"Hey dude! Wanted to see if you’re available to cam op on a multi-cam thing this Wednesday in NYC. Should be a fun one!" - Jordy Wax, Contrast Films
Anne the Wife and I have been super quiet about our decision to move to New York City. That being said, I've been hustling behind the scenes the last year or so in reaching out to other creatives. Turns out freelancing without connections is called "unemployed."
One of those cold emails, direct messages via Instagram, and/or bat signals was to Micah Bickham at Vevo. That led to a phone call while I was in Las Vegas for NAB which led to an introduction and quick face-to-face with Jordy Wax at Contrast Films – he was in Vegas for NAB too. All that nonsense plus plenty more along the way gets us to the other day.
Jordy shot me an email late Saturday night about cam op'ing on a "multi-cam shoot in NYC" on Wednesday morning; not much detail outside that. If you've been following along for any period of the obvious answer was a polite and collected "Yea man! I'm in" while FREAKING OUT ON THE INSIDE AND HOPING THEY DON'T FIND OUT YOU'RE A FAKE. A few emails, a callsheet, and a Google search later it turns out to be a shoot at Electric Lady Studios with with Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson, and a special guest.
"Good job team. Looks like our work here is done and we can pack it up. No need to try and do anything else to professionally top what I got to do a month into moving to New York." - Me
There's no need to try and explain how big a deal Electric Lady Studios is – just know we've all heard music recorded there. There's no way I was going to be late so I figured being thirty minutes early was a solid balance between "professional" and "Oh God, who is this guy?" The space was buzzing with an army of people who all seemed to know what they were doing. Then there was me, the nervous mid-semester transfer student trying hard to to "play it cool" while simultaneously fighting back the urge to projectile vomit out of excitement.
There were five or six Alexa Minis setup with Vantage Hawk anamorphic lenses on various tripods, sliders, and one prepped for a Movi Pro. I straight up stood next to the camera with the biggest lens because it was the most out of the way when Micah – who was directing all this nonsense – walked up and assigned me to it. "So you're going to be on Camera 1. 85% of your shots will be following Miley with some slow zooms. You've shot live music performance stuff, right?"
I’ve had shoots and editing work with existing clients since I’ve been in NY, but shooting on this project was technically my first paid gig after moving to the city. Honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better situation and I’m incredibly thankful. It's not like I've never worked on big sets with high-profile celebrities and high-end gear. More than anything this just felt like a door opening after patiently knocking for more than a decade.
There's no shame in admitting I was floored to be and work in the same room with creatives I've followed online for years – as well as others I got to meet and follow now. There's also no shame in admitting I had no idea who the long-haired guitar player was they were all tripping out about – my bad.
Fun bonus fact about the scheduling of this shoot: I'd already been booked for a project in Phoenix the next day and thankfully I'd booked a flight out of NYC later Wednesday afternoon. Scheduling somehow threaded the needle on this one with the morning Vevo shoot in Greenwich Village giving me enough time to get back to Brooklyn, get Clara the dog to the pet boarding place, and me to the airport with my gear in time to catch the direct flight to Phoenix. Thanks science.