"Who do I know that looks like a dirty old fisherman?" It's a question we all ask ourselves from time to time. But this time, the fate of an ad campaign depended on it…
When Hoffman Lewis needed a photographer to shoot conceptual portraits of dingy, weathered fishermen for a Filet O' Fish billboard campaign for McDonald's, they knew where to turn. Brian's ability to capture the personality of a character in his lens was exactly what they needed. When they approached us with the project, we were all over it. When they laid out the project's budget and deadlines, we were... willing to accept the challenge. Not every photographer can (or is willing to) work within a tight budget, and when the words "quick turnaround" are added, FORGETABOUTIT. But when the project feels right and gets our creative juices flowing, we'll do whatever it takes to make it work. Not unlike people who are trapped together in an elevator for fourteen hours, we at Brian Cummings Photography have a special bond that is formed by keeping our cool under intense pressure (and by not eating each other). Everyone on the team plays an important role (or two) in a production like this, and if we each summon our spirit animal and keep our head in the game, we can pull it off.
First step: Casting. When you are casting on budget, professional models are typically not an option. So we go to plan B: Scrolling through our mental photographic rolodexes for "models" who fit the bill. We noted several options, including friends, friends of friends, and a few strangers we found online (through reputable sources, I'm told). In the end, we nailed it hook, line, and sinker. With Brian's wife's boss, a professional Santa (luckily we caught him in the off-season), and our very own photo assistant Derek Feldman to star as the fish sandwich-seeking deep sea diver, we were set.
Step two: Wardrobe. There are projects where a professional wardrobe stylist uses her connections and knowledge of resources to find us everything we need, then we all sit around and twiddle our thumbs until she comes back to us with several options, at which point we say "No, no, yes, no, that's awesome, no, let's keep that as an option, yes, no, etc." This was not one of those jobs. Our producer, Brittany Accardi, stepped up to the plate to take on the role of wardrobe stylist, and she took it like a boss. Dressing the fishermen was straightforward and fun, and a little research lead to a costume shop in L.A. that could provide the diving suit, but there's nothing like sourcing an antique, rentable, diving helmet to really take the wind out of your sails. Boy howdy. We all Googled our hearts out, and after days of searching, Brittany finally struck gold (actually, I think it might be copper) when she found the giant spherical gem hidden away in Wisconsin. This helmet probably hadn't seen a camera since it was used in Men of Honor over a decade ago. That's right, this helmet was in that movie. That's right, the year 2000 was over a decade ago. Now, if you have to ask how much it costs to overnight a 75 lb. chunk of metal worth about $20,000 from Wisconsin to St. Louis, you probably can't afford it.
Step three: Shoot! As I've mentioned before, our crew works well under pressure. Once we're on set, it's smooth sailing (are you picking up on all the ocean puns yet?) We totally knocked out the three portraits, and even found a couple of extra hours at the end of the day to shoot some other options, which the client loved.
McDonald's - Client
H&L - Agency
Ashley Geringer - Art Director
Corey Smale- Copywriter
Mark Manion- CD/Writer
Jon Hansen - ACD/ Art Director
Producer - Brittany Accardi
Digital Tech - Monica Heitz
Photo Assistant - Derek Feldman
Hair & Makeup - Annie Heyward