Sunday, March 23, 2014

An anecdote to share

Years back, a contact in publishing asked if I wanted to work on a project with Steve Schirripa who played Bobby Bacala on the Sopranos. He had written a funny book called "Goomba's Guide To Life"  for which they needed photos and I was happy to do it. The plan was to work in Little Italy where Steve was living at the time. Setting things in motion, the book's designer and I did a scout along Mullberry St. to find the best place to stage the images. 

When the day arrived, I met my assistant in Little Italy and together we found Steve. Unpacking the gear, my assistant volunteered to put my car in a garage. "Don't worry," one of the guys who surrounded Steve told me, "You won't get a ticket. We got you covered" (that was indeed a nice perk). Steve was great on camera and everyone involved couldn't have been more good natured and cooperative.  The book did so well it went to the top of the NYT's bestseller list. I even saw the book held up to network television cameras. Yeah!!

A few months later I heard from the book's editor that Steve wanted to buy the rights to my images because he was considering licensing himself for, among other items, housewares. (I remember mugs came up). I asked an agent acquaintance to deal with Steve's rep from William Morris on my behalf.  They were looking to purchase outright all the rights and unlimited use of the book's photos- not my dream negotiation. We couldn't agree on a price and the deal fell apart due to the small amount of money offered. Needless to say I did not work on any of his subsequent projects.

Flash forward, I was photographing a birthday party for Dominic Chiannese and Steve was there. While he didn't remember me, he remembered the book and when I asked if he would send me a signed copy of a Goomba's Guide... to commemorate our collaboration he said he would. We emailed a few times and he asked for my mailing address, but a signed book never arrived. 

Sometimes, the best part of a job is the work itself, and not what happens next. Just sayin'.

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