One of Brooke’s members has asked me on a few occasions to post more about our shoots, and specifically to explain the backstories of the zipsets. I think maybe he imagines I’ll have juicy details about how the models walk around naked or do some teasey stuff we don’t record. Some of the models do that, but I’ll probably suck at talking about it. At worst, I aggravate Brooke, and at best, she has about as much interest in me as a house cat does in a stamp collection. So if you had erotic expectations, I apologize in advance for disappointing you. I don’t have any work stories about seduction. But I’ll give this a try anyway, and see what I can remember. I’ll start by telling a story of when Brooke and I wanted to kill each other. It involves body paint, energy drink, and a full bladder.
THE WORLD CUP ZIPSET STORY
It’s hard to come up with enough ideas to fill out a multi-day shoot. That’s the secret reason why we’re always asking fans for suggestions on Twitter beforehand. We’ll do a brainstorm planning session, and there might be one or two ideas that pop up out that we’re excited to try, but then the rest of the list is a struggle. The sets inevitably slump toward the obvious choices, like holiday themes.
The World Cup zipset was probably the most far-flung, WAY ahead-of-time set we ever planned. The most recent World Cup took place this past summer in Brazil, but for some reason we shot a zipset for it in 2012 in Seattle.
The idea was to paint the U.S. National Team uniform on Brooke instead of clothes, similar to the way Sports Illustrated does painted-on bikinis. I bought a paint gun and an air compressor, body paints, soccer cleats, shinguards and a U.S. ball. Then I used a razor to slice out the logo stencils from a sheet of plastic laminate. After we had these props sourced, the rest seemed straightforward; we’d just tape off the edges and spray on the clothes.
On the morning of the shoot; Brooke cracked her usual can of Full Throttle to try to stimulate interest in modeling, and I tooled around with the airbrush gun until I kind of got the hang of it. Understandably, Brooke didn’t want any paint blasted internally, so she cut out a sliver of yellow electrical tape and covered the slot downstairs. The color didn’t match the uniform, so we had to spray the tape once it was on. This essentially sealed her up with tape and paint.
It turned out that tape was the easiest thing to turn white. I didn’t know this beforehand, but white bodypaint requires coat after coat, otherwise you get streaks when it dries, and the pink of the skin underneath appears in ugly patches. We started on the white shorts, and I tried to make them look real.
Two hours later, I was still painting shorts. The Full Throttle was gone. I was annoyed with the uneven spray and the mechanics of the gun, and Brooke was tired of standing completely still and getting hit with cold air. Above all, we both had the sense of the day slipping away on this bodypaint sidetrack. We were behind schedule now, and not only had we not started shooting yet, we hadn’t even finished the uniform.
Eventually Brooke gave me the bad news: she had to pee. Energy drinks do that to everybody, maybe even faster than coffee. We tried to figure out the best way she could relieve it without destroying the paint, but in the end, she decided to just hold it. But the full bladder was now a ticking clock.
I hurried through the rest of the jersey, sacrificed the stripe sash for the sake of time, and then dragged the tripod outside so we could shoot her on the grass with the soccer ball. It was early June, but in Seattle that doesn’t necessarily mean sunbathing weather.
When we finished that segment and moved back inside, Brooke tried to prompt me to wrap it up early. “So now we wash it off? What’s next.” I told her I still needed to set up inside, and there were more sections to shoot before we got to the shower scene. She wasn’t happy to hear that.
When I have assistants on a shoot, they can move ahead of me and get things plugged in, light the rooms, and prep the cameras. Sometimes I have that luxury. But this time it was just me as the production crew of one. So I hustled what we needed next upstairs, and started to prep the next shots.
The next scene was a stripease with a three camera set up, with front, profile, and birds eye views of the room. By the time I got all three cameras in position, the settings adjusted for the indoors, the focus pulled on each lens, and the lights hidden, another half hour had passed. Brooke’s pee-break was now an urgent situation. Every minute that went by where I didn’t hear a toilet flush in the other room, I knew she was increasingly pissed. And so I rushed through the set up as fast as I could. Hopping from camera to camera to tweak the settings to the light and then make them universal across all three got my heart racing, and I bombed out my shirt. When Brooke came in the room and suggested that the next scene should be shorter version of what we’d planned, I snapped at her, she snapped back, and then we had a full-throttled argument. Why wouldn’t she just remove the tape and pee, and we’d repaint? Why didn’t I have the lights set up in advance? Why had we wasted so much time on bodypaint? I think they were all fair points.
In the end, Brooke shot this entire video having to pee her brains out, but holding it in. Two years later the US team went on to shock the world by escaping the “Group of Death” with Germany, Ghana and Portugal and advanced into the round of 16, and Brooke finally peed.