Joe Pugliese Maximizes Efficiency for Netflix and Christopher Guest's 'Mascots'
If you’re unfamiliar with Christopher Guest’s work you have to know that he perfected the mockumentary genre. His films ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ and ‘Waiting for Guffman’ are timeless classics, and each following film has brought the form to a new level. The writer / director has brought with him a cast of actors who find a home in almost all of his work, and his latest film for Netflix, ‘Mascots’ is no different. Joe Pugliese was on hand to help Guest and Netflix create promotional materials for the piece, something that Joe does all the time. The cast of a Guest project is unique since the improvisational form requires them to live all the way inside their characters and photographing them is a different experience. “They are already in character, they know how to be in character,” says Joe. “They know what their character would or wouldn’t do which makes it a lot easier than photographing someone who is not in character, who needs direction and thinks about how they’ll look.”
To create all the assets that Joe needed for the press surrounding ‘Mascots,’ he and his team had to take advantage of every moment they had with the actors. In addition to shooting for traditional marketing, they also created tiny videos for digital collector’s cards. There was a lot of work to do with each subject, but Joe was able to complete it by maximizing productivity. “It was a bit of an assembly line. We had to do the motion, then we had to do publicity stills, then we had to do two poster concepts, then we had to do a shot on grey seamless for other needs. So we really were taking each persona and pulling them through. It was really efficient that way.” He did all this while the actors were filming the movie, squeezing these comprehensive shoots into their breaks. It was a lot to juggle, but something Joe has done in the past.
Joe has worked with Christopher Guest before, the first time was about 15 years ago when he worked on ‘A Mighty Wind.’ It was an incredibly collaborative process where Joe created thirty different fake album covers for the music-centric film. “I’ve worked with him many times, so this was the latest in being able to contribute to his movies,” says Joe. “It was really great. He’s always been a comedic hero of mine. I grew up completely obsessed with Spinal Tap, so meeting him and working with him and working with these actors was pretty spectacular.” Working with a hero is one thing, but collaborating with them brings it to a whole new level.