29 Jun Singing It Loud – The Making of “Come Around”
Hello fellow riders of a series of connected tubes!
My most recent directing project has just been released. It’s a music video for Sing It Loud’s song “Come Around.” It was my first time working with Bucks Boys Productions. And let me tell you, it was great to have a production company. For the first time I was able to just focus on directing. I didn’t have to worry about how to get the gear there, or what we were going to have for lunch, or how much each costume was going to cost to rent. I just showed up and the trucks and crew magically appeared. It was awesome.
Heh, ok, what I did was a little more complicated, but it was great to be able to focus on creating.
Here’s a little bit of behind-the-scenes production goodness…
5:30am is early, especially on a Monday. And in January it’s cold…I mean not “Mid-west” cold…but cold.
The facility guy was late. But at least he showed up…unlike the day before. By 6:00am we were in and checking out the location. We’d planned on shooting at dawn on the roof. Nail the performance. Shoot the rooftop scenes, then work our way into the streets and film until there was no light.
The instruments were coming from Studio Instrument Rentals. A pretty big and supposedly reputable rental agency. Everything was supposed to be there at 6:00am so we could load up to the roof for a 7am shot.
They hadn’t even left. Uhh….wtf. How do you leave over an hour after you were supposed to arrive? Well no worries, we could just shoot the rooftop scenes. We just needed the band, a couple props, and the girl…
This is why I’m never allowing casting to be done with Craigslist again.
The girl got “hives.” The morning of the shoot.
So….plan A was to shoot the performance. Plan B was to shoot the girl. Plan C was….well I wasn’t really sure what Plan C was going to be.
Meanwhile my producers were calling the other actresses we liked, trying to find a last minute replacement. At about 8am the instruments arrived. 2 hours late.
So back to Plan A…only THEY DIDN’T INCLUDE ALL OF THE DRUM KIT.
Ok, Back to Plan C, which by this time I’d figured out was to “shoot the gags first.” Unfortunately Plan A had the props being prepped during the 2 hours of performance. So nothing was ready. A quick chat w/ my Production Designer, Bradd and we decided what would be the quickest prop to prep. We’d shoot that first, then roll onto the next, shooting scenes once the pieces were prepared. And hopefully by the time we got finished with the guys’ scenes we’d have a girl to film.
We started with the glue, then the net, then…we had an actress.
I was pretty stoked, because the girl we got was actually my first choice.
But…she had to go to an audition in Santa Monica…at 3pm.
Let’s do the math here.
Changing out of costume 15 min + Downtown to Santa Monica, 30 min. + Audition, 30 min. + Drive back 45 min = 2 hr.
That meant from 2:15 to 4:15pm she was gone.
Sunset was at 5:15pm.
This was what I was working out in my head…best case scenario was that we’d have 1 hour to shoot her rooftop scene SOMEWHERE in between shooting the band’s performance….which meant we’d lose additional setup time.
But…somehow, someway, she was back by like 3:40pm. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. That extra time saved us. We’d shot everything else at that point and were able to move seamlessly to the final rooftop scenes. (Oh, and by this time the drum kit had arrived and was assembled.)
We’d been working fast all day and the final two scenes were the biggest push. We shot until we had no more light. After each take I was sure we were done, but Brett kept tweaking it and we kept shooting.
At the very end we were filming Chris, the drummer. Let’s just say, they don’t call him “Sick Boy” for nothing…he puked mid take. Hurling right over they edge of the building. Apparently it happens all the time, go figure.
The very last thing to shoot was the insert of “what’s in the briefcase.” I wasn’t really sure what I wanted it to be…my original idea had to get tossed due to our actress going to Santa Monica. I wanted to have a “Looney Toons” style explosion happen, but that would have required getting her in/out of special effects makeup, plus an extra shot or two of the guys on the roof. We didn’t have any extra time with her at all. So I decided that we’d have something clever in the briefcase that would be disappointing for the girl. We’d shoot her reaction, then have the rest of the day to figure out WHAT was in the case.
We scoured the crew, the band, and the set for anything interesting to be in the case. Here’s a couple examples of what didn’t make the video
At the end of the shoot, my AD told me that in the morning he thought “we’d blown our day.” In other words, for all intensive purposes we were totally hosed. But if I do one thing well, it’s thinking on my feet and staying calm. I don’t really think about it, I just do it. I don’t want there to be problems, but if there are I know I’ll be able to figure out a solution. Filmmaking is a collaborative art form, so even if I can find a solution, I need to have a crew that can rise to the task.
We lost a bunch of time due to SIR and Actress #1, but thanks to the hustle of the crew, especially Vinny our AD, Brett our DP and Jonathan our producer we got it done. There were a few shots I’d liked to have had, but I got what I needed for the video.
Thanks to Matt @ Epitaph, Doug @ Feisty Management for all their help. A big thank you to AJ Ullman, Mike Jacks, Andrew Drapkin, and Juan Behrens, for the post production help and finishing work. I thought about writing about the post workflow, but it’s pretty technical and a bit dry. If anyone wants to know about how we finished using FCP, RED, .dpx, and the Nucoda Color Corrector…let me know and I’ll do a blog on that.
Part of the edit was done at Mammoth Mountain, part was done at my folks house in Bremerton, WA. Here’s my view from Bremerton.
And finally the video!
thanks for watching!
love to hear your thoughts or questions…