A Day in the Life of a Paparazzo

MassimoFabio-2064Last Friday afternoon was interesting to say the least. First of all, it was dumping snow (it snowed 4 feet since last week!) and we got a call to see if we could come up to the Vail Hospital to shoot a renowned Italian soccer player who was flying in to see Dr. Steadman.

Great! we thought. That sounds like fun.

We arrived at the hospital at 1:30 to meet “Massimo” the New York correspondent for La Gazetta dello Sport, an Italian sports newspaper. Massimo was waiting in the lobby and joining him was another Italian Television reporter from Sky Italia, “Fabio”, also waiting to shoot Giuseppe Rossi.

Rossi was flying in to Eagle Airport and was due to arrive shortly. So we wait.

And we wait.

What we didn’t know was that there are strict laws in place protecting patients rights, a government regulation called HIPAAA. We are not allowed to shoot any patient without their prior consent. No problem, we thought. I’m sure that has all been arranged.

Apparently not.

So here we are, watching two Italian reporters hashing it out with the hospital security. Finally, the security agreed that we were not allowed to bring the cameras out until Rossi and his team doctor gave us permission.


So we wait.

Every taxi that pulled up to the hospital got our immediate attention. As taxis come & go, no Rossi.

Finally, they arrive. Now let me note that this is a very famous person in Italy, who got injured 5 days before and could have a career-ending injury. Naturally he is not in the best mood and must feel very nervous about this visit.

Massimo & Fabio eagerly rush to greet them, and ask for permission to interview & shoot a picture.


Oh well, we thought. It was a fun experience to try but we understood. No loss.

Not good enough for our two reporters. On the phone was Fabio to Italy to the team manager. After much going back & forth in (heated) Italian, he hangs up. “The manager (PR person) in Italy will be calling them in the Steadman Clinic.”

Within 10 minutes the doctor that accompanied Rossi was in the lobby speaking Italian with both reporters. We are waiting in the sidelines, wondering what’s going on.

We’re good! They will let us shoot!

O.K. perfect! Getting the shot in Steadman’s office will be great with all the famous athletes jerseys on the wall, we’re thinking.

Next thing we know, the hospital security guard arrives & says it will be 2-3 hours before we can shoot because they are waiting on use of the MRI.

Hurry up & wait. Oh well. O.K.

So we got a quick bite, saw a client and returned to the hospital. Massimo had the same thought we did. What if they finish early? We don’t want to miss them. So we both arrived back well within our time slot.

Now I must say, visiting with Massimo & Fabio was a real pleasure. Brent spent 4 years of his young life in Italy and has always had a fondness for it. It was interesting to see their perspective on sports and movies and whatever else you talk about when you spend 5 hours together.

We did test exposures outside in the driving snowstorm as the light was changing, just to be ready in an instant. no second chances here.

Suddenly Fabio says, (in Italian of course & had to be translated to us) “They’re in the side area of the hospital with their bags ready to go! They are leaving out the side exit!”

Out we run to the side of the hospital, barely staying upright, running through the snow on slippery sidewalks. No sign of any people or taxis.

Back to the lobby. Fabio sends a lady waiting the in the lobby to spy around the corner to see if they’re still there.

“Yes” she says. “But they have their suitcases & coats on”

Back we run to the side exit. Back & forth, back & forth.

Finally we realize they are gone.

Massimo apologizes.

No problem. It was fun. Really!

But I will say we wouldn’t like to make a career of it. We just hope Giuseppe has a full recovery and returns to have a successful World Cup!

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