June 1, 2005

Cinderella Packs A Knockout Punch For The Press


Renee, whatever you do...don't look over your shoulder.

Cinderella Man NY Premiere
Sony Lincoln Theater
June 1, 2005
7pm screening

A large group of photographers arrived at the theater after the Beckham event. At 11:30 am there were 25 photographers waiting for a 7pm premiere. The A-list was placed front row before non-A listers, leading to an instant 2nd row.

By the time the list was called (which Paul did a terrible job of) there wasn’t enough space to accommodate the 50+ photographers who were present.

It is now 7 o’clock…and there’s no talent. No Crowe, no Zellweger.

Finally Crowe arrives, pinstripe suit and dark sunglasses, which he doesn’t remove. No photo.

Zellweger arrives. As we clamor for her attention, she comes over to the photo pit and announces to a few photographers, in a quite voice “you don’t need to yell and scream, I’ll pose for you all you want”. This was followed by Renee walking 20 ft. away from the photographers and posing for the next set of press. No photo…HA…HA… jokes on us. Security was now preventing the barricade from crashing to the ground from the massive lean of the press. This caused security, police, PR and non-essential personnel to be on the carpet blocking the press pit. Crowe and Zellweger pose on the rug, but only for one section, not the entire line. No photo. (Hmmmm…seems like there’s a theme going on here).

To say the least, it was a VERY tough shoot. Every photo was a struggle, the carpet was clogged with nobody’s…a lot of time for a little action (aside from the photogs in the pit…plenty action there).

Please share you stories….keep them clean (for the children’s sake).

15 comments:

ZePhotog said...

I just finished the excrutiating and very, very painful exercise of editing my pictures and that got me thinking... well... Maybe I should think about getting some sort of other job...

I thought that if I eventually brought myself on Renee's level, intoxication wise that is, it might make the pain go away and give me a better editing eye...
And well, I must confess that, after the third glass of Jack on the rocks, I somehow began to see some genius in the way I framed some of my pictures... Go figure !!

You'll agree that most of us have been in this business long enough to rightfully claim that we've pretty much seen it all... right ?

Well guess what !! We haven't and that's the great thing about this job : no matter how far down the gutter you think you've been, it can always get worst !!

And it sure did tonight, oh boy, it sure did...

So here it goes, your perfect receipe for a succesful disaster, unfolding live right in front of you, even though you could never quite do anything about it... except witness human stupidity at work...

First, whenever you get to a premiere by 11am and you're number 23 on the list, you ought to know there's something utterly wrong going on !
I should have guessed, right there on the spot, the very minute Paul wrote my name down next to that 23, that I was in for a bad one...

But I just came back from a nice and easy average shoot with David Beckham, the day was sunny and warm, I felt good, I had that stupid idea that it was going to be a good day... yeah, right...
Heeeelllllllluuuuuuuh-uh, get a grip bleephole, you're in Zoo York !!!!

So as usual we wait and wait and wait, and oh well, wait a little more since there's not really anything else to do... Groups are scattered here and there, chatting time away, reading the papers, everyone's bored and it's not a good thing because usually when photographers are bored they either start to over worry about the upcoming event or start to bitch about one another... or both... that's when we started couting the Globe photographers...

The A-Listers started showing up around 4pm for a 6pm arrival, here's another clue we should have picked up, had we all known that old and wise saying :

A-Listers show up early
B-Listers go home angry

That's when everybody began to realize that it was going to be a bad one, a real bad one, a bad one for the ages, a bad one to write down in New York's Paparazzi history books... you know...

And that's pretty much when the real fun began, oh yeah baby, by that time the red carpet area was unfolded in front of our doubtful eyes, sporting a never-had-that-one-before look that got everyone worried...

Even more so when the bleep (I was going to use the word publicists there, but as Big E has requested that we try and keep the vulgarity level down...) started to mark the TV spots down, eating up 2/3 of the line...
But not quite as much as when the last 1/3 was occupied by the A-List...
Leaving the B-List photogs with, well... hum, how to put it politely... not a single bleep-ing inch to work with !!!!

