Daily Diary of a Shoot. Day 1 Complete.

My alarm goes off. It’s 3:45 this morning. I snooze till 3:56. Now I’m up, but barely. No shower. Pull on dirty bluejeans. Tshirt. Brush teeth. Some quick math tells me that I’d just enjoyed a luxurious 3 hour and 15 minute night of sleep. Moving. Slowly. And then I remember more clearly. Ah yes..heading out of town again. Excited–but remembered that the cab to the airport is due here in 20 minutes. Finish packing in a hurry. Mental checklist. Breakfast? No time. Auto pilot. I’ve been here a hundred times before. Text message to my phone – cab out front. A first time treat – cab driver and Scott have fresh coffee on hand. It’s 4:14 am and we speed off into the darkness for a 5-something-a.m.-whatever wheels up departure. Again.

You might not be able to tell from the above paragraph, but that was this morning. I’m having that itch again to share the day-by-day guts of another commercial ad campaign with you as best I can with a few words each night. What we’re doing, thinking, feeling. And why. Yours truly, a cast, and a crew during a week-long campaign shoot. I’ve shared BTS stuff from campaigns before (ala the Sandisk shoot in 2009 and the work with Panerai and Mike Horn was great fun too). I’ll be doing that again as best I can this week, but on this trip I’m making an attempt to show more of the underbelly. What goes on. More of the nuts and the bolts. The real decisions, the snafus, the solutions. Take some of the glam out of the hard work we do. In short, report from the trenches.

I’ll do my best to write ‘dear diary…’ every night for 8 days straight, but if all I can muster one night is a sentence and a picture, bear with me. Let’s call it what it is. It’s another experiment. Could work out, could flop. Either way, aiming to share some stuff and have some fun along the way. So let’s get on with it…and back to that cab ride….[the rest of ‘today’, plus some photos to prove it after the jump]

Telluride 1.1

5am at the airport. Ouch.

…It drops Scott and me at the United curb at SEA where we rendezvous with Erik. We catch our 5:45am flight. Our mission? Our mission is to dial in next year’s winter campaign for Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI.com). Amazing company. The workload is not light. We’re joining a substantial cast and crew — I’m guessing 25-30 extremely talented people — in stunningly beautiful Telluride, Colorado, to create advertising stills and video. Good times.

A few things that have already happened to get us to this early morning, where we currently find ourselves boarding an aircraft.

_Contracts + down payments. All dialed.
_Lots of creative meetings – several on phone, a few in person. Tons of work here. Lots of smart people.
_Gear. All our gear…camera gear and winter/mountain gear has been shipped ahead to our destination.
_Casting. We’ve selected all the traveling talent already. REAL athlete. Purely authentic. All of whom I’ve worked with before and I’m stoked on the selections we were able to make.
_Pre-scouting. Location scouts have done good work. We’ve shot in Telluride a lot before, but we’ve narrowed down our possible locations thanks to great work from a production crew already in place in Telluride.
_Other misc pre-production… (crew selection, travel arrangements, etc) Let’s just say that shoots like this one take months to ramp up…you get the point. But we’re here now and it’s go time.

After transfer from our 757 in Denver, we board a jet that bends me in half just to get in the front door of the thing. In no time, we’re in Montrose, CO. It was half the price of flying into Telluride, so we’re all flying in here, renting cars, and driving to our final destination. It’s still early when we pickup our rental rig and 90 minutes later, a round of Guns & Roses and The Dandy Warhols in our ears, we arrive in Telluride. Oh epic Telluride. If you’ve not been here yet – do yourself the treat and make it here one day. Jaw dropping beauty. A local scene all its own. Great people and great weather. And important note: the town & mountain are really production friendly. A world-class outfit.

Telluride 1.6

Heading to Telluride

As today is a “travel day”, a portion of our work is already done… We’re here. But we haven’t eaten a thing so as we pull into town, we go straight to our favorite Mexican restaurant, order up a late lunch. Two hours later, we’ve checked into the hotel, wrangled our gear shipment (arrived late but without consequence), unpacked, and had a nap. I take a quick spin to the local gym and grab a shower, then back to the massive gear detail. One by one, all of us crew members emerge from our hotel rooms and reconnect. It’s like a family. Our local production staff here is seriously top notch.

Telluride 1.9

Bella, the Bulldog at Rico's Bar

We meet up at Rico’s, the hotel bar, and the 5 of us head out to dinner. Comfort grub at Honga’s – our favorite Asian fusion place in town, just blocks from the hotel. So good. A phone call from the Executive Producer tells us that the rest of the crew’s plane is delayed. We were hoping to catch them at dinner, but they won’t be in till 10, so we’ll have to see them tomorrow perhaps tomorrow. She also tells us a call time for tomorrow scouting mission: a gracious 9:30 at the base of the gondola – fed and watered, ready to go.

