hope this photo shoot goes well."  

Do that and you will be fine; if you picked the right photographer for YOU .

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How Do You Drive These Things

Okay as indicated to the "Blog Thing".  Trying to figure out how to have this best serve all of you.  Who has questions about stuff that is not mentioned on my site?  Drop a note here or send me an email and I will start to address questions or needs as best I can.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It Sort Of Just Happened...

Hell seems to have Frozen Over, all is perfectly still, except for those pesky Flying Pigs.  Yes, yes, this is a "Blog"; more accurately My Blog.

After years of fighting off such things as Friendster, Myspace, and Facebook, here I am.  Near Midnight on a January evening deciding to take the plunge.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  Of course, my great fear, which is associated not only with My New Blog, but the above mentioned as well (and naturally cable television), is that I will become uncontrollably addicted to this and never leave the house.  God help me.

So with that said I now begin my last paragraph for the evening and warn everyone that I have the makings to be a Blog-o-holic; that I may lose self control and type ferociously throughout the day and night, spewing out unnecessary, uninvited nonsense.  Devoting countless hours to such rubbish as myself and my opinions.  Of course, there is the equal likelihood that I may misplace my username and  password and never log on again.