Late last June I get a phone call from Dakota, RJ Muna's studio manager and she says, "Hey! Would you like to go down to LA with RJ and shoot a bunch of wrestlers for the E Network? Um, sure I say. With visions of Hulk Hogan and Randy Macho Man Savage circa 1987 running through my head. Sweaty, oily, coiffed, muscular, full of pageantry and pomp in a slightly homo erotic kind of way that my twelve year old self couldn't name yet didn't feel entirely comfortable with. . . But I digress. . .
I've learned over the years to pretty much say yes to anything RJ suggests. Its guaranteed to be at least an interesting, if not a tremendously good and satisfying time.
"Oh", says Dakota. "They're all female wrestlers. For the show Total Divas. Do your homework"
So RJ picks me up in Oakland at some ungodly hour on the 5th of July and we head south towards Stage One on the Universal lot. Aiming to get to our prelight by 9am. I'm running on pretty much zero sleep. Its an exercise in futility to try to sleep in Oakland on the 4th of July. The place turns into a war zone. Fireworks the likes of which I've only seen at Disneyland. All night.
Stage One would be split down the middle. On one side would be RJ's set where he was directing the motion portion of the project. The trailer for the current season of Total Divas. On the other side would be my set where I'm shooting stills for the principal artwork. Gaffers, grips, PA's, riggers, best boys and girls are all scurrying about making the things happen. He and I set to work lighting the sets in his trademark style.
The shoot day was a blur. Talent would cycle through our sets with about fifteen minutes spent on each side. Everyone was incredibly professional and sweet and accommodating. These women certainly are not your stereotypical divas. Hard working, driven. Hustle.
Got me started thinking about perceptions. What we do to serve ourselves. The choices we make to survive or to "make it." Other's perceptions of these choices. The nature of "reality" TV, how it may or may not color our perception of what is reality. What is important. . .
Anyhow, sure was fun!!
And I couldn't resist a selfie with Brie Bella ;-)