News for Dec. 08, 2005

Kong Countdown: The Red Carpet Diaries

12/08/05, 5:56 pm EST - Xoanon

King Kong Premiere: New York, New York Gallery II

NEW YORK - For those who are interested, I thought I might run you through the experience of shooting a red carpet event. First, let me declare that I hated it. Oh I was pleased to take a few pictures of the stars and those who worked on the film, I just hated the atmosphere in which it happened. I was determined that KiKn and its readers enjoy the same press opportunities as other news outlets, since our readers are a good deal more passionate about it than others. Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be paparazzi.

At 3:30 p.m. I was due to be in Times Square to shoot the life-size Kong with Peter Jackson and his leading actors. Due to a room-key malfunction, I didn't make it there until 3:50 p.m., by which time the press area was completely full (as I hear it was at 3:31 p.m.) and locked off with security who had little time for a guy with no official badge for the event, despite Universal's declaration that I was approved. I could have tried to get a friend inside to help but I wasn't about to put kind folks in a tough spot.

So I decided to shoot it from the street between two parked cars which 10 minutes later had police all over me, despite not blocking any traffic, and NBC declined to let me climb to the roof of their van. At 4:05 p.m., after it was supposed to start with no hope in sight, and me 10 people deep on the best sidewalk spot, I cut my losses I left to be on time for the red carpet press check in at 4:30 p.m.. I had pictures from 2 a.m. the previous night anyway (some included here) when Richard Taylor and Gino Acevedo were kind enough to chit-chat with a numbef of KiKners from the board and later to allow me to shoot some details shots of Kong.

I arrived at the carpet at 4:15 only to discover that I was pretty late, so thank goodness I didn't get into the Times Square event. It is best to arrive real early to these events, a lesson I will remember. One of the photographers, I never figured out why, was in charge of the line. He knew a good number of those there to shoot, but not me, leading me to believe that I was already in trouble. He placed my name on the list, 41st, and the waiting game began. The television people got settled in first and then we were ushered in five at a time to squeeze behind five tiny barricades for the premeire. A few 'friends' of the organizer were let in out of order, causing multiple invocations of the F-bomb by the assembled photographers (not by me, I was representing KiKn) and finally I went around the barricade to find that I had horrible sight lines and I knew by the time flashes popped, shoulders, heads and cameras would be right in front of me.

I considered leaving, got into a shouting match with somebody who contended that I had taken her spot while she moved around looking for another and figured out that all of the second and third row shooters had a step ladder of sorts - except me.

As luck would have it, the publicists had never had room reserved for them and all the television press had to move down so the photographers could move down so the publicists could move in. I knew my spot couldn't be worse and the assembled gang of thugs with cameras weren't about to move for fear of losing a spot, so I abandoned my post and found a new one on the front row right next to the first TV crew on the line. Yahoo!

If anybody wonders if stars enjoy red carpets, let me declare that imposible. Publicists are careful to walk ahead of the subjects and let everybody know who is coming and then keep the person moving slowly so that every camera has a chance at a shot. The problem is, all these assembled animals/photographers start yelling the subject's name as soon as they are 10 yards away.

Why they don't wait until they are in legitimate shooting proximity, I couldn't say, but yelling "Naomi!" or "Ms. Watts!" or "Jack!" or "Jack Black!" at the top of their lungs seemed the thing to do. I believe if nobody yelled, everybody would still get the picture. Once in a while I fell into the trap but I found it much more effective to wait until the subject was close and say, "From, give me something!" and they would of course. Jack Black went wild for KiKn (a tribute to all of you) with a butt grab of his date (wisely not shown by the KiKn censors), an attempt to go tounge with her (she declined in front of the cameras) and a crazy little pose that was just for us!

I was also the only photographer on the line that knew who Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger was and since they didn't have an army of publicists ahead to inform, everybody started asking me. My considerable admiration for them (despite bungling every exchange I have ever had with Taylor) they were gracious and my admiration grew even further. I was delighted to explain to other photographers the significance of Bob Burns and the original "King Kong" armature as well as point out Joe Letteri and a few other Oscar winning crew members who worked on the movie. When Peter Jackson walked with the same armature, photographers still didn't get it and asked him to set it down so they could photograph just him. Somehow they missed sending guys like Randal Cook and Billy Boyd down the line at all. Boyd later claimed he was wisked inside and suddenly was in the theater instead of being blinded by 10,000 flashes. I say he was lucky but KiKn and siter site TORn would have loved to photograph him.

If any of the busy cast and crew read this, thanks for taking a moment to look at the guy who wasn't yelling his lungs out and for giving KiKn the same shot as everybody else. Next time I will know to wear a KiKn hat. Incidently, I never had or received ANY kind of identification or press pass for the red carpet. Anybody with a big enough camera could have pulled it off just fine. I was sad not to have the momento.

I will say that while stars and musicians are good at red carpets and know how to work it, none compared to a pair of models that walked the line. Wow! They knew just what to do and were incredible posers, and I mean that as a total compliment.

At 7 p.m. two things happened. I decided to abaondon my post and Donald Trump arrived. So it happened that now I walked down the red carpet behind the Trumps, waiting for the photographers to finish with them. Obviously nobody took my picture. Then I walked right through the inside paparazzi line (the 'A' list photographers) and literally bumped into Thomas Kretschman while he was being photographed. I cannot explain how sorry I was and am! He kindly said 'excuse me' and to get away I walked directly behind Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen) during her shoot and ruined a few of the young a beautiful actress' pictures as well.

This is where I discovered that Naomi Watts changed clothes for the inside photographers and that groups shots were being taken inside. So, when "People" magazine has group shots and we don't, you will know why. Sorry kids!

The rest of the coverage from the King Kong premiere week in New York will not be in diary format but will revert back to more authentic journalism. I thought some of you might want the horror story.