That one time I thought I might try to audition to be Rihanna's tour photographer: Part 1

I'm sitting here at my computer thinking about just how short I could try to keep this story, but I really can't guarantee that this won't be a TL;DR post. I just feel that I need to get my experience written down as complete as possible so that I don't ever forget that one time I thought I might try to audition to be Rihanna's tour photographer, but instead became a target for a scam. Luckily, I didn't lose out on anything. This post won't exactly be about my experience auditioning to be a photographer for Rihanna's upcoming Diamonds World Tour. It will be about my experience dealing with either utmost incompetency or a not very well thought out scam.

This is how the story begins.

Last month, I was scouring the Craigslist ads for photography gigs and jobs. An ad for a female photographer showed up and the pay was $500/day, calling for a concert tour photographer for Rihanna's Diamonds World Tour. The US shows would be spread throughout March-May, and a photographer was needed to capture behind the scenes photos, videos, and concert images. The instructions were to apply to I applied with my standard pitch and resume and hoped for the best.

Last week, I received a phone call from a fellow who said he was a representative for Live Nation. We'll call him JB. He told me that there was going to be a test shoot/audition along with 30 other photographers happening in Las Vegas in three days. The accommodations would be paid for, and the pay for the test shoot was $475/day for three days. I was told that we would be tested on how well we photograph and record video as if it were a real tour date. Our behavior would be monitored, and we weren't allowed to interact with the other photographers because they didn't want any influence to our work. JB also said that Rihanna wants people who are representing her or simply around her to dress cute. Thus, we'd have to wear appropriate "cute" clothing, such as shorts, skirts, etc. Fair enough, I thought. I was told to contact the original email address that I had applied to the gig for - {let's call this RDT@LVN) and I would be given more specific details. I told him I would think about it.

Travelling to Vegas by myself in such a short time? Having to dress cute? Especially while I'm working with my camera? Dressing comfortably and having appropriate footwear is my main concern whenever I'm working with my camera, since I know how heavy all my gear gets and I'm standing around for 12 hours. Being gone for three months? At first, I didn't plan on emailing back to confirm my spot. After a night out with my friends, who convinced me that this wasn't something I could pass up,  they decided that they would go with me. At 11PM that night, I emailed RDT@LVN and said I could go and asked for more information. I got an automated email reply thanking me for my email and that I would be contacted by a representative during normal business hours. Well crap, I thought, maybe I've emailed too late and now everyone has left the office and won't be able to get back to me until the day I'm supposed to be in Vegas already.

If it didn't work out, at least I'd be in Vegas with my friends - Ben and Tyler.
On Saturday (the next day), I tried emailing RDT@LVN again and tried calling the number I was contacted by JB with and left a message. On Sunday, I still got no response. Looks like it won't be happening, I thought. I still had Monday morning left to be contacted, so I planned for my friends and I to head to Las Vegas at around 10am on Monday, and we booked a room at Excalibur for two nights. Chances seemed slim, but I thought I might as well be prepared to go in case they contacted me last minute.

On Monday morning at around 8AM, I received a call from JB from a New York number. I explained what happened and that I had received no instruction about the test shoot in Las Vegas, but that I was ready to leave, though I would be late because I had been waiting to be contacted back. I could sense impatience from JB, and after repeating information that I had already heard from the first time he contacted me, I received an email from RDT@LVN with detailed information about the test shoot. Pertinent information I needed included two contact numbers (JB and AJ), which hotel to book our room (The D Hotel), two official forms of identification, what clothes to bring, and a rough itinerary of January 7-9.

JB asked me to email him a photo of myself so he would know who he would be talking to. I also sent him a link to my concert/set photography work, to which he replied "Thanx. I remember your work now. I really like the Big Sean shoot. That the look I am looking for. Can't wait to meet you." Awesome, I thought.

I packed my clothes as fast as I could, printed photocopies of my forms of ID, and left for Las Vegas with Ben and Tyler. As instructed by the information email, I texted the number listed for JB in the email telling him I was leaving for Vegas and I would arrive approximately at 2pm. Who is this? the number asked. I told him who I was, and he said "Book the room and the info to the office. They need that confirmed b4 we meet." So while I was driving, Tyler helped me book a room at the D Hotel in Las Vegas and waited for a confirmation email. I never got one, but my friend who booked the room for me with his computer sent me a screenshot of the confirmation online. I sent the image to RDT@LVN and explained that the D hotel's email system was down and that once I received the confirmation email for the room I just booked, I would send it to them. I contacted JB via his Live Nation email

I arrived in Vegas around 2pm. The info email said there would be a meeting at 1pm at "Meeting Room 12" at the D hotel, but since I had told JB I would be late, I asked him via text if I should meet up with him first before checking into my hotel room or go straight to the meeting room. I was told to "chec in the meet with me." I offered Tyler to just drop me off, but he insisted that he stay with me. Thank goodness. I arrived in the D hotel and asked where "Meeting Room 12" was. I was given quizzical looks from the front desk and told me I probably meant the meeting room on the 12th floor. I went up there, and the floor was completely empty, except for a facility manager named Shawn and a guy practicing his bartending skills. I thought I had gone to the wrong place, so I asked the facility manager if there had been a meeting. We went back down to the lobby and talked to Josh, the events manager, who confirmed that there had been a meeting but it was probably over by now. This entire time, I am emailing JB and trying to call him. I received no email, and the phone number I had been texting would ring once, pause for a minute, and then have a busy tone. I tried contacting the second number we were given in the information email via text and calling, but I received no response, and when I tried to call, there wouldn't even be a ring.

This is where it all goes down hill.

Actually, this is going to be way too long to be one single post. I'm going to have to split it into two parts.

>> Part 2 <<

1 comment:

  1. Ah! I have to read part two now!! You really know how to build the suspense haha
    I've seen so many similar posts to the one you found - how scary!