Thursday, June 26, 2008

Keeping All The Balls In The Air: Part Two

"I saw her butt."

"Sir, all of the models are wearing swimsuits."

"I saw her butt!"

Lucky you...

We had several visitors that day. At one point in the early afternoon I ran upstairs to the main prep area and it was filled with 6 models, 3 stylists, 1 coordinator, a producer/director friend and his pomeranian, a production assistant, 2 or 3 representatives of the film company, a producer of the film who had not been part of the production for quite some time but now seemed to be available to visit our photo shoot, and a pizza boy. I'm sure I'm leaving someone out. It was a scene straight out of central casting. If I had put this in a film people would be rolling their eyes ("Gee, look, a pizza original").

As I walked into all this activity, Johnny, our assistant, looked at me and said "you look SO stressed."

"I'm just focused" I lied. The early, unexpected rush had me scrambling to keep up at first. And the roster I was given was a little misleading. We ended up having not 7 to 10, but thirteen models that day. There was A LOT to take care of in a short time. But, as soon as Johnny said that to me I took a deep breath and relaxed. It really was time to focus. A stressed out producer does no one any good.

"Brett, there's a neighbor at the door" said Ali.

"What does he want?" I asked but I was already at the door. I was greeted by a skinny, nervous man who was sweating as much from stress as from the summer heat.

"Any other day, I'd be fine with this, I really would" he began.

"What's wrong?"

"Really, any other day this would be fine, but..."

The house we were shooting in was in the West Hollywood hills, perched on the side of a canyon. During the afternoon, we did indeed see people out on their decks or walking through their yards. And, yes, we saw a party in progress on a patio across the way. We all laughed at this for a moment -- "they're getting a nice little show" -- then thought nothing of it. The women were all wearing swimsuits, and occasionally were asked to take off their tops. The nature of Maxim, though, is a general circulation publication. Though topless, the women had had to cover their bits. To help this we had generously styled them with beaded jewelry, necklaces and such.

"I'm hosting a fundraiser at my house, just across the canyon. I've got a house full of priests and nuns. And there are nude women out here. I saw her butt."

"Sir, all of the models are wearing swimsuits."

"I saw her butt!"

"I assure you there is no full nudity in our shoot. All the models have bikini bottoms on. Besides, we're done with all the exterior shoots."

"Like I said, any other day this would be fine..."

We went around and around with this for a minute. I was being as polite as possible but he was not comforted. He insisted that his guests, the whole bunch of priests and nuns, had seen a fully naked bottom (gasp) writhing around on the terrace garden. I didn't blame the guy. I was doing my job running a shoot, he was doing his protecting his guests.

He went away unsatisfied with my response. Inside the house we all had a good laugh about the situation. I don't think they did in his house. After he left we looked across the canyon. On his patio where there once were party-goers mingling and sitting about in chairs there was now a line of broad shouldered men, their backs to the canyon shielding the view from the party-goers inside.

His guests did indeed see a butt writhing around on the terrace garden, though not fully naked. They had witnessed the voluptuous bottom of Ms. Darryl Hanah, an adult film actress (two Rs, one N), who, when in front of the camera became so charged with fuck-me-now sexuality that I'm certain more sensitive observer could not imagine she was not wearing clothes, much like our first model, Rebeca. I was a little surprised by the intensity of her look too. Ms. Hanah had such a laid back quality when she arrived. She was so easy-going and warm as she waited patiently for her slot, only to become filled with a hard, ravenous eroticism on the set. That's what she's paid for, and she knows her job. Her husband Jack -- also an adult film actor -- was there with her, and they settled in easily for several hours. When Darryl was finished the two hung around for awhile, at one point smoking a joint and watching the party of priests and nuns out on the deck.

"The Girls of National Lampoon's Homo Erectus" included straight actresses and adult film actresses. A few of them were in the initial shoot of the film and a few were only from the additional nude scenes. From the "straight" world were the 3 beautiful Zima sisters, Jilina Scott, a woman whose recent credits include a spot in the reality show "The Search for the Next Elvira", and a couple of other up-and-comers. From the adult side were Rebeca, Marie Luv, Faye and, as I mentioned, Darryl Hanah. There was also the lovely Andrea Lowell, a 2006 Playboy Playmate.

All of the models -- the novices and the professionals -- did impressive work. Many of the adult actresses brought their A game and looked like high fashion models. (As one person said to me "they're so happy that someone is asking them to put clothes ON that they eat it up.") And the straight actresses, though most were hesitant, had a great time exploring their sexy sides and became very playful and sensual. I'm very proud to say that we had more good photos than bad (kudos Wlater). It was all really a success in my book. Let's see what Maxim thinks.

It was a loooong day. We had to get the photos to Maxim on Friday so Walter, the director, Ali and I did an initial review of all 2100+ photos before heading home at about 1:30am. It took much of the next day to complete a second review and get all the submission info together. We weren't able to get the photos off until Saturday, but it all worked out well and I was just told that Maxim is very pleased with their initial review.

So much of my work is tangible: drawing, painting, etc. I've worked often as an art director and spent half my life as a designer, where my ideas are produced by others. Even then the final product is a tangible, tactile reproduction of my drawings and concepts. I've brought them to life on paper first. But a project like this is different. I have to provide ideas only, suggestions, thoughts, and then completely rely on others to produce the real work. It's an interesting change of pace. At least I'm confident in my eye, and I really thrive in collaborative environments, so when the opportunity comes to stretch the limits of my blah, blah, blah... Oh, and I really enjoy accessorizing half-naked women.


Keep your eyes open for the feature on "The Girls of National Lampoon's Homo Erectus". Then you too will be able to say "I saw her butt!"

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