“A sad punk rock parade” is how Justin Fairweather, a local DJ and promoter, 23, described a recent Green Day music video shoot in San Diego. “The director was telling us we were supposed to be disgruntled at the world. You know, teen angst.… One of the cops let my buddy sit on his motorcycle without his shirt on…the cops were really nice. The only complaint I had is they ate all our [catered] food.”
Broadway was blocked off between 5th and 7th Avenues on August 19 and 20 for the punk rock band’s video “Minority.”
“I was called by a talent agency called Shamon Freitas. One of their employees knew me personally. They asked me if I wanted to take it on as a business referral. [The production company] needed 35 people to march, 15 people to hold big balloons…and five baton twirlers.… I made over 100 calls in the course of a day.”
Casting day was held two days before the video began shooting. “By then they changed their mind, and they cut out the 35 marchers,” said Fairweather. “They just needed the balloon carriers and the baton twirlers.” In addition to those 20 extras, Fairweather said the shoot included someone in a cow/gorilla suit, an accordion player, and the three members of Green Day. Besides being an extra himself, Fairweather said he was responsible for recruiting 8 of the 22 extras that were eventually used in the shoot. The extras were each paid $150 for each day of work. He said each agency was paid 20 percent of the talent fee for each extra used.
“My beef is [agent] Carol Freitas is able to bill the production company for work that she didn’t do. I wasn’t even looking to make money in the first place. Now she won’t admit to the fact that she didn’t do any of the work. I spent 36 hours calling 100 people. I was told by Shamon Freitas there would be a finder’s fee. When I call her office, they won’t let me through to her.”
Shamon Freitas, a local talent agency, was contracted by local casting director Barbara Shannon, who was hired by X-Ray Productions of Los Angeles. X-Ray was doing the shoot.
“He never mentioned a commission,” said Freitas. “It was very clear from the beginning, he was working through the agency. But he is not an agency. An agency has to be bonded. I was told he understood this. Now, after the fact, he says he should get the commission. If he had asked for a finder’s fee in advance, he certainly would have gotten one. It was totally volunteer work that he decided on his own to call these people. To say he was promised a finder’s fee is flat-out a lie.”
Freitas admits to not returning Fairweather’s calls.
“I know I’m not an agency,” said Fairweather. “I’m a production company. I produce what people ask me for.”
Freitas said she had not yet been paid by the production company, but when she does she might consider paying Fairweather part of her $480 agency commission.
“Justin is shooting himself in the foot,” said casting director Shannon. “He was a wrangler. He doesn’t have the equipment or the office to deal with production companies.”
Fairweather said, “X-Ray told me next time they come to San Diego to do a video, they will work with me directly.”
“Maybe X-Ray likes him, which I kind of doubt,” said Freitas. “He has certainly burned a bridge. Barbara [Shannon] is one of the biggest casting directors in town.”
Producer John Goldberg of X-Ray said, “Justin was very helpful, but he wouldn’t have heard about it without the agency. From our perspective though, he did know the right people. Our producer loved him. She said he really should have his own operation down there.… If we come back to San Diego to do a rock video, we might go directly to him or tell a casting director that he is a good reference.”
According to Goldberg, the “Minority” music video is set for release next week.
Jason Tecza is the Shamon Freitas employee who put the agency in touch with Fairweather. He says, “The audition was an open call.… I thought of Justin, and…I told him if he knew anybody he was welcome to invite them as well and to put down Shamon Freitas as the referring agency.”
“We’re one of largest and most reputable agencies in town,” said Freitas. “I don’t know if [Fairweather] understands the business.… Green Day was in Japan. They weren’t even at the video shoot.”
According to Fairweather, “The band was on the float. I got tons of pictures with them. They were totally cool. Very un-rock star.”