Feb , 12
Artist : Joel Melton
Song : Little Girl In An Airstream
Album: Little Girl In An Airstream
Director: Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet
Let me start by saying that Joel is just a frikkin amazing artist, been a fan of his work for years. Not surprisingly we’ve been talking about doing a music video for him for years. Those talks revolved around another song of his that is still one of my favs but sadly the budget for the concept I wanted to do never came together (though I’m still hoping to revisit and do that one someday!)
Fast forward to a month or so ago when Joel sent me over this tune. No surprise, I loved it. He told me his real life “little girl in an airstream” girl, Jane, had some ideas she wanted to tell me about they dropped by for a cup of coffee and conviviality. Being a fan of randomness and non sequiturs I was giddy when she said she wanted to dance with a chicken and eat fried okra off of his guitar (in the spirit of full disclosure I should tell you that I just suppressed my desire to make a bad and obvious pun and opted to use the word “guitar” instead of “instrument”)
After nearly a week of beautiful weather here in the good ole ATX (that’s Austin to the uninformed), on the day of the shoot the morning started out with rain mixed with sleet mixed with snow. Thankfully after about an hour standing under a car port it cleared up enough to start filming. At this point I don’t think I could tell the details of the shoot any better than Joel did on his Facebook page that night. The following was his recanting of the days events. I can attest first hand that there were no liberties taken with what went on that day and the first time I read his post I laughed so hard it hurt:
Little Girl in an Airstream’ video shoot commenced with me doing several takes singing and preening while Jane and her make-up assistant did their thing.
FIRST entry of the ‘Little Girl’ on filem(Jane Jennings) was a provocative dance with a large white hen from the Comanche/Apache lady that lived on the corner of the Airstream Trailer park. The lady asked me when I told her we needed to borrow one of her hens, “…Now what you guys actually DOING with MY chicken?” “Well, just dancing while holding it closely.” I answered. She scowled and stated, “I DO NOT WANT MY CHICKEN stressed in ANY WAY!” “I promise the chicken will be carefully and respectfully danced with…” I said in my best snake oil salesman voice.
Let me tell you guys this was a WILD CHICKEN. The Indian ladies boyfriend went and fetched the white layin’ hen…it flopped and pecked at him.
The music started and Jane was offered the chicken…AMAZINGLY it calmed right down and was the perfect little hen as Jane “Little Girl” danced and wiggled to the music. If fact a local resident who was watching remarked, “…I think she is a chicken whisperer…” It was SO RELAXED IT SHIT SEVERAL TIMES ON Jane’s apron…but “Little Girl” carried on as if NOTHING was happening out of the sort.
And then IT HAPPENED. At a moment “Little Girl” was holding the large white hen aloft…PLOP. YES, it layed an egg that bounced off Jane’s apron and splattered under the steps of the Airstream. Jane continued dancing. The chickens ASS started bleeding and it dripped blood on the apron while the film was rolling. Blood splotches, egg drippings and chicken shit…DID NOT STOP Jane from dancing. It was actually VERY FUCKING COOL.
The owner took the chicken back to its coop and then about an hour later came back and stated with a straight face to all of us still shooting video. “… I cleaned its ass and we put Preparation H on it and it is feeling better…” ~ Joel Melton
As for the technical, shot on a Sony PMW-F3k, edited in Sony Vegas and additional CC with Magic Bullet Looks.
Aug , 12
Artist : Adam Carmichael
Song : Heaven Knows
Album : Before I Go
Director : Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet
I simply adore this video and so many of the reasons why I adore this video have little or nothing to do with me but the combined talents of all involved.
For some of you that have read my little “blog” type descriptions on some of my other videos this first bit may seem a little redundant but: I loved this song on first listen. Actually thinking about it as I write I suppose that’s a logical pattern to fall into and it shouldn’t surprise me that many of my vid descriptions start with that statement or similar, of course I loved it on first listen or I probably wouldn’t have taken the gig!
Anyway, back to this song in particular, loved the piano, loved Adam’s voice, and love love loved the lyrics. “Hell knows I know right from wrong but heaven knows how I’ve tried …“ Brilliant!