Easy now boy, easy, I can feel the tension growing heavier as the re-enactement of that cursed night unfolds again, so I take a little pause here to reflect on another related issue :

There are, in New York two kinds of security agencies :
-The ones that are at least trying to help us out just a little bit by pleading our cause towards the publicists (ooops sorry, my bad)... Let's call them the C's...
and
- The ones that have their tongues so far up their client's bleep that they can't even talk to plead our cause anymore !!!!! Let's call them the M's...

Just wanted to get that out of the way while we're at it ;-)

Back to business now, well, if that's what you call it these days, as for me, I'm not really sure what to call it anymore...
Might have to make up a new word for it like cluzoosterfuck, or wasteoftime, or gonefishing, or something...

So here we are, about 55 of us, with nowhere to stand but the sidewalk, sidewalk that's been absolutely blocked for the past half hour now, providing these oh so delightfully polite Upper West Side moms from rolling the result of their breeding efforts by us without having to put them in harm's way, like... say... get off the sidewalk and go onto the street, where cabs could eventually, if properly aimed, snap the strollers right out of their hands and take the baby for a ride on the wild side...

You'd think in a moment of crisis like that we'd stick together and try to work something out, like for example have one of us go see the publicists (ooops I did it again) or the security and try to get us something, anything, right ?

"Nope, no bleep-ing way, bleep this, not my bleep-ing problem, here, watch me, I'm taking a second row behind the A-List, right here, right now, right in front of your sorry bleep !! What ? You're ahead of me on the list ? Uh ?"

Then, for a little while I sort of lost track of what happened, a black hole of some sort I guess, maybe an anger attack, dunno...
I just remember security having fun moving barricades around, not enough of them, definitely not enough...
I vaguely remember spotting fans in between the I-bleep-the-list photographers behind the A-List...

Next thing I know 4 barricades appeared on the left and a mob of angry photogs are marching toward it while the list holder is actually holding on to the second barricade as if his very life depended on it, absolutely imprevious to our fate...
Hey can't blame him, he held the list all day long, you wouldn't want him to take charge of anything on top of that and try and help us out now would you ?

Photogs are screaming that the second row on the other side should be emptied out so we can call the list, no one really wants to take the risk right now, so a good 30 of us just mentally bend over to properly thank the other 20 for their remarkable altruism and unflinching fairness...
We have the names, it'll come back some day, somehow, don't worry...

Then the list holder starts whispering the list to try and fit 30 photogs in a space that, if checked by a fire marshall, would probably allow 10 people...

I finally get in my spot, well a spot anyway... ready to shoot !!
Yeah !! Send'em up, I'm ready !!!

Well send'em up I said I'm ready.... Oh, hey, anybody, heeeelllllllooooooo ????

We finally get to work, hungrily shooting anyone put in front of us, the key grip, the sound editor, a couple of producers, a bunch of uncredited cast members... the director... Anne Hathaway in great fashion, hold on it's coming, I can feel it, it's coming... Now we're finally getting somewhere...

At that point, on my side, a funny thing started to happen, every 2 or 3 minutes, as the talents arrived, the barricade would play a trick on us, it would get up on its little legs and start walking forward on its own...

Ever seen that shit happen before ?
Me either...

But sure enough, even though nobody admitted to leaning whatsoever, that barricade just kept tilting forward, reaching improbable angles...
I think that's when someone next to me said :
"They're leaning down there to get a picture when talents are posing in front of us..."
To what I answered :
"Nope, they're leaning because they don't have a clue what they're doing and still think that the closer they get to their subject the easier it'll be to focus..."


Time for a red carpet sound bite :
- Uh, wasn't the screening supposed to be at 7 ?
- Yes...
- And isn't it, uh, 7.20 right now ?
- Yes, but don't worry, you will all get your shots...
- Oh, geez, ok, you had me worried there for a split second...

