Aligning Ducks and Defining Targets

DaGoddess @ 08:11

Been putting in calls, sending out texts and emails, and basically reminding everyone who owes me money that they need to pay me NOW. Not sure if I’m going to make my deadline of the 9th, but I’m trying. The panic creeps back in. I really do have a few things that have to be paid by the 9th or I’m fubar’d. Phone doesn’t get paid and I’m out of contact with EVERYONE. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. And storage. I was hoping to get storage out here this past month, but with WPPI, there was no quick trip in the middle of the month to accomplish that. And food. Well, I could always diet. Live on water. Maybe crumbs from the pb&j MOBD makes. Anyhow, looking to see what I could possibly sell and I really don’t have anything here…only have a couple things (dun dum duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!) back in storage. Which does me no good here right now. So, I hope and pray payments come in. I know one is 10 weeks away. Too late. What do I do?

And then…

Ran into an interesting little situation along the way, though. Seems Buster, whom I had contacted about possible work, including photography, decided he should call me and ask: “Can I borrow your gear for a job? And can I get you to tell me how to use it? And it’s for so-and-so, you know we’ve been working together on this for years and they like what I shoot with my little point and shoot camera but I just can’t get what I want or what they need from my little camera. So, can I borrow your stuff? Can you should me how to use it?”

Deep down inside, I was thinking, “hey, you know, I just heard of this band looking for a new drummer and I was wondering if I could borrow your entire drum kit and have you come along, standing at the side of the stage teaching me how to play since this band and I get along and well, we like each other’s vibe and all…” but I didn’t say that.

What I said instead was, “look, you know I’m looking for work.” His excuse, “well, so-and-so and I have a good sense of what we’re aiming for.” To which I finished responding, “as you know, I’m looking for work…this exact kind of work. And my gear, I can’t loan it out. If anything were to happen to it, then I wouldn’t have any gear for work that might come my way, right? You understand that, don’t you? I’m already down two lenses, one broken because I loaned it to someone who was a professional.” He says, “What would you charge to be there with me as an assistant with your gear?” “You mean to watch you use my stuff, teach you to use it, and watch you take money out of my pocket? I’d start at $200.” “Oh. Well, I know you like to do this kind of work and it’s your thing and all, but I’ve been working on this for years with these guys and we’re still trying to get the right image…”

So, here’s the deal. You’ve been working on trying to get the right image for years and it still hasn’t happened. Okay, maybe you’re not doing something right. And yes, you’re right, your gear doesn’t allow you larger files like they’d need. The trick isn’t to borrow someone’s gear then, it’s to buy yourself a newer camera and then shoot whatever you need. And here’s another thing: you’re a bunch of musicians shooting for other musicians and none of y’all have any real photo experience. And you’re being really cheap about this. I get that. I get it. But don’t you think it’s a little rude to ask the one person who does know what she’s doing in such situations and who gets paid to photograph such situations to basically hand over the tools and the knowledge of her trade and take money right out of her hand when she needs it most just so you can see if you can do it, too?

And people wonder why it’s hard to make a living as a photographer…here, there, or anywhere.

So my once very good friend and former roommate now has a target on his back for once again coming up with THE VERY WORST favor he could ever ask at the VERY WORST TIME EVER. Really? This is what I do. Why not just grab the band, sit down with me, go over the concept, show me previous attempts, and let me shoot it? I know so-and-so. I know most of the players in the game. And for the record, so-and-so is exceedingly talented, works (or has worked) in a great many top draw shows on the Strip…you really want some amateurish photography representing you out in public? That’s the classy look you’re going for? Even if it were for a grunge band…the lead has a face, a name, a reputation in this town and he wants something cheap and amateurish? Okay, I guess. But don’t ask to borrow all my gear and expertise to do it when I’m in need of work (desperately so) because my answer is going to be…NO. And not just NO, but HELL NO.

I asked a few close friends, as in two, if they thought my response was unreasonable and they said they thought it was a bit on the…um…polite side of the spectrum. Then again, I don’t really have a voice at this point. If I’d tried to invoke Samuel L. Jackson or something, it wouldn’t have been very convincing. So, I went with, “Sorry, no…noooo….really? REALLY? NO! No. Just…no.” And I gave a few other suggestions. Gear suggestions, that is. Told him to go grab a newer point and shoot with a minimum of 10mp and he should be fiine. Didn’t ask why his girlfriend didn’t loan him her gear while she was out for WPPI, but then again, I didn’t want to talk about her and have that mess come up again. Some hornets’ nests are best left unstirred. I’ll say no more about that.

Was I right or was I wrong in my response? I could have earned some money renting out my gear, but I had no guarantee that it would be returned in good condition. Or that even if I’d come up with a rental agreement and deposit, etc, that I’d ever been able to collect should damage occur. I did the only thing I knew would not result in broken or lost gear: I said no. But there’s that tiny little voice in the back of my head that says I’m not being very Christian or even just a very good friend about it. I’m just wondering if that even applies. I mean, we’re talking about a man who knows my situation and then pulls this crap on me. One argument is that he’s not being a very good friend asking any of that of me. What would you do?


  1. Your response was most definitely the right response. It’s soooo obvious that he should just pass the job to you. Maybe he could take a cut of what you’d get paid….kinda like a finder’s fee. But to ask you to teach him how to take the job away from you…gah! That was entirely rude. But, sounds like a typical “man thing.” Sometimes they just don’t see the obvious. (Just sayin’.) Sigh….

    Comment by DogsDontPurr — 2011/03/05 @ 14:20

  2. What a prick. I’d have said no too, and added a bunch of expletives in for good measure. (Is this wimpy handshake dude?)

    Comment by Jan — 2011/03/05 @ 16:16

  3. Your response was spot on, of course. There was really no other alternative. :hug:

    Comment by pam — 2011/03/05 @ 18:39

  4. Sigh. Still pisses me off.

    And yeah, Jan. You met him

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2011/03/05 @ 22:19

  5. Suggest to him that photographic gear tends not to work so well, when it’s shoved so far up his ass that he’d have to use his navel as the lens’ aperature.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    Comment by Jim — 2011/03/05 @ 23:11

  6. Think I’ll have to second Jim’s comment. That was an incredibly crass and insensitive “favor” for him to ask of you in one of your most difficult times, to actually use YOUR tools of the trade to take YOUR business.

    Comment by diamond dave — 2011/03/06 @ 10:49

  7. Would have responded the way you did. He’s being clueless at best, selfish at worst. Either way, not professional. And this is your WORK equipment here, not some cheap hobby crap that you don’t care if you see again. Christian has not a damned thing to do with it – you didn’t take food out of his mouth by saying no, but if you’d said yes he might have taken food out of yours. Lord helps those who help themselves – being Christian does NOT mean being a codependent doormat.

    Comment by inkgrrl — 2011/03/06 @ 11:43

  8. You did exactly the right thing. I go through the same thing with my film school classmates. “No, you can’t borrow my camera, but I’ll be your camera op with it.” Same goes with the lights and audio equipment… and now even with my prop guns. After lending two with a handshake to a classmate for a “three-day shoot” back in January, I finally got them back last week. Never again.

    Comment by Cowboy Blob — 2011/03/06 @ 20:04

  9. what would i have done? i’d have said “not just no, but HELL no” jeeze.

    Comment by patti — 2011/03/14 @ 10:46

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