This is the unabridged email conversation between Jake at MBP and photographer Abbie Warnock. See the abridged version here.
I know women hate it when we men blame things on their monthly cycle. So I wont actually say that the drastic unprovoked change in tone was as a result of anyone involved's monthly shedding of the uterine lining... but, if not that? I gotta wonder. Her name is Abbie Warnock.
October 28 at 1:54am: Jake to Abbie
So hi... you're a photographer right. If that's the case you're in luck... oh wait, I mean I am in luck. I checked out your webpage and Calvin and I like your style.
So, we're facebook friends which hopefully means you read or have read our blog, however, lately I am surprised with how many people don't.
Anyway, if you do read, you know that we are completely anonymous. Our identities are the topic of hundred's of girls across the countries twittersations and bloggersastions.
We are thinking of making a Calender. One that would be a funny way of saying, ha we're anonymous!
Our idea is having pictures of like body parts, like the ear and side of the back of the head with something going on in the foreground. Or a picture of our roommates shiny clubbing shirt crumpled up on the ground by his bed... stuff like that.
Clearly, because we must remain anonymous, we wouldn't be able to do a photoshoot, so we thought maybe we should try someone with a bunch of stock photo's that is creative and can figure stuff out...
So, what do you think? We could bounce some idea's off each other, we would be happy to give you a lot of creative license.
We have little to offer, as we are poor RM's and our blog is just now taking off. However it is really taking off, we are getting more than 1000 hits a day. Most of them local, so if this is something you are interested in we would then obviously have your info all over the calender and link to your website from the blog or whatever.
Oct 29 at 7:05pm: Abbie to Jake
I did get your message, sorry, the last 24 hours have been really hectic and I'm just getting to followup with people over the last 48.
Good to hear from you. I'd like to know a little bit more about your overall concept. I've had people with prospects like this run them past me before, and I gotta know the whole idea and if it's something I can get behind. I'm not a beefcake photographer by any means, and if it's anything like the mormon shirtless calendar dudes, I just can't be bothered, ha ha.
I do have an hourly rate, and rarely take trades, unless it's for something that I think is worthwhile. If you'd like info on my pricing structure, let me know, but I would like to know more about what you're doing.
October 29 at 7:15pm: Jake to Abbie
Thanks for getting back to me... no, not a beefcake thing at all... Is there a time I could call you? I have a feeling concept and vision would be better discussed then written. Probably one conversation would be enough to decide one way or the other if it's something you'd be into.
via my mobile
November 3rd at 6:24pm: Jake to Abbie
Okay, I will try to be succinct, because from your responses so far I am gathering (incorrectly perhaps) that you're not really interested in this.
We would like to make a calender available to our readers. We want our calender to be cool and stylish not just a silly-hey-the-anonymous-blog-has-clever-anonymous-pictures kinda thing. That's where you come in. We have actually been introduced, Abbie, not that we know each other extremely well, like we probably wouldn't say hi if we saw each other at Rumbi's, but we'd recognize each other. However, I know many of the people on your website very well and we have been real facebook friends for a long long time. So I thought of you first thing because I have seen and admired your work for a long time. You definitely have a unique style that doesn't look like every other drab cookie cutter photography I see, especially around Utah. Plus your stuff fits more into our demographic of younger readers.
The idea behind the calender is more than featuring the anonymous guys of the Mormon Bachelor Pad. More so just showing the bachelor life, with some dating stuff, and funny things from our blog. It will probably be a mix of portrait and still life pictures. I know you do mostly portrait stuff, but surely a lot can be done without showing the actual face. There are all kinds of things: silhouettes, objects covering the face, from the shoulders down... you know whatever. You are the creative one. I don't know if I'm describing it well so, below I will attempt to describe some of the ideas for pictures that we have. I have attached some sketches (they're terrible and will probably do more damage than help, but who knows)
(1) Back of a guys head, maybe half or whole perhaps over the shoulder or just close up of the head. In the background girls can be seen walking away (or toward) like he is checking them out. Girls could be frolicking or doing whatever.
(2) Guy laying on couch sleeping, his hand is out-stretched still clutching the xbox remote or old school Nintendo remote. Hand in fore ground is covering most of his face. Maybe one closed eye is all that can be seen or something.
(3) Very close up of guys face with scruff (you have one pretty close to this but you can see the guys eyes) This comes from a description of our blog.
(4) Girl scratching a guys back in a church pew, from behind or side. Can't see his face. Also a quote from our blog.
(5) Guy on date, or by himself, inside a car doing the air drums. His drumming hands could be covering his face.
(6) Soccer legs, with Jake written in faded Sharpy on the cleats, probably doing a defense wall with ball and other player in background or something.
