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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Editorial really pulled my strings

I started getting nose bleeds, waking up in the middle of the night to jot down an idea on paper, therefore I kept a pen and pad on the nightstand to keep me from having to turn on that computer. Wait, I just lied! My computer went to bed with me every night, and I would fall asleep while getting lost in translation of conveying my thoughts into text. My social life once again became a thing of the past and all I ever talked about with anyone, was this editorial shoot we were working on. Friends would remind me that my voice mailbox was full, and only then would I scan to see who left a message. And if the name wasn't associated with this shoot, the call generally went unanswered for a long period. After all of these were Wai-Ching gowns. Hand crafted, and every detail hand sewn. There would be no mistakes on this project I reminded myself. However, when the eleventh hour struck, there would still be more changes that would require some war room changes. We titled this editorial shoot "Pull my strings". It was the day before the shoot, and I had just gotten the worst news I could have possibly gotten. My lead model had double booked and had another commitment. The makeup artist had to cancel, but then she reworked her family schedule just so she could be there for us, and that meant a huge bit of gratitude to me and I immediately informed Em that we were good for makeup again. He just happened to swing by the studio and said we needed to take a break and get something to eat. While sitting at the dinner table in our favorite restuarant The Happy Teriyaki #4, my nose began to bleed again. After about 10 mintues in the men's room, I finally got it under control and returned just as my food had arrived. I told Emerson the news and as always, he in his cool, calm, way said "We just need to slow down and rethink this". I was losing my mind. This would be all over with by this time tomorrow night and we had a duty to get this right the first time because of the deadline. Again, as calm as ever Emerson told me to eat and let's head back to the studio. Before the night would end, we had rewritten the storyline for the editorial, replanned the storyboard and tweeked how it would play out. I spent that entire night laying wide awake in my bed staring at the ceiling. The day seemed to creep and then without warning slammed into the hour of execution. And do you think it was smooth sailing from there on? You bet your last dollar it wasn't. Luckily enough for us, the venue owners where we were shooting had the kindest of hearts and for that I am eternally greatful because they really made this evening worry free.... well almost. Down to one model from three, and she had not arrived. Suddenly my phone rang it was our featured model. She was lost, but not so lost that I couldn't jump in my car and find her. Reeling her in, it was game time. And I saw the people around me being the very best they could be. No one argued, got angry, got pissed because the night got really long since we had 8 dresses to shoot and only one model to fill all of them. The clock struck 1 a.m. and we were finally finished. So so much had been learned and experienced between the hours from start to finish. I knew that I had some sure winner shots on my digital card in my camera, and as Emerson and I unloaded the last of the gear back at the studio, we shook hands and congratulated one another on a job well done. The next few days we committed to photo editing, and the day after we submitted our photos, we dedicated to thanking each and every person in a way that showed how much we apprecaited their contribution. What we had just done did not realy strike me until I was sitting in the coffee shop next door to Chrissy Wai-Ching's studio enjoying a hot cup of coffee, watching the rain fall, while waiting on her to return so that I could present her with the gift Emerson and I wanted to give her. The 5 most important elements of this project that really stood out to me during this controlled chaos was 1. Katie, our model. She had worked a long day, driven all the way to Tacoma from Seattle, endured all the stresses we must have put on her, never complained, worked till the wee hour of the morning, and then driven all the way back to Seattle. 2. My keygrip guy Kevin, whom I knew started work at 4:00 a.m., so when I saw him virtually passing out between wardrobe changes, I had to beg him to go home and assured him we could handle it from here. 3. Ashley & Kristen, the hairstylist were so gung ho from the very beginning. And they never once faltered and kept such a huge positive attitude throughout. 4. Tara, our MUA. I will never forget hearing her say she had to back out because of her family commitments for that evening, then resurging and rearranging her family schedule just so she could be there for us. That's character. 5. Mary & Tom, the venue owners. You have no idea what this couple had been through just days before, and where I should have been reassuring them, they were reassuring me with the warmest hospitality you will ever know on this planet. Shooting editorials are nothing short of a lot of work, and a lot of commitment, and I loved every painstaking moment of it, and now look forward to taking a much needed vacation to think a few strategies out. But the good news is that I am not taking my laptop with me, no cell phone, nothing that will connect me to anyone or thing in the U.S. When I get on that plane and fly out of the country I am going to officially be on a little work and a lot of vacation.


  1. Great job Raphael! The pictures look beautiful! Congrats on all your success, you deserve it.

    Your #1 fan,

  2. No Elsee, I am your number 1 fan. Let's plan to hangout in Central Park again this fall, so I can blog about it :)