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No, I Didn't Get Paid

April 16, 2018

I looked outside the open chopper door window, as we leaned our aircraft forward at 110+ mph.


Only 20 feet below us, a neon green trimmed Porsche 918 Spyder ripped down a closed road approaching 200 mph. I peaked through the lens of my camera, and tried to maintain a steady beam of focus on the bat out of hell.


"Did you get that?" A voice mixed with static echoed over the radio.


"Roger, sir. Launch another." I replied.


"Copy. Here comes the Huracán."


"Send it."


Our bird made a high G bank left, and moved back to its original position so we could catch the god of storm as it brought thunder down this Utah stretch of road.


"There it is!" My photographer behind me pointed out the white streak.


The helicopter edged forward hoping to catch up to the Lamborghini, but it wasn't going to happen since this Italian sports car was far more powerful than our helo.


"It's gone. Tell them to slow down!" I advised through the radio.


"Sounds good. We're all coming back now." The driver of the Huracán replied.


The Porsche 918 Spyder we raced


Our chopper dipped down and hovered over the street just barely high enough to fit an exotic car underneath.


Suddenly, an entourage of supercars appeared in formation over the horizon. They wasted no time approaching my feet, and sped underneath our hovering bird at speeds I couldn't imagine.


Watching exotics releasing their full potential right beneath us had me hoping the pilot truly had everything under control. It was quite the stunt.


Our video shoot ended up resembling the intro sequence to any Need For Speed game, complete with supercars that look like fantasy, and police cars racing around to keep things under control. It was a moment I'll never forget.


But as I told this story to some friends and family, the same question kept popping up:


"Did you get paid?"


It's as if the whole experience wasn't worth it unless there was monetary compensation for my time.


The helicopter? Yeah, it was close


Yeah, I've been shooting cars for a few years now and typically get hired out for stuff like this. But if I said I was selling an experience where you got to fly in a helicopter low level over cars at max speed, would you pay to be there? I would.


Which is why my answer to anyone who asked if I got paid was, "does it even matter?"

A few weeks ago, I gave my take on the great debate of getting paid in exposure.


Some people just can't imagine doing anything considered "work" unless there's a dollar sign at the end.


For me, it's all about the experience. If I'm still making enough to eat, and you've got something on the table that's greater than anything I've ever done before, then count me in. 


If you can get the experience and get paid, that's icing on the cake. But if your client can only offer flight time and passenger seats in Italian cars, take it. Wouldn't we rather be rich in experiences than rich in dollars?


My photographer, AJ Lee


That sounds cliche. So let me make it real. If I said, "my rate is $blabla per hour," they would have said, "we already hired our crew. This is an invite if you want to come out."


And then my Sunday would have been spent watching The Office instead of living Fast & Furious. I would have been too stubborn to recognize the value of an opportunity while being blinded by my own pride. I'll have more to leverage to get paid next time, but frankly I'm not even worried about it.


Netflix is lame. Lamborghinis are dope af. End of discussion.

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