(7) One of the character goes clubbing a lot and we often make fun of his shiny shirts. So, a still life with a purple or blueish shiny clubbing shirt crumpled up by itself or next to jeans by the side of the bed, as though he threw it off just before climbing into bed. We visualize this one on a hardwood floor because that's what he actually has in his room.
(8) A reverse "entourage/reservoir dogs pose" picture with all 5 roommates full body walking away from the camera in just regular type clothes.
(9) Still life of garbage can in kitchen, ridiculously overfilled, displaying the balancing act bachelors often do with the garbage can.
(10) Snuggling behavior... surely you know all about this one Abbie, but no faces, just intertwined limbs, male and female, maybe arm scratching, or spooning on a couch (preferably a cheap couch)
(11) Pink unitard w/ hood halloween costume, perhaps sitting on porch w/jack-o-lantern.
(12) A guy holding up a huge wad of tangled Christmas lights, Like seriously huge, which - wait for it - covers his face.
(13) An old house (victorian or craftsmen) at night with no lights on. To showcase how no one is home on a friday or saturday night.
(14) A couple kissing on park swingset awkwardly holding together chains.
(15) A male hand playing with a girls hair while she try's to sleep (I know it sounds creepy unless you read our most recent blog post)
(16) Three or 4 guys on their cell phones, staggered, covering their faces.
Abbie, these are just idea's, the sky is the limit, maybe you hate some of them. If you kind of get the idea, and have some other idea's that would be awesome. We would probably only need 12 pictures... I guess we could do 15 that's popular for calenders. So tell me if you think you could see yourself working on it. If not please just let me know soon, and don't worry, I know that you're busy and kind of a big deal so if you're not into it, I'm sure I can find someone less talented and hungrier.
Thanks for even taking the time to read this.
November 5 at 2:30pm: Abbie to Jake
Sorry, the last 48 hours have been a big runaround from utah valley to downtown SLC, so I couldn't reply until I got a good solid chunk of time to go over all of this and give it my undivided attention.
Those are all cool ideas, and I could definitely produce those images for you. I need to know what your budget is for this thing, though. When you're dealing with 12-15 different photo concepts and a photographer that charges per hour of shooting, there are two options:
1) You pay a day work rate for an entire day of shooting so that we can go from concept to concept throughout the course of 1 day
2) You break up the concepts into session groups, and pay an hourly rate for multiple days/sessions.
My hourly rate is $200 per hour of shooting, and my Full-Day Rate is $1200, and both include all of the following:
-Shooting the images at a location of choice.
-Clothing changes as you need them at no additional cost.
-Retouching on ALL of your images, everything gets the special treatment.
-Your images on a hi-resolution disc.
-A contact sheet of everything with ID numbers for easy reference.
-Digital Proofs available for download online from abbiewarnock.com.
-A document verifying your permission to print/copy your images anytime and anywhere for personal use.
-I also keep your shoot archived in my system, should you ever misplace your images/need another disc.
That may or may not be in your budget, which is understandable if it's not, but that's what we'd be looking at. If you do choose to go with another photographer, I would say to take into account how many calendars you expect to sell, at how much, and to make sure that their work is up to the task. That old phrase "You get what you pay for" is usually true in either direction, I've learned.
Keep me posted, and again, sorry this was a bit delayed, I didn't want to send a rushed response.
November 9 at 12:22pm: Jake to Abbie
More than anything I'm glad you were able to catch the vision... Criminy! You get paid more per hour then our attorney. Maybe I should forget about Law School and go into photography. Ha ha! That is definitely out of our budget right now. Unless I can some how get my Pell Grant to include it... :)
I will make a small counter offer even though if your are able to charge those rates you probably aren't in need of any the benefits I thought I could use to compel you to do this.
As you know I can't stop talking about all our hits, and our growth within the last 2 months goes up steadily by 150%. We have a marketing agency that has suggested we charge monthly for advertising on our blog. We are going to start doing that late November early December. So here's our counteroffer, we will give you $200 and 6 months of free advertising on our blog as well as 25% of all the calender profits.
That's the best I can do, and understand that probably wont work for you. I will look into another photographer while I wait to hear back. Are there any you would refer?
Or possibly we could make it some sort of contest on our blog for our readers who do photography.
Thanks so much for taking the time to look this over.
November 12 at 4:59pm: Abbie to Jake
I can do that. But I'll want to do a few different ads over the 6 months, is that workable?
Sorry this took a while to get back to you, I got really sick and am on the mend now.
November 12 at 6:43pm: Jake to Abbie
That is excellent!
So, we probably need to discuss details just so we're both clear. I want to make sure that you KNOW exactly what I THINK I know about what you are getting yourself into. Besides I was so worried about getting you to do this I'm not sure if I communicated very clearly.