Telluride 1.10

This should help me sleep.

A few too many times we’ve heard that generous call time for the following day and have used it as a catalyst to ignite the nightlife a little. Not tonight. Fully bellies, a couple cocktails, a long and important week ahead of us, plus having gotten up at 3 whatever oclock. We are all whupped and focused. Back to the hotel. Unload some more gear. Write this blog post and hit the hay. Catch you tomorrow after scouting.

Holler with any feedback or questions throughout the week. More to come.

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Lou says:

3:45 is pretty typical for me. I wish it wasn’t though. Most days I get about an average of 4 hours of sleep. But the difference is, I don’t enjoy my job. Being busy like that sucks sometimes but in the end when you’ve accomplished your goal, you have a sense of pride about what you’ve done. One day I hope to be in that position. This is the first time I’ve had the time to read the journal. Great stuff and as always, the imagery is great.

Danie Nel says:

Keep bringing it on. Great journaling.

Thatcher says:

Yes! I love these post. Scandisk was in 2009?! time is flying by.

Paula says:

WOW. I am impressed and thank you for doing this. I enjoy the whole process.

Beckie says:

Really looking forward to following your week while I sit here watching the rain. Hopefully all our posts will keep you motivated to blog for us even if it’s just a one liner on the most difficult days. This is better than any reality TV show :o) Love the photo of Bella the dog!

SarahC says:

Really enjoyed the post and looking forward to the rest of it. I like hearing the behind the scenes stuff.

Nice work. Haha. I’ve been doing this dear diary photo posts for a while, but you just seem to excel in whatever you do! Keep it up.

Danny B. says:

Chase,

This is great…keep ‘em comin!

Will says:

Bro, this is gonna be my reality show for this week. Good stuff Chase.

Nate says:

Gettin’ stoked! Want to read the rest of this mission.

It must feel really good having to get up at three something in the morning for such an important shoot. Knowing me, I would probably wouldn’t be able to sleep at all of anxiety and excitement. I hope to one day having to get up at three and/or not having to sleep at all due to an engagement like this.
I can honestly say that I truly love living vicariously though you all this experience.
Thank you for sharing and keeping my motivation going strong!
Have a blast and a Great week! …but for now, sleep tight.

Stan says:

Matt Timmons you are so right. I knew very little of the business side (went to school for graphic design, loved photography as a hobby) until recently, and these posts are very helpful.

Keep them coming when you have the time

Jake~ says:

Sweet Chase – So glad you are doing this! Many thanks!

I’m down with Trevor. Whats a good way to move your gear? Fed ex pelican cases?

great to see your finally up in my neck of the woods. cant get much better than Mojitos and snow caped mountains. i just finished some shooting up in Winter Park for the Wells Fargo Cup for disabled skiers. i hope you enjoy your short stay in Colorado. im looking forward to being up in Seattle over the summer. i would love to hopefully meet you, ill be up looking at art schools.
-Cheers
Stefan Gonzales
http://www.flickr.com/photos/voxphotography/5536087877/
(From the cup)

Tom Runge says:

Chase – great read. I spent my former life as a fighter pilot and know all about early get-ups with an immediate adrenalin flow.

Please keep this up!

Rabi says:

If the rest of the diary is like this, I’m very excited. Good read so far. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

Chris says:

Interesting read. I dig your writing style. Will be following along, keep it up Chase!

David says:

Awesome man, love the fact your posting these.

Sarah says:

LOVING this. I hope you’ll keep posting these…it’s so insightful!

Amber says:

I love reading these posts! Thanks for sharing and good luck with the campaign!

Trevor Meier says:

Great stuff!

What method do you use to ship your gear ahead of time? Do you find it less hassle/expense than bringing with you on the plane?

fas says:

That is a very hectic day. I never knew you got to be up so early morning for shoots.

Dave says:

Sooo…What time did Scott get up? :)

Clifton says:

I need to gather a crew together so one day I can take part in the awesomeness!!!

Sean Willis says:

Can’t tell you how great it is that you’re writing this for all of us. Glad you are not afraid to give us a day by day on your campaign. This is awesome Chase….I’m a fan forever.

sara jaye weiss says:

I enthusiastically second that!

Scott Nickell says:

Thanks Chase. Looking forward to reading more each day.

Lee Love Photography says:

FINALLY some who has the nerve to share what our business is really all about. Anyone who makes a living as a photographer knows that we spend 80% doing sales, marketing and preparation and 20% shooting. Yet all we hear about is gear, gear and more gear.

Chase, other than Lou Lesko’s book on the understanding advertising industry, no one except you is sharing what it takes to be a working professional advertising photographer.

Thanks !

nate geslin says:

cant wait to read of your adventures the next week!

jetgreen1 says:

Nice effort with a full docket ahead of you. Fun to read.

