First, I learned to always read the script, or at the very least, find out what the shoot is going to be. I was stuck photographing garbage ALL DAY! In retrospect, I should've just left. But I try not to burn bridges and I had committed to be there and didn't want to leave them in the lurch. Either way, there wasn't a good solution.
Secondly, I met Anthony Deptula and Stephen Hale. They were a couple of the actors in the skits, that I'm guessing got roped in like I did. Anthony and I hit it off. He's from Ohio, I had just moved out from Ohio not too long ago. We chatted throughout the day, between takes and when he wasn't shooting. We exchanged numbers and have become friends over the years.
I finished up with the pilot and was glad to get out of there. I guess there are times when it's good to just say no.
Not long after this, I reconnected with Anthony. He was working on a film short called La Dentista and they needed some Mariachis. I had just booked the Mariachi Divas for a shopping center event I put together at my job at the ad agency. So since I had gotten them a paid gig, I called up Cindy Shea and asked if they'd be interested in doing this little movie. They agreed, Anthony got his Mariachis and I got a co-producer credit for helping out. I also shot some behind-the-scenes stuff at the shoot. It was fun to be on a set again.
So now I had a couple of shorts under my belt along with some good celebrity content. Over the next couple of years I did various projects...
I produced my first music video for Larry Bagby, who played Marshall Grant in Walk the Line. We shot this in one very long day, but this introduced me to my dear friend, Brad Johnson who directed this video. I did some camera work, but mostly produced and then edited it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YUQO5uoqhU
I shot a party for Lacoste that had some great celebrities there including Teri Hatcher and Nicolette Sheridan who were at the peak of Desperate Housewives. I ended up winning a Telly for this one. The top-tiered one at that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhAbIRJBFVU
I started doing fashion shows for Gen Art. And a lot of them:
Still one of my favorite edits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR_5fAnYyxs
One I shot for mark cosmetics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-O5vEE7AEY
A mix of film, fashion, music and art: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFVX3ui2bI8
Another fave: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXIphaGUNfA
And I kept doing the Costume Designers Guild Awards:
9th: Stripped of audio - thanks a lot stupid YouTube!
And I started doing videos for shopping centers. This became a great revenue source. I shot their events, I even started doing some commercials for their events that nabbed a couple of awards:
And this was good for a couple of years. The business was growing steadily each year. Corporate was paying decently. Hollywood paid poorly, but gave me the credibility I needed. To be able to walk into a shoot and tell someone in the corporate world, "I last used this mic on Sandra Bullock" for whatever reason does wonders, lightens the mood, and helped me get booked for the next gig. And it was never a lie. I was constantly able to talk about the different celebs I'd mic'd.
But it came at a price...or rather, no price. For example, I shot a party for Ludacris--the launch of his Release Therapy, who had "no budget". So I had to shoot it for free. It's sort of the attitude, if you don't want to shoot this for free, I'll find someone else who'd love to be at my party and shoot it at no charge. And so free it is...or was.