Tuesday, August 04, 2009

PGS DVD Production Day One (The Final Chapter)

No doubt, many of you have been biting your nails in anticipation of this update since my last post, assuming you read it, ended with a cliffhanger: "It was then that I noticed, in the distance, the gleam and dust-cloud of another vehicle quickly approaching..."

So relax. You can quit biting the keratin growing from the ends of your fingers. I was supposed to work today but the shoot got canceled due to a sick model--not that they ain't all sick, some in good ways, some not so--so I figured I'd use part of my newly-discovered day-off and finish the saga of our production day at El Mirage.

BTW, all of you could have saved your nails the toothy onslaught. A few days ago, I wrote a spoiler in the comments of my previous update. But then, who reads the comments, right?


It was then that I noticed, in the distance, the gleam and dust-cloud of another vehicle quickly approaching...

I stood up to get a better look.

As the vehicle grew closer, something told me it might not be a welcome visitor to our little photo/video soiree. I turned to look at Dalia, our model, who was cavorting, buck-naked on the lake bed, posing with a big piece of fairly transparent blue chiffon blowing in the breeze as Rick snapped away. Kyle and Patrick were shooting video of the scene. I returned my attention to the oncoming vehicle. It was much closer now, still speeding towards us across the sand, and I could make out some of the graphics on the side of the white SUV.

Uh oh.

Local gendarmes!

I turned back towards Dalia. "Wrap that thing around your body!" I shouted.

"What?" She shouted back.

"Cover yourself up!" I called out.

She started wrapping the transparent chiffon around her naked body as she too noticed the oncoming vehicle. Truthfully, it didn't cover much. She might just as well have remained naked for all the good the chiffon did.

The law enforcement vehicle pulled up nearby. I slapped a big smile on my face and walked towards it. Two, uniformed, officers, guns on their hips, stepped out of the vehicle.

"Hi guys!" I said, as I approached them, the friendly smile still plastered on my face. "Can I help you?"

One of the officers said, "Can we see your shooting permit?"

(Note: For those of you who think getting popped for shooting without a permit is no big deal, it sometimes can be: Not only will they often issue a summons that usually ends up being fairly expensive, they can also, if they choose, confiscate and impound equipment. You know, like your cameras and such. Leastwise, in L.A. that's what they sometimes do.)

Back to the story...

"Shooting permit?" I answered, feigning confusion. "I don't think we need a shooting permit. We're, uhh... shooting some private portfolio stuff," I lied.

"Sir," The officer said, ignoring my explanation, "I need to see your permit. You need a permit to be shooting this on the lake bed." He looked over at Dalia, our might-as-well-have-been-naked model, then at my motley crew, all with cameras--two of them video cams--in their hands, then back to me. "Private portfolio?" He asked, a bit sarcastically.

"Yes sir." I continued to lie with my best poker-face. "We're a photography club and we always video tape our shoots so we can show it to our members who can't be here."

The officer, who now wasn't sure if I was lying or not, went on to explain that I still needed to contact the permit office who would, most likely, grant an exemption for photo clubs and hobbyists. But that exemption, he explained, would still be a tangible permit. It just wouldn't cost anything.

"Well, that's good to know for the next time, officer." I smiled cheerfully. "Thanks for the info."

"We had a crew shooting a Victoria's Secret commercial out here yesterday." He said.

"Wow! Cool!" I said. "I'll bet they had a permit." I added, trying to be somewhat humorous.

"They did," he advised me, without as much as a smile. "The guy who made that Transformers movie was directing it," he told me. "Michael Bay."

"Very cool." I said.

"He was an asshole." The officer said, rather nonchalantly and without skipping a beat. "All he did was yell and scream at people all day. Even the models."

"Oh man!" I said, feigning big-time disapproval. "I guess that's how some people get when they're big and famous and all full of themselves. Bet he didn't yell at you guys."

The officer nodded.

"You can finish what you're doing," the officer told me. "But next time get a permit."

"Thanks!" I said. "To be honest, I thought you were going to bust us for indecent exposure or something like that," I said, nodding towards our model, a sheepish grin on my face.

