I have a friend who’s a professional paparazzo.

Dude makes his living by tailing Hugh Jackman on the Aussie actor’s way up to family ski vacations in Vermont and being able to spot celebrities on the streets of New York like he was bit by a radioactive spider spawned by the Gawker Stalker. He can make tens of thousands of dollars off of one pic of Jay-Z and Beyonce and then won’t get a decent photo for months. Sienna Miller once kicked him in the shins because Jude Law was camera shy, in a bloody awful mood, and is British, and therefore can’t throw punches unless he’s in a bad movie.

paparazziI’ve learned a lot about the business from hanging out with this guy. How the vast majority of photo ops are orchestrated by the celebrities themselves, how some attention starved starlets will change outfits three or four times a day so the photogs can get more usable shots, how some celebrities will pay the way for paparazzi to go on their vacations and take pictures, and how following around rock and movie stars has the unintended consequence of causing one to act like a rock and movie star. That means lots of late nights, alcohol, drugs, and sex.

My paparazzo friend always said the life of him and his fellow paparazzi would make for a great reality series. Unfortunately, Tuan Pham beat him to the punch.

Pham’s paparazzi outfit, Phamous Fotos has teamed up with director Brad Blondehim, digital broadcast network Babelgum, and sponsor Wonderful Pistachios for the original, docu-drama web series, Big Shots LA. Camera crews will follow Pham’s team of photographers with “larger-than-life” personalities on their “daily quest to photograph celebrities for fame, glory, and loads of cash.”

Karol Martesko-Fenster, SVP and General Manager of Babelgum’s Film and Animation Division, has this to say about the series:

“We’re thrilled to launch this behind-the-scenes look at one of the most misunderstood professions in the world. The paparazzi team that Brad profiles is chock full of big personalities, and it’s fascinating getting to know the stories, dreams, and surprising ambitions of the people behind the flash bulb. They are as much a part of Hollywood culture as the celebs themselves, something that, until now, only insiders could fully appreciate.”

See if you agree. Catch installments of Big Shots LA every Monday and Wednesday through January 29 on Babelgum.

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