Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chachi Gonzales and Ian Eastwood Like You've Never Seen Them- Dancers Among Us Style

"You're shooting Chachi Gonzalas and Ian Eastwood at a bowling alley. This is a big deal. They're HUGE!"

So said Tyrrell Shaffner of the extraordinary dance lifestyle channel DS2DIO, founded by Hollywood director Jon M. Chu. They were bringing me to Los Angeles to film my Dancers Among Us process, and they were very excited that Ian and Chachi would be joining us. The fantastic video will post FRIDAY on the DS2DIO YouTube channel. Make sure to check it out- http://www.youtube.com/DS2DIO.

Whenever I shoot someone famous, I've found it's best to know as little about them as possible. I don't do any homework; I don't want my ideas to be influenced by what they've already done. That came in handy when I met Chachi, who has over 400,000 Twitter followers and a huge fan base. She is a member of the dance crew I.aM.mE, which won the sixth season of America's Best Dance Crew in 2011. Had I seen promotional photos like this-

I may never have had the idea to cast her as a Midwest all-American girl like this-

Her dancing style is so fluid and unique, you really need to see her in motion. Her movement is electric. Had I known this, I may never have asked for a still pose. I would have been too concerned with staying true to what made her famous, but that style of dance doesn't lend itself easily to photography (especially holding a bowling ball). Instead, we came up with this fun pose-

I felt like it needed a little more drama, so we rushed out into the middle of the lane and shot for less than a minute. I couldn't risk getting Chachi kicked out- can you imagine the reaction on Twitter?

Ian arrived next, touting 100,000 plus Twitter followers, MTV fame and a World of Dance Youth Choreographer of The Year award. Once again, I'm glad I never saw this cool promo shot-

Because I may not have felt comfortable suggesting my location of choice- the public bathroom. I told Ian I wanted him to dress as retro as possible (not difficult for him), and comb his hair while watching himself dance in the mirror.

He ate it up!

We rehearsed in the hallway because I was absolutely certain that we'd be asked to stop once I brought a film crew into the bathroom.

We rushed into the bathroom and Ian quickly started dancing... and it turns out we could have stayed all night. I guess film crews in bathrooms aren't so unusual in LA. We got lots of shots.

And ended up with one photo I absolutely LOVE!

So we all had a blast, and the lesson to be learned here is: Don't do your homework.

Hopefully my children are not reading this post.

Make sure to watch the video on Friday on YouTube. To quote my new friend Ian, "It's dope!"