Bringing a video cam to document your shoot and your thoughts would be great too. I love this documentary style writing. Keep it coming! :)

Really enjoying reading this. I hope you have the energy to keep posting in detail like this throughout the campaign.

Thanks for putting in the effort.

Kip Beelman says:

I <3 Connie B. Can't wait to get her perspective on all this down the line.

KFinn says:

this makes me excited!! I love the excitement of a new project and the energy from a creative group! look forward to reading about everyone’s week! thanks for sharing!

Thanks soo much for this. I will be looking forward to more posts…and Chase, you write great. I’m jealous!!!

MrL says:

This is like the Super Bowl of photography! Do not dare to delay it any day! :)

Dendy P. says:

awesome point of view. I must say, I’m appreciate your effort here very much chase. and you’re right, it could be work out, or it could be a flop thing, but the most important part is, you have tried to go to that point of view. that little step itself already inspired many people, including me. thank you chase, can’t wait to the next day. keep on the creative works guys :D

~ Dendy ~

Patricia says:

(sigh) Just makes me jealous is all. I want to be back in this game so much. (film production) Not for the “glamour”…. but for the work, and the people.
Thanks for the posts. Keep ‘em coming.
(I love Telluride. Lived not far from there in the 70’s, before it went Hollywood.)
Hope you caught the full moon last night?

Allen says:

This is great. I’d love to see some ijustine style video as your running around in airports and cabs. Just toss up the iphone and narrate. Probably easier than sitting down to write.

Very interesting and illuminating reading! Looking forward to the next instalment. And I thought I felt tired after travelling for four hours yesterday for a shoot!

Thanks for taking the time! Always a joy to read these, ‘a life in a day’ sort of things. Makes me feel like I’m not trying hard enough!

Daan says:

You should undoubtedly continue posting the coming days. I can only imagine how hard it must be to find the energy to sit down after every long day’s work for eight days straight, and take 30 minutes or so to write down today’s events, but it’s definitely worth it.

Thanks for doing this, it’s unique!

Scott gardiner says:

Loved it. Keep the posts coming.

Tor Ivan says:

Great read!

David yanez says:

Great stuff Chase, brilliant to follow a blow by blow account of your experiences on this project, keep up the great work

Vellu says:

I’m already anticipating the photo shoot days’ posts! Keep the good stuff coming, so stoked about the fact that I can follow BTS from the other side of the globe!

-Vellu

PS. How can you manage hitting the gym with a schedule like yours? Or is it more like a source of energy for you? :)

Simon H says:

This is brilliant….how about a documentary and film the whole thing? That would be sooooo cool!!!!

Baxter Mante says:

Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write these types of posts. They enable me to vicariously live the exciting life of a professional photographer (as I sit here in a hosptial emergency department at 2:34AM during my internship). Thanks again!

Matt Timmons says:

A round of Mojitos it looks like- mmmmm Mojitos. Chase, as commercial fashion photography being my sole income, I love posts like this. There are so many blogs out there revealing every creative aspect of photography, but no one wants to talk about how to make a living at it. If we are to see a progression in creativity and an overall elevation of talent, then there needs to be some information on how to turn a dime at it. Otherwise all these creative people can go back to their cubicle jobs and art in business can stagnate. I loved Kate’s post about permits, and Scotts posts about scouting. Please throw in bits of info such as how things like weather delays affect a shoot from a billing standpoint, or who pays for what expenses during a location shoot. Line items, per diems, usage fee calculations, etc. I can only guess that your company was picking up the air travel since you mentioned needing to save money by booking a cheaper route. Just in general, please help us all out by throwing in a few bones about how the business side works. Of course we don’t expect you to reveal any confidential figures, but just some situations and business protocols would be great. Thanks for all the introspective assistance- it IS actually helping to keep small businesses like mine running, and therefore creating. Cheers mate,
Matt

Hi, I’ve heard of that kind of life before, sometimes it exciting and then sometimes it’s not either way with enthusiasm and a love of the art it’s always fulfilling. Keep up the great work

Dan says:

Travel days sound awesome. Food, beer and naps.

Carlos Alexandre says:

The best part of that crazy day is the CAIPIRINHA drink ^^

I love reading about the true effort and emotions which go into a major shoot. Please do continue to post these updates, it’s a great read.

Carlo says:

Love these posts, Chase. Knock ‘em dead. Looking forward to reading more.

Ray Spaddy says:

3:45 in the morning. Wow. Considering you posted this sometime within the last hour, I’m assuming you don’t get much sleep on days like this.

Greg L says:

Thx for the glimpse behind the proverbial curtain! Best of luck on the campaign and looking forward to the forthcoming posts.

Christian (australia) says:

Please keep posting the link on your facebook for these. Very keen to read the rest. =]

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