And here comes Renee, clear the carpet, twirling and spining and sliding on the carpet, out of the way... Renee, Renee, Renee, RENEE, REEEENNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEE, over here, s'cuse us, no over here, publicist (geez I just can't help it, sorry...) out of the way, to your left, clear the carpet, to your right, get the bleep out of the way bleepdamn it, every which way...
It's loud, it's aggressive, it's angry, and boy, it's coming from two sides !!!!

The barricade in front of us is going berzerk, stretching so far out that it has to be a male barricade, Christian Slater DNA'd, trying to get some, can't possibly be anything else !!

So security gets in there to stop the bleep-er and protect Renee from its unwanted fondling... well eventually doing so they sort of get in the way, but the mayhem at that point is so utterly complete that nobody really cares...

Meanwhile, Renee is twirling from side to side, stopping to tell a bunch of us (from close enough range for us to notice her 21-and-older-only breath) that we need not screaming, she will pose for all of us...
Well, she sure did for a lucky few, but certainly not for all of us, no Ma'am you didn't and that southern missing husband of yours ain't gonna say no different ya'll...
You just didn't keep your word Renee, you didn't pose for all of us... but then again, what's a drunk's word worth...

That's the moment Russell picked to make his grand entrance, camouflaged behind pitch black sunglasses that even a complete set of several 2400 studio flashes wouldn't even scare...

I think that's when I had an epiphany...
I was seeing double for some strange reason...
In the foreground, Renee twirling in her black and white dress and Russell with his flashproof sunglasses... and hazy but there, in the background, Renee in a gorgeous red gown posing perfectly and Russell posing with his wife and smiling without sunglasses...
Yet when I looked at my screen on the camera I couldn't see that double exposure...
So I slapped myself a couple of times and that's when the epiphany happened...
I realized in an agonizing moment of truth, that I was actually double exposing my own pictures with the ones I had seen a few days before, on my website... from the LA premiere !!!!

Well, dear reader, I can see your tired yet blood injected eyes staring at the screen while your mouth is curling up in an angry snarl, your breathing is getting heavier by the minute and I don't quite like that monopod clenched in your tight fist so I guess it's about time I stop torturing you, you were there tonight too after all and it seems you may not be able to handle going throught that nightmare all over again...

So let's call it a night and I'll probably see you tomorrow for new and exciting adventures...

Anonymous said...

this premiere SUCKED
as bad as Longest yard, if that's possible
CRAP

Anonymous said...

Guys we are not playing musical chairs here - don't press the panic button and grab a spot before the list is called. Lets have some respect for those who waited.

Kid Flash said...

The title to this is: Renee proves once a Hillbilly always a Hillbilly!

As soon as I heard a report that the list was like 65 shooters by 4PM or so I was like screw this man I aint going to this. It sounded like mass chaos and crazy enough after reading all the comments I guess I was right! so I'm like the hotel seems like a good place to start and then the after-party.

Let me tell you that was no treat.. she walks out with the head down @ the hotel! what the hell! Then she is giggling inside the car (and my my ..what now? -is this to be seen!!) Is she now with a champagne glass in hand drinking what I highly doubt is clear "sparkling cider"?!

Damn!

Aren't we the life of a party Renee?! Who would have thought? Ya know!

Damn!

Next move... is to try to get her arriving at the premiere afterparty. Easier said then done my friend!

Here it looks better:
* A few photographers behind a barricade which is not too bad.

So...Russel walks from the theatre to the party - what the hell! breezes past us as we are invisible * NO PR IN SIGHT! so that wasn't quite the photo op I intended for... mind you no-one is really stopping these people! it's once again we don't give a $hit about these guys if they get a pic they get it who cares! Nice way to maybe create some pictures and help out your client?

Wasn't this supposed to be a benefit screening? or.. Maybe just a fancy way of writing this off for taxes don't ya think? I mean that's what it smelled like to me.