-We (as in Calvin and Me) will not be meeting you in person or attending any "shoots"
-No male faces can be seen in any of the photo's, but pushing the envelope is encouraged
-It is perfectly okay to show the faces of any female figures in the photo's
-Our ads are going to be 125x125 spots on the side bar. Basically a button that will link to what ever you want. You can make it animated or stationary, and you can change it as often as you like, but you are responsible for making the buttons.
-We could make the button for you, but it would no doubt be one of the suckiest buttons ever.
So, after reading that, you've probably thought, well Jake, if we can't do [blank] then how can we do [blank]... but since I've never used a camera that cost more then $24 I don't know what those blanks are. Nor do I know what you will need from us. Models, Make-up, hair, props, pretty much all falls into our $200 calender budget. So I will await your response and hope you get feeling better.
If you want I can call you and we can discuss any issues you foresee?
November 12 at 6:56pm: Abbie to Jake
*I'm actually totally NOT ok with you two not attending the shoots. That is a recipie for miscommunication/surprise photos, and I've learned that lesson the hard way in the past. Either one or both of you attend the shoots with me and provide direction as to what you're looking for, or I don't shoot it. That's non-negotiable. Since there isn't going to be an art director, one of you needs to wear that hat.
Getting female faces in the shoots will require either referrals from you and/or model scouting by us, plus model releases for any of the girls involved, just an FYI.
Makeup, Hair, etc: This is up to you two. If you want to budget for it, great, but if not, it's up to you.
This sounds like something that we should sit down and talk about in person. I'll be in provo tomorrow for a surprise birthday party at 7, would you be around before or after that? I'm not really well enough to have a phone call tonight though, too sick/doped up for that just yet.
November 12 at 7:13pm: Jake to Abbie
Unfortunately Abbie the anonymous thing is pretty much the most important part of our blogs existence.
So, I will discuss with our attorney some sort of "non-disclosure agreement" that you would have to sign, to which even then I'm nervous about how enforceable that is. If our identities are revealed our blog is done for... So, let me discuss that with him tomorrow, because unless we feel 100% comfortable with what he says about it we may be at an impasse.
Where do you live because I'm in Salt Lake City and couldn't make it down to Provo very easily tomorrow.
Sorry, I know this anonymous thing is incredibly annoying! Get some rest and we can figure it out tomorrow.
November 13 at 11:08am: Jake to Abbie
Okay, so there is no way we can personally be at the shoots. Discussing even a hefty non-disclosure agreement with our attorney, that says something ridiculous like if "Abbie reveals our identities then she is personally liable for $500,000" those agreements are so difficult to enforce, and even though I doubt you would ever do and and probably could be trusted one just never knows, and with the potential at our door it's too big a deal for us to risk.
So, I know you said this was "non-negotiable" and if that's how it stands I will understand. However consider this: In my very first facebook message I mentioned giving you a great deal of creative license. What if YOU were our art director? I've seen your stuff online and know that you are creative and have an eye for things. I didn't just pick you out of a hat, I looked around. We would be willing to put a great deal of trust in you to get this done.
If someone said to you, "Abbie can you put together 15 pictures that showcase in a somewhat comical but stylish way the life of a single Mormon bachelor. With the only rule being that you cannot actually show the faces of any bachelors in the pictures." I am betting you would come up with a pretty good end product.
I am also guessing that we are far less high maintenance then whoever taught you that lesson the hard way in the past. We will most likely love whatever pictures you turn out.
So, I really think that discussing the project over the phone, and giving you fairly free reign that is understood (we can even put it in writing) beforehand could work out quite nicely.
If it is still no, then one other possibility is me finding an "art director" of sorts who can take the reigns. They would have the same alias type relationship as I have with you, but I guess they could take the blame if something wasn't liked... or something.
So, I will await your decision.
PS even if you half-assed this it would probably be better then the alternative.
November 13 at 2:19pm: Abbie to Jake
Wow. I've photographed famous people that've been less maintenance than you guys. You're spending more time talking to legal counsel than you are getting projects along, this is blowing me away. If you're legal-contract-concerned about me revealing your identities like you seem to be, I gotta admit that you're being really pretentious. I have bigger fish to fry and things to worry about other than this.
This isn't worth the run-around to me, and at this point, it certainly isn't worth the price and "perks." Living in a town as small as provo and dating/writing about it like you are and will be, it's an inevitability that you'll be found out sooner or later, and it won't be by Abbie Warnock. Oh, and for the record, my myspace blog has had 290,000 hits in the past two years. People surf. It happens.
I won't be working on this with you. When you figure out how to act like professionals, you can work with professionals.
November 17 at 5:36am: Jake to Abbie
That's a shame Abbie.