So as per usual during the “concept” phase, I put the song on repeat and thought my little thoughts waiting for that “Ah Ha!” moment. That being the moment that I think what I’m seeing in my head would be perfect for the song and that the concept will work within whatever budget (or lack thereof) that the project consists of. For “Heaven Knows” the “Ah Ha!” moment came after a good thirty or forty listens when I realized I already had the concept for this over a year or so ago! Not sure why it took me so long to realize it but once I remembered it that little voice in my head let out a loud resounding “DUH!”
I’ve talked before about how I tend to mentally bookmark various locations that I think are cool and/or unique if the right project comes along, the same thing happens with concepts. In this vid I had both. The idea for this came awhile back and was actually inspired by an “acoustic” version of a radio performance by Lady Gaga for her song “Fooled Me Again.” Still and always one of my favorites by her. If you care to check it out you can see that here: Lady Gaga – Fooled Me Again
I’ve watched enough “So You Think You Can Dance” to know just how profound dance can be and that’s all that I had really wanted to do as I was reasonably sure that Lady Gaga wouldn’t have answered my calls to make a guest appearance in the vid. Just one dancer, dancing out the lyrics, emoting the passion and angst while matching the swells and lulls that occur throughout the song. The only other embellishments I wanted to incorporate beyond that were to be the angel wings along with the opening where she puts them on and the end where she “takes them off”. Symbolism to me that I won’t bother getting into only because I know would come off too artsy fartsy and in the end would prefer to leave it to the audience to formulate their own interpretation.
So anyhoo, as with many pet projects I’d like to do, it feel by the wayside and lingered on the back burner as something I would get to one of these days. Thankfully that day came when Adam sent me this song and after many a listen the light bulb finally lit.
From the original concept it was always Marisa Mingea (with one “S”) who I saw as the dancer. She’s lent her talents to two of my video’s in the past, both Teera – Flashy and Larissa Ness – Thoughts of You and is undoubtedly one of the most talented dancers I’ve ever met. Even without the wings she has an ethereal quality to her and the way she dances that I knew would be a perfect fit.
For Adams part there were only three key requirements, the first being the simpler of the trio. Going back to my “locations I’ve bookmarked in my brain” was a place that I’d seen a couple photographers use and had hoped to use one day, a local Austin bar called Lustre Pearl. The staff there were awesome and more than accommodating. The second thing needed was a strong performance, just as the dance needed to be emotive Adam had to tap into the passion and vulnerability that comes across so well in the song, it without that the video would have been unbalanced.
The next challenge was the wings. What I wanted wasn’t something you could pick up at your local costume shop. I wanted them to be articulated in such a way that Marisa could incorporate them into the dance, that she could bend them, move them, and reposition them at will as opposed to just sticking a pair of generic wings on her back. I also wanted to show her putting them on, I wanted the straps to be in full view (perhaps the only thing I wanted that would make making them just slightly easier to make!) as I wanted to sell the fact that they were “fake” to add a bit of surprise during the last reveal.
To build these I turned to Meredith Johns and her company Hawgfly Productions Inc. They’re a local FX company that had been nominated for 2010 Emmy Award and that, much to my joy and surprise, is based only blocks from my house. Bonus! Thankfully they were up to the challenge as I’m sure you saw in the vid, the wings were simply stunning and everything I wanted them to be. But consider this next time you watch it, as graceful as Marisa executed her choreography, she was doing so with 40 pounds of feathers, leather, and metal strapped to her back. In the shape I’m in I don’t think I could have walked up a flight of stairs wearing em but Marisa made it look effortless.
Amy Chambless from Hawgfly was on set and did all the blood effects/wounds and the, um, well, the nipple covering stuff. Hawgfly also made a second pair of partial wings for the close up of ripping them out of her back.
Huge thanks to Adam, Marisa, Hawgfly, Lustre Pearl, and my awesome crew Matt Friede, Arturo Cavazos, and Eliazar Mendoza, you all do such an amazing job at making me look good.