Any person working in production knows that working with celebrity talent can bring a host of challenges to a shoot. More often than not you’re dealing with restricted schedules, unique demands and sponsorship deals that need to be considered incredibly carefully. It takes a heck of a lot of pre-planning to make sure shoots run smoothly.
PSN tap into their worldwide network to explore what you need to be prepared for and what skills and tips are unique to shoot locations around the world. PSN Mexico EP, Ari Garza says keeping entourages happy is key to a smooth shoot and celebrity demands aren’t a problem when you’re so close to paradise.
Q> When shooting with high profile talent, what are the biggest challenges?
PSN Mexico> The biggest challenge is aligning the talent’s schedule with the production schedule and ensuring there’s no distraction from paparazzi.
Q> What in particular do you have to be prepared for when working with celebrity talent? For example, do you need special security, permits, secluded locations, catering?
It’s key to have a body double so you can pre-light the scene. That way the talent can arrive and be ready to shoot straight away. It’s also key to have a clean and comfortable space for the talent which provides everything their reps have asked for (food, flowers, make up, air conditioning etc….)
Q> Naming no names, what is the most grandiose request you have had from a celebrity?
PSN Mexico> We had someone ask for specific food that can only be sourced miles away from set. We’ve also had people ask for super expensive brands for the wardrobe, vintage French wine for lunch, specific glam teams to be flown over from abroad, the list goes on…...
Q> What shoot was a highlight for you when working with a celebrity talent?
PSN Mexico> I don’t know if I can pick a favourite but I’m a big football fan and shooting with top players is always great. We’ve done a lot of football shoots and it’s always great to see them in a normal setting. They tend to be respectful with fans and give autographs, sign shirts and balls etc. I find them the most fun to work with.
Q> Which type of celebrities are hardest to pin down time-wise?
PSN Mexico> Most of them are - footballers, actors and musicians all have tight agendas and entourages to deal with. There also tends to be a lot of people in the decision-making process.
Q> Do you or your country have any special features which make it easy to work with celebrity talent?
PSN Mexico> As you know Mexico is a very warm and comfortable country to work in. The crew and the people are always ready and will do anything to make you feel at home. We’re also strategically close to the US and can provide great food, restaurants and paradise locations where the celebrities can escape for a few days to relax.
Q> What do you think are the most common mistakes/assumptions made by foreign producers on shoots with celebrities in your country?
PSN Mexico> The most common mistake or assumptions made are often around timing. The shoot time needs to be negotiated in advance with the celebrity and their management team. Sometimes you only have a few hours to get a whole bunch of scenes and you can’t risk wasting that time re-negotiating.
Q> How do you deal with clients who are nervous about celebrity time constraints?
PSN Mexico> Sometimes the most important person on the set is not the celebrity but the entourage around the celebrity. If you keep them happy, you can sometimes negotiate more time or to get things done faster in makeup and wardrobe. If you understand their needs and time constraints, you can find ways to make the shoot flow smoothly. It also helps to restrict the numbers of people on set.
Q> Which internationally recognized celebrities have you worked with in your country?
PSN Mexico> Recently we shot a marketing campaign for La casa de las flores (The House of Flowers)
, a Netflix Original series that is very popular now in Mexico. It stars Veronica Castro, the Queen of Latin American soap operas. We also shot with Chespirito for Netflix. He is the Latin American Chaplin and was very famous in countries like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina before he passed away. We produced a feature film starring renowned Spanish actress Carmen Maura
. We have also worked with Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, pretty much all the football players from the Mexican team including Chicharito and Marquez. We shot a shampoo commercial and many, many Latin stars from actors to news anchors, bloggers, sports stars and more.