Next Mr. Personality Topher Grace (that 70's show) breezes by us again as we are invisible... Anne Hathaway stops nice and brief but at least stops so that ain't too bad... OK time to wake up the big cheese has arrived! Yay! Ms. Renee Zellweger! OK so what are we gonna get now? Real nice clean pictures for those magazines out there to use and we can get your event nice PR. Well of course I mean hey what are we here for right? That seems to be the joke of the night my dear friends.. HAHA!.. Ms. Renee Chesney (formerly Zellweger) sandwichs herself between security, friends, family like all 20 people in her car and breezes past us not stopping - nice work! ..Gonna try to get a pic on the way out? NO why the hell would it happen now? of course not! She sneaks out (or by this time a very intoxicated drunken Renee maybe even just stumbled or carried out!) via a back exit/garage. .. so now on to her hotel you would think?... *uck that man! time to call it a night! and to think I took a nap earlier to get energy for this? What the hell!

I guess maybe her marriage life ain't all that stellar or you just can't take the hillbilly out of her for all the $$ in the world!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
" Guys we are not playing musical chairs here - don't press the panic button and grab a spot before the list is called. Lets have some respect for those who waited. "
3:07 AM

HAHA that's funny. It always seems that people jump lines. cut in, sneak in. The ones who play by the book get screwed EVERYTIME. At least this was one premiere where people could not run the line

Lotsa Paparrazza said...

I'm new here...my first post...using my "BondGirl" name.

I just thank God that this is not my main source of income...and that Haagen Daz(sp?) was right around the block! I knew it was going to be bad, so I prepared myself by eating a scoop of ice cream.

The fans allowed to stand behind us and sticking their teeny tiny cameras and camera-equipped cell phones up our butts and in our ears was a special treat!

Peace.

ZePhotog said...

""HAHA that's funny. It always seems that people jump lines. cut in, sneak in. The ones who play by the book get screwed EVERYTIME.""

Can't quite catch the funny part here...

The way I look at it we're all on the same boat here, let's not forget that, right ?

And we have enough problems dealing with security, PR, fans, unhelpful celebrities, the 2 hours rule, etc, etc, etc... not to burden ourselves with some sort of stupid internal let's-see-if-I-can-steal-your-spot war...

Not to mention that not respecting the list and using a chaotic situation to try and screw half of the people you work with every day doesn't seem to me like a clever way to get along fine with your co-workers...

But then again, maybe anarchy and chaos are the only political systems our job allows, what do I know...

snappygirl said...

anarchy reigns when the "list keeper" is inept and only looks out for himself and the first five shooters. we waited four our names to be called as fans swooped in for front row and second row spots and still no list calling...so the intelligent thing to do is pick a second row spot and if you have to move or your name is called then the muscial ladders begins! also some people were standing in spots because there was no where else to go thanks to the lack of barricades to keep the fans out of our non-existing section.

ladyshutterbug said...

ok.. my first chaotic premiere..it was clearly a fend for yourself situation and a witch-hunt for spots. if most of us were there since noon like i was then we were all entitled to something and there was no need for the hostility i encountered from a problem co-worker who pretends to be a "friend". when we have enough trouble with the publicists, celebrities & fans..do we really have to take it out on each other? in the end we are all going to be able to shoot..after
2 Grogs I still felt upset..but today is a new day ;-)

Anonymous said...

why
do photographers have to steal spots!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
" why
do photographers have to steal spots!!!! "

WHy not ask the ones who do it time and time again???

Anonymous said...

You cannot get through to SONIA M. no matter what language you talk to her in.....she's notorious for trying to be slyer than a fox and weasel her way in to a spot she doesn't belong in.......That's why you can't talk to this one in particular.....as far as a general comment about most of the photograhers, some people have nothing in their lives to do but sit on a sidewalk all day(heat, freezing cold, rain and snow doesn't stop them and never will) and wait for that 30 minute window to work and waste all day for what someimes turns out to be productive work......

