When I landed in Los Angeles, I discovered a whole new world of photographic opportunity — taking behind-the-scenes pictures of these Hollywood types while they’re making movies and rehearsing plays.
It all started when I was invited to bring my camera along to an on-location shoot for the Red Shirts web series (which follows three endearingly incompetent ensigns who barely manage to escape death every episode — it’s pretty damned funny, even if you’re not a Trekkie). I had no idea what I was getting into — much as I enjoy capturing the perfect candid image by stalking folks while they’re moving and grooving through their natural habitats, it’s usually at a recreational event (like a birthday party or family reunion, maybe traipsing after someone’s kids on a playground or at an amusement park). But a film set is different, stricter, more intimidating. Would I be in the way? Would I distract the actors? Would I even be able to get any decent shots?
Turns out all my fears were for naught — as long as I wasn’t dangling over into the frame or making noise that would be picked up by the boom mike, I was golden. I followed these intrepid entertainers out into the desert, to a dry and desolate place rather suitably named Jawbone Canyon. I spent two days trying to balance a Canon EOS 5D Mark II in one hand and a parasol in the other (required equipment, otherwise those Irish genes of mine burst into flames under this harsh and unforgiving California sun) — all while stealthily maneuvering my way into just the right action-catching position. (An impressive feat, if I do say so myself!) I zoomed in close and pulled back wide. I dodged dust gusts and cactus spines, got rocks in my shoes and sand in every possible crevice. I shot on-stage scenes and casual conversations during breaks, the production designer engaging in a little impromptu prop mastery, actresses fixing their hair and makeup — and (of course) a few dismembered-body-part-related gag pics. (You don’t get to leave decapitated heads, severed limbs, and a skeleton named “Charles” lying around, and not have them end up in my snaps!) I held bounce boards for the DP and clappers for the director. I even sewed fur bikinis for intergalactic Amazon women, and served healthy snacks (like cauliflower cheddar puffs and vegetarian meatballs and spiced pumpkin seeds) to the crew — photography meets costuming meets craft services, a triple-threat kind of gal!
Most of all, I had a blast! The voyeuristic side of me was in heaven, learning technical lingo and insider secrets and movie-magic tricks — seeing just how much work and effort goes into making a story jump off the page. I walked away with a better appreciation for the entertainment I consume, and a great deal more respect for the talent that supports my media-whoring ways. And (throughout the process) I got some great publicity pictures of cast and crew — showing them individually practicing their arts, working together as a team, and coming together as a family.
I’m hoping to do much more of this in the future — so if you’re planning a production in LaLa Land and like my work (click on each picture below to see a larger image), give me a holler. I’d love to help you show the world the other side of your project!
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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