Dolls of Decadence’s designer makes directorial debut

Me with model: Jemilla King. Image: Keddy Davies

 Against all the odds, I successfully managed my directorial debut on the 23rd/24th July 2011, in a 2 day video & photo shoot for my clothing line: Dolls of Decadence.

Not only was I in control of the artistic and creative direction of the shoot. I created the concept, styled the shoot and sourced the team for the project.
The idea and reason behind creating the concept for the shoot was to present the essence of what Dolls of Decadence is. There has been some confusion as to what the label represents- which is of course a high end high street brand and not a dance company or a clothing line just making dance wear….yes, yes, yes- that is what it was, and as it is no longer that, the change I felt needed to be addressed, in a way that no more misconceived ideas could linger.
So that was the mission: to showcase the brand for all it is in a video of about 5 minutes! Gee- I surely did not anticipate everything else.
Despite months of preparation and planning, the project was plagued with a lot of short comings, which threatened to sink the whole operation.
Now, if I was a God fearing person I would say: “The devil is a liar”….and that, I am, so I guess sticking up my two fingers to Mr Satan and saying ‘you’re a liar- you lied when you said the show would not go on’. Admittedly after, having to replace at least three quarters of the team I nearly did get to the point where I thought this is a disaster, throwing in the towel and hugging my pillow in tears.
Within weeks of compiling the team for the shoot: 5 dancers, 2 make up artists, 2 camera men, 2 photographers, 5 models, 1 set assistant and 1 hairstylist (wrapped in a dancer) I firstly lost a dancer for reasons I am not entirely sure about, but thankfully, the talent and determination of the lead choreographer and Managing director of the dance company I had enlisted; Tanya Anderson of Fierce Productionz was able to replace the dancer with a member of her team and things seemed to progress further without any more hiccups.
M.U.A: Sukhi with Jemilla
Unfortunately, though the hiccups returned- by the shed loads. And one by one I started losing members of the team. The make up artists had to be replaced at the last minute, due to unforeseen circumstances. I lost 3 dancers- one at the actual shoot! So the remaining 2: Hollie Victoria (2nd choreographer) and Sinead Cannon remained. Which, meant the pressure was ON!! Especially, on Sinead, bless her- who delivered 10 folds, not only picking up the choreography in one rehearsal, but performing a solo piece she devised herself in accordance to the brief.
Also, one by one the models cancelled their availability for the shoot, all for understandably legitimate reasons, leaving: Jemilla King and Brazilian model Riana Machado.
It became a race against time to ensure that there were enough artists in the team to shoot and rectify the remains of the battered concept.
Still the problems did not stop there, unknown to myself, one of the photographers (who I will not stoop to the low level of naming and shaming, despite my massive urge to do so, for his unprofessional-ism and not having the courtesy to respond to my numerous calls and messages to inform me he was backing out) had somewhere between receiving the brief and being told that it would not be possible to get a face-2-face group meeting for the team, with so many of us not being locally placed- had decided he no longer wished to work with me. Even though, he had approached me to collaborate. I can’t place my finger on what his problem was with the project, considering his initial response to the brief….so -onto the next one! That being the talent that is Keddy Davies- a photographer whose work I am not sure, if he is aware is as spectacular as it is; agreed to come on board about 4 hrs.- or less before the shoot on the 24th July. The other photographer: Sian Robertson, who I also must applaud and mention, still arrived, not in the best of health to cover the photography for day one.-23rd July.
Check out the sneaky peak of one of Sian’s images captured of model, Riana Machado.
I am not even going to go into the problems with the hotel staff not allowing the team into the hotel room or the winos and addicts who badgered us throughout the on location shoot….but hey I- well, we managed to pull it off. And I cannot be more pleased with the great results, I have seen so far and can not wait to see all the finished results, which I am sure can be seen in the behind the scenes images, captured by Keddy. . Like the movie titled ‘Replacement Killers’ we ‘REPLACED’ and we f@#!ing ‘KILLED’ it!
So to all of you, who helped me to achieve a successful project I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH: Paul Smith (MistaSmiff)- the lead camera man, who listened to my frustrated whingeing about the whole ordeal, Mikael Nembhard- camera man 2, Elijah Philips- backstage videographer, Sukhi Sandu, Sumi and Hannah Isherwood- make up artists, Jemilla King, Riana Machado- models, Hollie Victoria, Sinead Cannon- dancers, Chloe Evitts- hairstylist, Sian Robertson, Keddy Davies- photographers and Kerlisha Greenway- on set assistance.
(Sigh) Those days spent in performing arts world thought me well….hell or high water, the show must go on!