Friday, November 23, 2007

Thomas Broening: Father of the Year

I love reading in blogs and agent/photographer websites about how devoted these shooters are to their children and how it is all about the kids. I have a ton of kids and unlike my colleagues sometimes I miss the mark in terms of the parenting/ work balance.

This summer I was with my kids at Totland Park in Berkeley. I was trying to land a pretty big job via conference call and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to have the call while at the playground. In my defense I think that was the only time the AD was available but ...

Everything was going great and the client was on the phone as well and the concept was actually cool and something I wanted to do when in the corner of my eye I see my youngest child fall off the swing and land on her stomach. She is 3 1/2 and starts balling. I run over and pick her and see that she is fine. She has had the wind knocked out of her and is just a little freaked out. So I am trying to hold her in one arm and cover the mouth piece with the other. It is not working well and everyone on the call wants to know what is going on and I reassure everyone she is fine and will stop screaming any minute.

I look at her and tell her she needs to stop crying. This of course does nothing but make her cry louder. So here I am in this jam. I want to stay on the phone to land the big tuna but I also have this distressed child. So I do what father's have done since we all lived in caves. I put her down and walked away. And then.... the looks started. The Berkeley moms at the park were so appalled by what I had done that all they could do is look at me with their squinty eyes and hemp baby slings.

Looking back would I do it again? Probably not. I should have just called them all back later or not had the call at the park in the first place. But when you are out in the wild hunting wearing nothing but a bear skin thong your judgment sometimes gets a little clouded.


Darrell Eager said...

You must have been wearing the thong on your head.

Jeff Singer said...

Looks like I'm going to need to put CPS on speed dial with all these bay area photo blogs I've been reading:


Bruce DeBoer said...

Well? Did you get it?

If you did, then you can always say to yourself, "I had to kill that mastodon to feel the family. If I didn't they would cry louder.

That too has been something us men have been saying since the dawn of time.

baddadgoodphotographer said...

I too was recently in the unfortunate situation of having a conference call for a potential big ad job while at the park with my kids. I told my rep it was not a good idea, but the photographer I was bidding against was a total charming childless hipster, who I knew was giving the conference call his all....he was a master at such things. So rather than not speak to the a.d. at all, I tried to begin the call.

When my kids realized I was trying to multi-task, they began pursueing me at the park, shouting my name as loud as they could. I reacted by walking away from them as fast as I could, trying to keep them within view, but out of earshot....earshot of the potential client.

The call was a disaster: the a.d. didn't have kids, the photog I was bidding against had no kids, it was a total uphill battle trying to lead my life, raise the children and pretend that I'm Terry Richardson, taking a moment to snort blow off a model's back while I take the conference call.

In the end, miraculously, I got the job. It was simply a matter of my work being more appropriate for the gig. We are shooting the job as I write this.

Cocktails at 11:30? Sure, no problems, I'm there. Conference call over Thanksgiving dinner? Sure, no conflict, I'm available. Honey, I need to review this casting asap, can you take the kids to school today? Oh, reschedule the shoot on my anniversary? I'm open!


Douglas said...

...still struggling to get past mental image of you in a bear skin thong....