i went to new york for the first time on march 11th, 2013. i was working for my good friend, chris brank on a shoot in millburn, new jersey. before the shoot started, we had some down time to spend in new york. like thousands of others, we ventured through the city with nothing more than excited hearts. after a slice of greasy, new york “za”(pizza), we made our way around the city that never sleeps. we were about 100 feet from the entrance of central park and it was then, in the midst of a crowd in a crosswalk, i made eye contact with shia lebeouf. watch the rest of the story in this video by my friend michael gibbons. check out his site here: http://michaelgibbonsmedia.com
granted, shia labeouf is one of my favorite actors and, in my opinion, a very underrated one at that. the dude always delivers! that being said, i never want to treat people in the industry with a paparazzi type welcome. no one likes that, especially shia. paparazzi doesn’t even let him enjoy his coffee at starbucks without a photoshoot. when i saw him, he could tell i knew who he was. josh, michael, chris and i stopped in our tracks and they looked at me with curiosity, “what are you gonna do?”. like any good tourist, we all had our cameras in hand, like a cowboy with his gun. i handed josh the camera because i knew if i approached shia with a camera, it would attract attention and i’d look like a papa with a razzi. (most paparazzi dudes don’t look like your average, white, american. i look a little darker than your average cracker.) there’s certain times where you shouldn’t approach someone ‘famous,’ but if you do, don’t fangirl them. they’re real people too, they pee just like we do. they have jobs, and in this case, shia’s really good at his. anybody can spot a person with an agenda, especially selfish agendas. now back to the issue at hand. he had his hood on and he was walking fast. i had no idea what i was gonna say but i just wanted to encourage him somehow. i truly just wanted him to know that i care about him, apart from movies.
after catching up with him, i called his name, he turned and took off his hoodie and said, “what’s up man?” as he said that, he saw chris about 20 feet behind me with a (C100) camera over his shoulder. he quickly pointed at chris and went into defense mode with, “i don’t know who you are!”. i chimed in with, “he’s with me.” which cooled him down and chris pointed to his phone, reassuring shia that we weren’t the razzi. i told shia that his audition video for the orphans play was awesome. i felt like that got his attention because he had just uploaded it to vimeo about 3 weeks before. (thanks isaiah stratton. shia’s hour long auditon video for the play orphans: https://vimeo.com/58326220) he humbly responded with. “thanks man. i appreciate that.”. after that, he grabbed my hand in rocky balboa fashion and said let’s grab a photo real quick before this causes any attention. i never planned on getting a picture but the quick gunslinger that chris brank is, had his phone ready and took that moment in time and made it into one of those cool picture things. with a quick handshake and a request for him to scream, “OPTIMUS!” we parted ways. (i’m kidding, i didn’t ask that.)
it was really cool to meet shia but my heart is always heavy for people in the industry. they go through a lot of bull. at the end of the day, credits don’t matter, people do. they’re toyed with, stalked, and used to no end. granted, only my toes are wet in the industry that is film but what i’ve seen is, most of those types of people need solid, loving friends, not more fans. how many people ask for things from those guys, instead of truly asking how they are. your agenda will be known, they can see right through the crap. make your agenda honorable. give with your life, don’t take. i’m here on this earth to love Jesus and love people. i hope and pray that i’ll always go against the grain and love those guys instead of trying to use them for my own, selfish sake.
photos by michael gibbons