by Maria Luci
Our last day of LA portfolio adventures started at the creative strategy and design agency …and company. They offer advertising, design, and communications services to clients such as Bravo, E!, Disney, ESPN, and HBO. Their white building gave the impression of a ship with white elements that reminded me of sails.
We walked into an open and inviting area with polished concrete floors. Ben and I were then greeted by several very friendly …and company employees. They saw our hand truck full of books and informed us there was no elevator and our meeting was on the second floor. Luckily for us, the …and company group is a helpful one, and several creatives pitched in to help us carry a large number of books up the stairs.
Once we were settled in their conference room, with the books laid out and wonderfulmachine.com up on the big screen, we invited the creatives in to take a look. They were a very receptive group, looking through each book carefully and offering comments about many. Again, Tamar Levine’s book got rave reviews, and there was even talk about hiring her for an HBO shoot. King Lawrence’s book got attention from each creative, and all his leave-behinds were snatched away. Rush Varela’s unique style and creative imagery got some second looks, and Scott Witter’s book caught a few eyes. Different projects were discussed, and there was talk of pulling images from our photographers’ websites for upcoming comps.
More and more creatives slowly shuffled in and plucked up promos. However, all good meetings must come to an end, so we packed up our things, got some help going down the stairs, and headed to our next meeting at the CBS Studios Photo Department.
I was very excited about this meeting because I saw it as a chance to sight a real-life celebrity. As we pulled into the studios and showed our IDs, I scanned the area. Unfortunately, I ended up leaving CBS without seeing a celeb, but we did get a mini tour of the area, and I did see a man with a fake bullet hole in his head (at least, I hope it was fake).
We met with CBS’s very enthusiastic and friendly director of photography. She was only interested in seeing portfolios that were celebrity-oriented. Although our meeting was short, it was also sweet; she loved Robert Gallagher’s and Austin Hargrave’s work so much that she hopes to bring them in for a meeting with her. We happily gave her their contact info, exchanged cards, and headed back to the minivan to prepare for our next meeting.
Ben and I were happy with how smoothly things were going, but fate had other plans for us! After packing all of the books and the hand truck away in the minivan, we tried to close the trunk. But alas! The trunk latch would not close. Leaving it open was not an option since all of our photographer’s books were in the back. We didn’t want to drive down the 405 with books flying out. So I called Enterprise, and we arranged to meet at the closest location, about five miles away. So for five miles, I squeezed in the back, holding down the trunk while Ben drove at about 20 mph.
But soon, we were in a newer minivan, and we still had over an hour until our final meeting. Excited about this free time, we debated our sightseeing options and decided on the Hollywood sign. With the help of Ben’s iPhone, we tracked down the sign, took some photos, and felt like real tourists.
After admiring the sign and its surrounding view and houses, we started out for our final meeting. Our last Los Angeles stop was at the exciting Fox Broadcasting Network studios.
The Fox studios were much larger than CBS since they also filmed movies there. We drove up to what seemed like a mini city within LA. As a TV and movie buff, I was super giddy as we drove up and saw a recreation of a New York street and a building with a giant Star Wars mural.
We filled up our dolly and headed to the meeting. The Fox photo publicity group was very friendly and asked a lot of questions about Wonderful Machine and how we operate. The meeting went well, and we even looked at several other photographer’s websites. They liked Christopher Kilkus’s, Austin Hargrave’s, and Robert Gallagher’s celebrity work, along with Andy Reynold’s and Brandon Hill‘s quirky style. Michael Khachadoorian’s thick portfolio also got some attention for its size and quality of imagery.
So after some photography, and some American Idol and Arrested Development discussions, we said farewell to our new Fox friends. Before leaving, we made sure to take some photos with the giant Jack Bauer cut-out (swoon).
As we headed for the van, we were happy with the meetings and how our trip had turned out, but I still felt a little sad that I hadn’t caught a glimpse of any celebrities. But wait! Right as we were about to leave Fox, sitting at a table with almost no one around was Lizzy Caplan, star of one of my favorite shows, Party Down! With this final sighting and some great meetings and new clients behind us, our West Coast trip came to a perfect close.