Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Studio Manager or Rock Star...

... or both?

Eric Trent Performing with Ugly Mustard (photo credit: Jason Janik)

Eric Trent has been Studio Manager at JCPenney Corporate for ten years. His daily activities include designing and building environments for photo shoots, booking assistants and digital techs, and maintaining equipment.

According to Eric, most photo shoots are planned weeks in advance, and he states, "This gives me time to build a team and the environment. Our producer team handles stylist and models. If a shoot is scheduled last minute, I always have an emergency crew or I’m able to move people around."

We asked Eric a few questions, which he was happy to answer for YOUR BENEFIT!

How do you cope with the variables and unknowns with photo shoots and assure that you have a positive outcome? I always create a buffer and establish the best resources.

What are some deal-breakers for you in regards to photo assistants, digital techs, and photographers? (i.e. worst offenses/mistakes) Be true to your ability. Are you really an “expert” in photoshop CS4? As a starting photo assistant, what is your day rate? Some agents will encourage you to set your rate high. You will move faster with an honest rate and work more often.

If there was only one quality that you could choose in a photo assistant, what would it be? Have ambition

If one of your Photo Assistants makes a mistake, how can they redeem themselves? Mistakes are made often. Just learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask.

At JCPenney, what are the most realistic job opportunities for an entry-level student photographer as he/she graduates from college? If your ambition is to become a photographer, photo assisting is very likely at JC Penney.

So, we hear you are a member of Ugly Mustard. What’s the craziest thing you wish you could have captured on film at one of your shows? We were playing in Zurich Switzerland and the opening band came on stage in the middle of our set and started removing all of our equipment while we were playing.

What parallels do you see with your job at JCP and your job as a musician? Any commonalities? Running a photo studio is much like being in a band. It’s the same language and the show must go on.

If you were hanging from the edge of a cliff, and your life depended on one person to rescue you – would it be a Photo Assistant or a Roadie? Roadie of course.

Eric Trent with Ugly Mustard (photo credit: Jason Janik)

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