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In Technology

By Bill

How to shoot Celebrity Talent

On 14, Jun 2013 | In Technology | By Bill

Do you have an upcoming job with celebrity talent?  Follow these simple rules to pull off a flawless shoot.

They’re just like us; only more famous.

Warhol was so incredibly correct.  We are crafting spots and shoots around people who used to be tow truck operators.  They’re on television, sign autographs at ComicCon and have on-set catering requests but just a few months ago they were tow truck operators.  Are they any less of a celebrity?  Not in my eyes.  The rules for getting a brilliant performance out of talent hold true for Clooney and everyone else.

1) Discuss the creative with the talent before they arrive on set.

9 times out of 10 a famous person arrives on my set with a great deal of trepidation.  No one has spoken to them about what they’re doing today.  The only thing they know is that it was supposed to be their only day off but the network wants them to promote the show they’ve been making for the last six months. Do ANYTHING you can to make sure they or their agent have signed off on the scripts before shoot day.  Burning your crew time while everyone scrambles to rewrite is unnecessary.  Make a connection with your talent before the shoot any way you can.

2) Be incredibly organized.

Celebrity talent has an amazing knack for getting lost.  Assign a driver and producer to them from dawn until dusk.  Send the producer in the car to pickup the talent.  Never let them out of your sight.  Escort them to hair and makeup.  Bring them back to their dressing room.  Meanwhile, be pre-lit and waiting for them.  You don’t have the budget for an assistant director with staff and a pre-light day?  Get the crew in early and find the smartest PA you know to babysit the talent.


3) Don’t turn into Scorsese.  Be like Clint.

Chances are the talent in front of the camera spends more time there than you do.  If you feel like you can go toe to toe with Clooney about the last line he delivered promoting the rainforest benefit then be my guest but be prepared for a smack after you ask for several more takes as a “safety”.  Teasing the lions in the cage will only produce an unhappy performance. If your talent was a tow truck operator just a few months ago you have more leeway.


“I don’t see myself doing television, but I do see myself directing. ” -Demi Lovato