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
You cannot get through to SONIA M. no matter what language you talk to her in.....she's notorious for trying to be slyer than a fox and weasel her way in to a spot she doesn't belong in.......That's why you can't talk to this one in particular.....as far as a general comment about most of the photograhers, some people have nothing in their lives to do but sit on a sidewalk all day(heat, freezing cold, rain and snow doesn't stop them and never will) and wait for that 30 minute window to work and waste all day for what someimes turns out to be productive work.....


well that's a pretty rude statement to say"some people have nothing in their lives to do but sit on a sidewalk all day(heat, freezing cold, rain and snow doesn't stop them and never will"
. If we all weren;t so dumb we would band togetehr to come up with some other way to line up , making the day more productive

Anonymous said...

that was my whole point......Most of you are too hard headed and/or too egotistical and/or dumb to sit down and try to figure something out to solve this more and more getting out of control with new shooters who act like they have been around for time.. These newbies who can show up at 11:00 am for a premiere are screwing LEGITIMATE PRESS MEMBERS from getting the job done...When is it gonna stop?....we all know more and more newbies each month appear from nowhere and it is up to us as a group(?) to put an end or else just keep whining...I'm not a whiner so I know my stance...I do something about it if someone tries to get over on me.....I'm not going to name names again but at every event, there are a few names in the first 10-15 on the list that should not even on the list......I'm sick of certain ones who have no better things to do but hurry up and wait for a dumb event to start....Maybe we should start an A-List amongst the B-List photographers if that's possible(probably not though....you get my point)....Yeah ok, so they have press cards, but so do some autograph collectors/fans.....Press cards are meaningless for the most part... meaningless....Get my point!!!..these certain individuals take up space and no publicist is going to change this cause they don't give a rat's ass about us......It's us that have to make a say, but no one will when push comes to shove.Sure people will talk in private about these individuals, but what good does talking do?.for years this has been going on w/ no change and message boards like this to rag on.........you want better pictures at the events we cover?...Speak up and do something about it...or continue the nonsense like at Cinderella Man....it'll only be worse after the summer and the Brits and the French send more illegals here to work for oats in pay.....and also too many stick up for their friends and are afraid to say something if one of their buddies are involved in an issue that happens.....

ZePhotog said...

Band together, stick together, work together, be a group...

Great ideas that remain exactly what they are... great ideas !!

Why ?

Because this job is lonely and selfish and has twisted people's sense of reality so far that most of us would be ready to kill for a picture...

From that point on you will never be able to federate photographers and organize them because out of 10 random photographers you will probably have 7 to 8 different opinions on any given issue...

It's unfortunate but that's the way it is and unless all of us start some major changes on our very approach to that job I do not see any improvement coming any time soon...

We made it as far as the list and the 2 hours rule... Is that all we can do ?

In Los Angeles, most of the time, photographers do not have to do any list, publicists take care of that because it is part of their job...

Comes 5pm the photographers arrive, the publicist calls THE (their) list and that's the end of it...

Every major outlet/agency/magazine usually has a front row spot and if there's a second photographer from the same outlet/agency/magazine, he'll have a second row spot...

In order to be credentialed you have to RSVP to the PR and be able to justify towards them that your are a bona fide organization having pictures published and hence entitled to cover the event...

Now, if hte photographers have to do a list, they show up at any hour of the night they want and by 10am everybody goes their separate way untill the press call time for the event...
If you arrive after 10am, you start a second list that will be added at the end of the first one, come line up time...
That way you can go and shoot 10 other jobs / stay home and relax all day long without having to worry about your spot...

Pretty f$%#*& clever uh ?

Why don't we start that here ? You tell me...

All it would take is a petition from all the photographers to all the major Hollywood studios and PR firms requesting that they handle the photographer's list in NY the way they do it in LA...

In doing so we kill two birds with one stone, we allow ourselves to get our days back AND we get rid of the non published/nothing to do here press pit crashers...

sounds fairly simple when you put it that way now doesn't it ?