The Tragic Comedy of Fame

Producer Lara Heintz tapped me to shoot two episodes of the ongoing Vice Digital series Fameish which examines people, mostly in LA (coincidentally?) who are on hopeful grinds that lead them to some strange kind of fame.  While they're not exactly household names, you probably have come across them somewhere in the depths of the internet or late night 24-hour news channels.  Hence Fame-ish.

Personally, my ideal life is living off-grid and having enough time to slow-smoke large pieces of brisket on a weekday so I'm not going to comment directly on my own thoughts about the struggle to find fame and fortune.  Thematically, what that thirst for love and recognition suggested to me is that we treat these folks like icons - lots of commercial, slick photography, camera moves, slow motion, bright sunlight - essentially the most Hollywood, LA look we could create in the day or two we had to shoot each profile.

The crux of this type of camera movement was based on the C100mk2/MoVi combo that I've written about in a prior post.  This time, however, I wanted to explore the use of L Series Canon primes at their maximum aperture of 1.2 or 1.4 - giving a hazy image with lots of aberration.  Doing a quick DoF calculation right now...on the 50mm that would be 1.68 inches at 5' distance.  Not a whole lot.  The reason for overcranking was the autofocus was often searching for something to focus on - giving these dramatic back-and-forth focal racks that, in slow motion, look really cool.

For my A and B cameras we settled on the C300mk2 with a range of zoom and prime lenses and from there I kept the subjects mic'd and looked for opportunities to show their quirks.

I do want to address the call drop in the Sex Tape Broker's video.  As with anything in Hollywood, I'm not totally sure what is real.  The day we showed up and met him, he was very gregarious and seemed to take pleasure in having an insider's knowledge of all sorts of places.  As the day progressed, we kept running into people he knew who would give seemingly prepared statements on how unbelievable and salacious they found his occupation. I lost track of the number of times he said "you can't make this up."  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.  When, in the diner, I noticed that his phone was on the home screen and he was still talking, I didn't zoom in for effect. In truth, I couldn't actually believe it and so I was using the lens to get a closer look.  While the dude isn't someone I would probably be friends with in real life (see above ideal of off-grid bbqing), I never set out to deliberately assassinate his character. I think he does that for himself when he says "these women exploit themselves," and doesn't need my help in doing it at all.

Canon C300mk2, Canon C100mk2, Canon L-Series Primes & Zooms, MoVi Pro