So What Is Underground Planet?

Underground Planet is an award winning production company based in Austin Texas. From concept to completion we develop, plan, shoot and edit amazing videos for some of the most incredible bands and artist that a company like ours could ever hope to work with.

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May , 15

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Miles Wesley – 10 Steps From Heaven

Artist: Miles Wesley
Song: 10 Steps From Heaven
Album: Light of Day
Director : Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet

Miles had hit me up some time back, the song was simple, acoustic, an incredible voice. I was stoked as I always am when a good tune comes my way in need of a video. For whatever reasons it never came together. When he hit me up again with a new song I was re-giddied, until I heard this song. My excitement left me in a “WTF?” moment. It wasn’t that I disliked it, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it based on what I’d previously heard. But it didn’t take long before it totally grew on me.

Concept wise I was referred to another vid by another artist, both of which will remain nameless. Though I personally thought it sucked it did grant me some guidance. The first being, I don’t want to do anything even remotely like that one. Second, there was a boy, there was a girl, and there was sexy. That’s as good a place to start as any. Begin the process of playing the song on repeat ad infinitum. The visual story became obvious after multiple listens. The song being one of apology, the thought being that often if one is willing to meet with an ex they do so with some degree of openness, if not hope for, a reconciliation. Obviously not everyone all the time, but this is a story =)

So how do you show that in a sexy way? Well, ya saw how I did. Occurred to me that perhaps in this case she did go there with that hope, that he would say and do the right things. And perhaps, though willing to forgive, wouldn’t want to let him completely off the hook. The closing mirror quote took longer than it should have. Went through myriad of options before “9 More Steps” finally clicked. Once I had that I had a complete story that stuck with the theme of the song. And there are a little lot of lil moments that reflect the lyrics in some way, the line “playing hide and seek” as his love is waking off. “If you want it you can get it” as she’s unbuttoning his shirt. etc, etc. Fun subtle stuff.

Production wise we rented a badass hotel room and shot. Simple right? Worth mentioning this was one of the quickest turnarounds as far as editing on a project like this. The reason for that is simple. I charged one battery the day before and set my second to charge when I went to bed. Waking up, horror of horrors, that one had expired, dead dead dead. Being a Sunday I didn’t have the option to get another. To compensate we did a lot of stalling in order to toss the battery on the charger at every opportunity. Unfortunately this meant the shoot went far later than it needed to, got home around 4:30am. On the bright side it restricted my usual propensity to be a footage whore. Less footage = easy edit! If I could restrain myself I’d never buy a second battery!

Casting. I had submitted four females for the part but made no recommendations. That said, I was hoping with all hope they would choose Eugenia Osbon and they did! Her print work is amazing and her performance in this video was everything I wanted and more. As a director, or someone with an ego, it’s easy to want to take credit for so much of what goes into making something like this. But my favorite moment in the entire piece was completely a Eugenia improvisation. The moment where she goes to exit the room and places her hand on his neck as she passes. I had absolutely nothing to do with it but as soon as she did it I gushed and said that was going to be in the final and that I wanted to get a reverse shot of it. That little awesome reverse shot of him turning to look as she walks away wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for her ad-lib.

People to thank! First off Marisa Mingea who’s choreographed and/or danced in many of my vids. Most notably in Adam Charmichale’s “Heaven Knows.” In this case though she stepped way outside her comfort zone and essentially functioned as production manager. Can’t thank her enough for filling in the million gaps that needed filling. Also had the incredible opportunity to work with the insanely talented makeup artist Ivy Kim-Warner for the first time, hopefully not the last.

My crew. My frikkin rock, the indispensable Eli Mendoza who’s been on more of my shoots than I can count. Added to the team was Katrina VanBuskirk who did an incredible job. I’ve worked with her for the last four or five years during every SXSW so never had any doubt in her ability and she exceeded my expectations at every turn.

Lastly, I have to give so much gratitude to Miles parent’s Milton and Renee. It was inspiring to see the level of support they had for Miles, their openness to the concept, their excitement during the process, and their taking such great care of the cast and crew. Everyone involved noticed and appreciated them so much. Thanks for the opportunity and thrilled you loved the finished piece =)

Support indi artists! Get this song here: http://tinyurl.com/llj3wug

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Jun , 10

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Drama – Full Version Now Online

So I had been pushing Timeca to do a short for some time, an incredible actress with a million great story ideas. “Drama” was one she had mentioned and one that I fell immediately in love with. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid when I told my Dad I was getting picked on he said “What do ya want me to do about it? Ya gotta stand up for yourself”. The next day I did, got my ass kicked. Anyway, as I was saying, we had bounced around a lot of ideas and this was actually part of an longer story she had thought of doing. From the first time I heard this particular part of the storyline I thought it would work really well as a short, picking up from when Drama gets out of bed and walks by her Auntie who’s passed out, ending with Drama’s moment of self-realization in the mirror, perhaps not exactly Norman Rockwell but a slice of life nonetheless.

Took me five months to convince Timeca to go for it and once we decided to do this it was cast, found locations, shot and edited within a week and I really couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. We got incredibly lucky with the casting, only auditioned 6 girls for the parts of Drama and the bully and don’t think we could have found anyone better had we auditioned 100. Huge props to Ann Woodward (Drama) and Gianna Redeemer (the bully). Both just amazing and incredible to work with, I know we will be seeing a whole lot more of you two!

Of course Timeca rocked it, never had any doubts about that, and never had any doubts about her screen love interest of the moment played by Aaron Spivey-Sorrells. For those of you who watch “Friday Night Lights” you’re probably familiar with his work, he’s appeared in every episode except the pilot as Coach Spivey. We were all nothing but flattered that he was interested in being a part of our humble little short.

As for the making of stuff that I like to babble about, we shot this over one verrrrrry long day and picked up a few shots over a couple hours a few days later. Because of the nature of this one I wanted to keep it with a more real/doc type feel and opted for a handheld look. A little ironic that two of our actors were from Friday Night Lights (Timeca has also made an appearance on the show) and I went with the swishy sway cam but what can I say? When it works it works. My favorite shot of the whole piece is the shot coming off the roof. Took us awhile to find a location and when we did winded up with one that didn’t have rooftop access.

Thankfully, Austin Habitat for Humanity did have a trusty old lift truck that hoisted us up two at a time with our equipment so we could get the shot I wanted.

Side note, the song playing in the background while Drama is running from the other kids was a song called “Get Low“ by First Class Fresh who Timeca’s son, Elgyn A. Chandler Jr. is a member of. The group makes a guest appearance as the boys who tease Drama as she’s walking by. You can see the music video I did for their song “Wobble House” here:

First Class Fresh – Wobble House

This was shot on a Sony EX1 with a Letus35 extreme, edited in Sony Vegas.