"There's no local ordinance that covers that kind of thing out here on the dry lake." He officially advised me.

"Whew!" I thought, suddenly realizing how incredibly dumb it was for me to even bring up the subject of Dalia's obvious nudity. Especially since they didn't mention it. But, when you're on a roll, stupid shit can sometimes spill easily out of one's mouth. (My mouth being quite good at doing that.) Anyway, I guess that's what happened-- A momentary lapse in reason. (© Pink Floyd.)

"Wow!" I said, quickly shrugging of my self-recrimination. "I guess you don't have too many church ladies out here in the middle of nowhere?"

He smiled... finally!

"You guys are welcome to hang around and watch." I added. Turning to Dalia, I shouted, "Take it off!"

"What?" She called back.

"Take if off!" I shouted again. "It's okay to get naked!"

Dalia smiled mischievously and unwrapped herself, revealing herself to the officers in all her naked glory.

Now, both peace officers were smiling.

I hand signaled an "okay" to my crew: Rick started snapping pics again while Kyle and Patrick resumed videotaping the whole thing.

One of the officers pulled out his cell phone and held it up. "You mind?" He asked.

"Be my guest." I said.

"Hope my wife doesn't see these," he said as he started snapping cell phone pics of the lovely and completely naked Dalia. "Please make sure your guys don't point their cameras at us." He advised me.

"Not a problem." I said. "Guys!" I shouted to my crew. "Don't shoot anything this way!"

And they didn't.

Later, back at our little base camp at Mr. Calloway's ranch/scrapyard, we were all joking about our encounter with the local constables. Dalia, with a straight face, told us, "If it didn't go so well, I was gonna say I was only 16 and you guys brought me out here."

None of us laughed. We just stared at her, straight faced.

"I'm kidding!" She said with a giggle.

The pretty girl at the top, posing with the blue chiffon at El Mirage, is 21-year-old Dalia Love. Image by RickH of Simi Studio. Rick snapped this pic, just before law enforcement arrived, with his Canon 40D, Tamron 24-75 AF, ISO 100, f/8 @ 125th, in the waning light of the late afternoon sun. I did the post-processing on it.


MonkeyMetal said...

That's a great story and you tell it so well.

Lou said...

That... Is pure epic win. :D

Jeff Sipper said...

Photographers can lie better than anyone I've ever met?! Ya know how many times I've been almost busted for not having a permit?

Someone once told me... as you are playing dumb... keep your finger on the shutter button, and keep going... if they do bust ya, at least you ahve a chance of getting the shot you need!

Nice work... El Mirage is a killer place to shoot!

Anonymous said...

Sweet baby Jebus diapers!!! that was really a close one Jimmy! you managed quite well the thing about the club!!!

If Michael Bay was directing this commercial for Victoria Secrets all I can think is a squadron F-18 roaring in the sky dropping missiles to the ground on the lake bed and in the center of the scene a rock concert stage with lots of colored moving lighting and with VS´models :P hahaha :)

I´m glad everything went well!, I really hope the people that are ill recover soon!

My best wishes Jimmy!

Ed Araquel said...

Anytime someone mentions Michael Bay and commercials, I always thing of this one from a while ago...



Ed Araquel said...

Oh, and if his new VS commercial is anything like his last one, I'm sure it will be awesome! :)

Stephen Cupp said...

Since you knew you needed a permit was there a reason for not getting one?

MacGyver said...

Sorry, dumb question:

Where can you find that blue chiffon material? I've always wanted to do that type of shot with the model holding that material in the wind, but haven't found the right material yet. I've checked clothing stores, fabric stores, etc. The closest I've found so far is sarongs, but the only sarongs I've found have patterns on them.

jimmyd said...

@Stephen Cupp,


@ MacGuyver,

I'll ask Rick about the fabric. He had it with him.

Ariston Collander said...

Freakin awesome Jimmy! I am totally looking forward to the DVD. You've got to put together some sort of outtake reel or something that would include these stories. :)

Anonymous said...

@MacGyver: you can find it in Amazon, search for "Chiffon fabric" and you should find it, also stores that sell fabrics to people who do dresses and stuff should have it too!



MacGyver said...