I woke up a little later than I had intended, but still had plenty of time to get ready in order to leave for San Francisco by 9AM.
The drive up 280 was awesome. It was a beautiful morning, and I actually made good time. I decided to BART in from Milbrae rather than drive into the city, and it was a good thing, since parking at the Fairmont is $39/day.
I got into the city and to the Fairmont about 5 minutes late for my 11AM call, but the Associate Producer, Robert, knew I was on my way, so it was all good. I arrived, met Robert and Shaun (a fellow improviser who would be playing the part of an irate bride) in the lobby. Robert sent us in to the Fountain room, where we were introduced to the director, Charles, and the rest of the crew. Now, I've actually SEEN one episode of the show, but I didn't recognize Nikki Boyer, the host. She was dressed casually, and was running around helping folks out. I assumed she was a Production Assistant. She was very calm, very polite, and just really cool. By the time I'd realized who she was, we'd already been chatting for a while, and it was all good.
For those who don't know, Perfect Proposal is a show where a guy basically sets his girlfriend up in a really whacked out situation (that lasts for a day or two) and then proposes to her on National Television. The 'pitch' for our event was like this: Lucia (the girlfriend) won a free class at the San Francisco Institute of Cosmetology. As part of the free class deal, she was to be featured in a promotional video for the school (that's how they justified the cameras being around). The owner of the school (DeeDee Carlson) was "so impressed" with her work that she assigned her to be an assistant makeup artist at a wedding the next day at the Fairmont Hotel. Lucia was to show up, the makeup artist gets stuck in traffic, so she has to make up a freaking out bride whose groom is late. As the bride runs off to finish getting ready, the photographer ushers Lucia into the shot so that he can 'get ready' for when the bride gets back, and at that point, the boyfriend shows up, proposes, and WHAMMO! Television!
Director Charles told me he wanted a "Flamboyant, over the top photographer." He told Shaun that he wanted her to be a rather frantic and demanding bride. We had this whole scenereo set up where we would have to badger Lucia (the lady being proposed to) into actually doing the makeup since her first class was yesterday. We ran over the 'pitch' with the crew and the director, figured out what each of us needed to accomplish and how we were going to accomplish it. My job was to get Lucia into position so that her boyfriend could propose to her. Seemed simple enough. But then Aurelio mentioned that she might be wearing a ring on her ring finger... that would be bad. So I was also assigned the task of getting Lucia to lose any jewelry she was wearing. We all discussed a couple different ways to do it, then we broke for lunch.
Yay! My first Craft Services lunch! It was cool, just making sandwiches and hanging out with the crew, and Nikki and the director and Aurelio. We talked and laughed and had a generally nice lunch.
And then crunch time hit.
Everyone scattered to get to their appointed tasks and get stuff set up. We shot our 'introductions' with Nikki, so folks would know we were in on the joke. And then we got into position.
Lucia showed up right on time. Then the phone call came saying that the makeup artist couldn't be there. This is where the actuality differed from the plan. Lucia dove right in and began doing the makeup with no cajoling and no problem. And she was doing a good job, too! Shaun, however, needed to make the day more frantic, so instead of badgering Lucia, she turned on me, which was AWESOME. We had some good back and forth were she bitched at me and I just told her to keep smiling (all the while taking pictures of LUCIA and not her). And then, the 'call' came in that Shaun's 'fiance' was running late, so Shaun got to be a little crazy.
I picked that time to stick my face into the middle of the fray and say to Lucia, rather bluntly, "Honey, could you take your rings off? It's tacky to have someone else's rings in your wedding photographs." Lucia looked at me like I just pooped on her shoe, but did as she was asked. Job one accomplished. I then proceeded to try to rush everything along, and we got rid of Shaun. I just sort of made Lucia "stand in" so I could set "light and color levels". We had a funky boa for her to wear, and a bouquet to hold.
And then Aurelio showed up and asked if I needed someone to stand in for the groom. I rejoiced, then got the hell out of the way as the cameras closed for the proposal.
Lucia cried, Nikki cried, Shaun cried... it was all pretty cool. I tossed Aurelio the roll of 36 pictures that I'd shot of Lucia during the event, and handed him my business card (because I could). They all thanked us profusely, and then we shot the wrap up stuff. Between shots, I got to let Lucia know that I'm NOT the raving asshole she thought I was, and she asked "Are you really a professional photographer?"
"Well, I'm working on BECOMING one."
"Well, you're one in my book. We're going to call you for the wedding."
That felt good.
It took a while to wrap everything up, sign the releases and get the hell out of there, but all in all, it was a totally AWESOME day.
Unfortunately, my digital camera batteries were a bit on the weak side, so I was only able to snap off the occasional shot when no one was looking at me.
The show should air in about a month and a half. They'll let us know. And I'll let you know.