kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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Top Sekrit No Longer: A more concise writeup than this bit of awesome deserves

Cat's out of the bag on this one. I'm photographing Joan Dark's upcoming book Geek Knits -- it's knitting patterns for geeks modeled by celebrity geeks so we're traipsing across the country spending time with scientists, writers, actors and various whatnots. The second stop was Los Angeles for a week.


My flight was early, early ... so early that I landed in Los Angles at nine in the morning. You do the math. Met up with Joan of Dark, Dill Hero & their assistant Kerrie at the airport and hit the ground running, right into a photo shoot with the always spectacular Leah Cevoli from Robot Chicken and then Miracle Laurie from Joss Wheadon's "Dollhouse". Somewhere out in the Hollywood hills where a famous skateboarder lived next door with a giant skate park in their back yard. We did Miracle in two outfits, an arm shrug and a sweater and Leah in two outfits, a wrap and a scarf -- I'm not sure if they'll both be in the book or if that was just to give us some coverage. Joan blogged about the shoot for Tor here.

I can't show you any of the outfits, but I can post some of the lighting tests.

Lighting tests! Whee! Clickenzee to Embiggen!

Dill and I set up lights for each of the shoots and then sat around drinking beer. (It's a tough life.) Somehow Joan had convinced Oaken Barrel brewery to sponsor her book, so they shipped a case to every shoot. I wasn't going to complain. Somewhere it wasn't eleven in the morning.

Most of the day was taken up by hair & makeup so I was largely sitting around doing nothing. My shoots are typically really fast and this was even faster because I had so much time to prepare while everybody was getting ready. In-front-of-camera time for each of the shots was probably ten minutes. We also spent a lot of time playing fetch with a border collie who pretty much demanded any not pressing-the-shutter-button time and who never settled for just catching one thing a time -- he wanted you to throw two balls & he'd catch them both.

I discuss important shiznit with Joan Dark while
Miracle Laurie gets her makeup done and Dill points at me.
(For some reason.) Photo by Leah Cevoli.
CLickenzee to Embiggen!

The photos came out great and I can't wait for you to see them. I'm always a bit anxious at the start of something like this so it was a huge relief to get some good photos done right out of the chute which let me relax a bit. When you're the one behind the camera, you're the one everybody's looking at and you're on the hot seat to produce. All those eyeballs always gives me stage fright until I've been able to produce something worthwhile.

The crew! Clickenzee to Embiggen!

After the shoot we met up with John and Sandy Carpenter who bought us dinner (guys! you didn't have to do that!) and then invited us back to their place to watch a basketball game. I met the Carpenters somehow on the Internet and got to know them when I went out to do a portrait of John last year but it's still a bit weird -- wait, I know John and Sandy Carpenter? Anyway -- after the game Dill & I crashed at the Carpenter's guest house and Joan and Kerrie went to Cat Mihos' place -- Cat's Neil Gaiman's tour manager, she was out of town and had a spare house and cats.

The Crew -- Dill, John Carpenter, Joan Dark, Kerrie, Sandy King-Carpenter.
Clickenzee to Embiggen!

Relatively chill day. One of our shoots got moved around and another one got cancelled which gave us mostly a free day. Normally this would freak me out and send me into a WE'RE DOING NOTHING! panic but we'd gotten so much good stuff on Tuesday I felt fine about it. Joan and I were interviewed for a Respect! Films' documentary about Neil Gaiman, I told some stories, we baked in the hot sun and we were able to take as much time as the filmmakers needed rather than having to rush off and that felt nice. We decided we'd make this the "if you're in L.A. and want to hang out" day so I emailed Michael Kwan who's a photographer for the L.A. Derby Dolls and asked if he could find me some rollergirls to photograph for the roller derby portrait book I'm working on.

Respect! Films interview. Clickenzee to embiggen!

We filled up half a bar with people from the Internet which was a grand thing and something that I really like about Twitter, it seems to be designed to do stuff like that. Shunami Bomb showed up from the Derby Dolls with her dog and a bunch of other people.

I just started photographing right in the bar with Brian C. Janes holding lights and Donielle Gross snapping some behind-the-scenes. I was a bit worried that the bar would throw us out but the bartender just ran over and instagrammed us for the bar's web page. I guess in LA this sort of thing is just what goes on.

Clickenzee to Embiggen Shunami Bomb!

I went to bed at a reasonable hour, Kerrie, Joan and Dill stayed out partying with the L.A. peeps into the wee hours and looked a bit warmed over on....

I got up early on Thursday to go running, because I had a half marathon that Sunday and I wanted to get a few miles in. I ran through the Hollywood hills and was absolutely certain that everybody I saw wearing sunglasses and a baseball hat walking a dog at 5:30 in the morning was Kevin Spacey. No doubt I was correct.

Then we went off and photographed Roman Dirge in a really bad-ass sweater. I can't show you the sweater, but I can show you the lighting test that I did with Joan the night before and me photographing Roman.

Clickenzee to Embiggen!

Roman was always one of my comic book heroes as anybody who remembers my ubiquitous Lenore t-shirt remembers. And it was great to meet him and find out that he's just a super-nice guy who likes to watch horror movies and draw things.

From there it was back to John and Sandy's. Apart from making movies they're also doing a comic book called "John Carpenter's Asylum" (Read about it on the Facebooks here) so Joan wanted to photograph them with their comic and a nifty comic book holder she's designed. We spent some time figuring out the lighting beforehand because who wants to stumble around with lights looking like an idiot in front of a famous movie director?

Lighting test for the comic book holder. Clickenzee to Embiggen!

I set up lights in their living room while Sandy made dinner. Earlier in the day she'd said: "You need pie. We're not letting you go home without pie." So they cook us an amazing dinner of vegetable soup and there's an apple pie that looked like it came out of a child's nursery rhyme, it had a huge gnarled top, and when you cracked it open inside there's a baked exquisiteness that seemed sculpted in its perfection.

We said goodbye to the Carpenters who'd made life so easy for us. It's kind of mind-boggling that in a place as nasty as Hollywood there are people who are just so dang nice.

Anyway, two more shoots after that with Whitney Avalon who's been in a bunch of TV shows plus this:

Whitney'd been out doing a TV commercial from 4:30 in the morning until sundown but she didn't seem tired. We did her in two outfits, a skirt and a superhero dress -- both of which were awesome.

It's hard to say which photo is my favorite because they're all pretty good, but if I had to choose, it might be Whitney's skirt, which we shot in ... like 2 minutes.

Three a.m.. Wake up, make breakfast. Get in the car, drive to the airport with Dill, Joan & Kerrie. Wave a sad goodbye to the Carpenter's guest house. I read Game of Thrones on the plane and wrote an article for Videomaker. Pretty much as soon as I got home, around five in the evening, I went to bed because the half marathon thing on Sunday began at five a.m. and I need to slam myself into east coast crazy time, so I set my alarm for five.

Got up early, picked up my race packet and bib, caught up on email, said hello to my wife as she left to play Lady Macbeth one penultimate time, went to bed at 7:00.

Up at 2:30am, cleaned the house, got dressed, ran the half marathon, took a fast shower, jumped on a train went to the closing performance of Macbeth, from there we went to the Ebenezer Maxwell mansion with Brian Siano and shot the final scene for A Doll's House (exterior, winter), went home and Brian and I worked on finishing the edits of the movie.

Life at 100 mph.

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