Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Character Training

On Sunday, I had my character training. It started out by me not checking the schedule that says where I am each day so instead of being at Animal Kingdom, I went to Epcot as usual haha. So I clocked in on time, but I was an hour late to the actual training. Turns out they were just piddling around so it wasn't a big deal at all. We got to train with seven characters and their best friends who had only been here for a week. It was nice that it was set up like that because it was less pressure for each of us. We set up in the stage area where Pocahontas' old show was in a big group. It was 4 photographers and Baloo, Big Al and Wendell from Country Bears Jamboree, Rafiki, Brer Bear, Launchpad McQuack from Tail Spin, Tigger, and Bolt. It was sooo fun. My first set was with Baloo, of course, because he's my absolute favorite. We danced a lot haha. Next was Bolt and let me tell you, he is one big puppy! He towers me. haha. He's absolutely adorable though and his fur is so very soft. After that I got to work with the country bears to see what its like to shoot two characters. It was definitely more challenging, especially since they are giant bears, but it was a ton of fun to watch them play. After that I worked with Launchpad for a bit and then moved on to Tigger who was very bouncy. I don't know how a tiger can have that much energy. It was wearing me out just watching him.

Over all it was a really fun time. Character shooting is so much more tiring than icon shooting. With icons, you pretty much stay in the same spot and just play with distance and portrait/landscape changes. With characters, youre constantly moving to make sure you get a shot of every little detail in the interaction. You move (run) from side to side and youre standing or squatting or on your knees completely with almost every interaction so you aren't looking down at a kid or getting the back of their head in each shot. Its exhausting. I think it also didn't help that there were no character attendants to work with that day so the Photopass people had to play both parts and make sure the lines were functioning and people had their autograph books out and to the right page, etc. Ive been told most character situations aren't that tiring because, well, there aren't 2 character lines to each photographer and we'll have attendants to help us out.

Today is my first on my own character shoot. I'm going to be in the UK in the World Showcase from 12:15 to 6:30 hanging out and shooting with Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. I'm pretty excited about it but there's a lot of details that I don't quite understand. Hopefully they'll be easy to pick up on and things will just come naturally.

Oh and also, I had my 30 day review on Monday with my manager Rachel. She was incredibly nice and helpful. I got quizzed on my guest service and photography knowledge and then we went over my pictures. She said she was thoroughly impressed with how well I'm doing and that I have a "natural talent for composition". Also that she didn't expect me, as a CP, to be doing this well. Its not hard when you like your job. Speaking of, last night was my first time in the World Showcase and I got to work on the bridge to the International Gateway and take pictures of Paris lit up ever so beautifully. It was awesome to take a picture of something new that I could actually move guests around to get a different looking shot. It was awesome, I love it there. My second to last family came up to get a picture and afterwards they were like "Wow, you're awfully peppy for this time of night!". hahah. I just said "Well, I'm really happy to be here!" and she said "You gotta love Disney World!". And then we high fived. haha.

Yep, you gotta love Disney World.


Kristin said...

i totally saw you in epcot on saturday! but i felt really weird coming up to you if you didnt know who i was, lol!

Brittany Balandis said...

i read your blog religiously lol you're doing a great job and i'm so glad you love it!

Deborah said...

Last time I was at WDW, the photographers just did one landscape and one portrait shot and didn't bother with any more (not to mention most of them seemed a bit grumpy). I was a little disappointed. :( Are you actually encouraged to be creative when shooting characters then? How many PhotoPass photographers actually have previous experience?

Sorry if it sounds like I'm being a pest. :) I'm hoping I get accepted to the CP as a PhotoPass photographer, and those were just a couple things I was wondering

Marina said...

Sorry it took me a minute to get back to you guys.

Kristin - You should have introduced yourself! Next time!!

Brittany - Thanks, I'm glad you like it! I need to try to post more. Things are just crazy busy here, as I'm sure you know. haha.

Deborah - Youre encouraged to be creative when taking any pictures, as long as time allows and it seems practical. Most of the time you dont take artsy shots or anything, but you arrange the guests in fun ways or make them do silly/cute things. We're told to take a primary (portrait with whole icon/character), a secondary (landscape close up of just guests or guests w/characters), and a creative. With character shoots though, you take 5-7 pictures and just document the whole interaction.

As far as previous experience, it spans a wide range. I don't have any real professional experience, I just take a lot of pictures leisurely so I'm good at composition. Thats all you really need to be good at this job. Once the cameras are set to what they ask you to set them to, you dont touch the settings. Its all about creative composition after that. I will say for your interview, definitely focus on the talent/experience that you DO have. Don't say things like "I've never taken a professional class or anything, but...". Just be enthusiastic about how your camera is glued to your hand whenever you go anywhere... things like that. If you've used a DSLR, mention it at the beginning when they ask about experience. And youre not being a pest :) Let me know if you have more questions!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marina,

Great blog! I hope to get accepted to the CP program as a photographer too. I already have SLR experience with the Nikon D40x but, I was wondering what type of camera and lens do the Photopass Photographers use? Thanks

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