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June 16, 2015

Inside the Shoot

What is it like to be at an emmy magazine photo shoot?

Melissa Byers

Magazine covers are glossy, slick, beautiful.

So, how do they get that way? What’s it like at a cover shoot for a major magazine?  Come inside the cover shoot for the issue #5 of emmy magazine with Liev Schreiber.

Cover shoots take place in many different locales. Some are at photography studios, or on film or movie sets. Some are in warehouses or even out on the street, depending on the subject and the mood the photographer is looking to create.  This particular shoot was at the home/studio of photographer Jack Guy in Malibu.

The mere name “Malibu” suggests blue sea and sky, and this venue lived up to that image.

On a perfect California day, we shot photos in Guy’s perfect Malibu beach house.  The sign on the front door asks that visitors remove their shoes before entering. Once inside, you see why. The floors are a gleaming, white-painted wood. Walking down the white hall to the studio space, you are greeted by a wall of windows opening onto the blue Pacific. Well, you will be, once you can see past the lighting backdrops.

You hear laughter, chatter, and the constant click-click-click of the camera. Schreiber, dressed in a suit, is sitting in a director’s chair (white, of course) in front of the panoramic view, joking and keeping everyone entertained.

He is telling stories from the many sets he has graced, riffing from one to the next as Guy shoots away. Occasionally, Guy will suggest, “Turn a bit to your left,” or “Lean forward,” and Schreiber cheerfully complies.

Eventually, Guy decides he has enough of Schreiber in this suit with this background, and he suggests that Schreiber change to another outfit and that they get some more casual shots on the lanai.

While Schreiber consults with the shoot’s stylist and has his makeup touched up, Guy’s assistants scurry about, moving pieces to set up the next bunch of shots. They clear the lanai of a rug that might be too busy, check to see if they need to bounce the light or if Mother Nature is doing OK on her own.

A few of the people at the shoot who are there for reasons other than those directly involved with the photography  (Schreiber’s publicist, the magazine’s publicist, this writer) take the break to munch on the snacks provided or to take photos of the astonishing view or selfies to prove that they actually were in this incredible place. 

When Schreiber comes out in a sweater and jeans and moves onto the lanai to continue shooting, a video crew working for the digital team, who will post the behind-the-scenes video above for the Television Academy web site, arrive to see where they might set up. They, too, check their lighting, placement of cameras, and backgrounds while they wait for the photos to be finished.

After a windy few minutes out on the lanai, photographer and subject come back in for one more set-up in the light-filled hall of the house.

Again, Schreiber consults with the stylist while Guy and his crew set up the lighting. The stylist chooses a shiny green jacket for Schreiber, but he decides it’s just not him, so they opt for a t-shirt instead. While that goes on, the video crew sets up for the video interview that will take place at the end of the day.

Through it all, Schreiber is friendly and professional. This is all part of being the star of a popular television series like Ray Donovan

Schreiber’s long career has encompassed theater, film, and television, but this is his first role as the star of a series. Now going into its third season, the Showtime series has brought Schreiber out of workaday actor status and into being a household name. Yet, in fulfilling his obligations as a series star, he retains his down-to-earth demeanor.

Finally, the still photography for the magazine is finished, and Schreiber comes into the set-up for the video that will accompany the release of the magazine on the Television Academy web site. It has been a long day, and he is tired, but he musters the energy to answer his interviewer’s questions. He is thoughtful and erudite, speaking easily about his co-stars, his series, and his background.

At the end of a long day, everyone parts company, knowing that they have a lot of great material for both print and digital media. In the next few weeks, editors will go through the photographs and film to choose what the public will see, the best of the photographs and video from the day.

To see the results, visit our cover story at televisionacademy.com, see the video above, and look for emmy magazine  on newsstands now and available here.

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