rock'n'roll babies, dive bars, and ultra low-budget videos - my experience of the music biz in LA Part 1
Anyone who knows me well knows I have a singing problem. The dog shits in the hallway - I sing about it. I brew coffee at work - I sing about it. I walk under a bridge or into a stairwell and notice there are good acoustics - I sing, just to make sure. I've always felt my life is a musical; however, how exactly I've become involved in the various fascinating (and at times, hilarious) aspects of the music industry in LA is more of a mystery to me. Growing up without MTV and developing my taste for music largely by borrowing from my parent's classic rock library and mixed tapes/cds my siblings made didn't exactly posture me for any of this. I'm a scrapper, though, and in the (un)glamorous world of music videos and the modern record label, that's one of the best traits you can have.
This next one was directed by the super-talented BDL (www.bdlfilms.com) and takes place in various "exotic" locales around Martel house. Last time I checked, remnants from the snow spraypainted on the window in the living room were still there. Brandon would say stuff like "You're braindead, you're a zombie - okay, now hit yourself over the head." I remember the dude from "Europa" got a little too into it and ended up beating himself up pretty bad. Like, really hitting himself. The concept reminds me of Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron," which I unsuccessfully adapted into a short film script in college. BDL's VFX work makes this band look way cooler than they are....
My favorite part about the following video is the beautiful costume design by the lovely Emily Batson (www.emilybatson.com) and make up by Tina Cohen (you can watch her demo reel Here). Nothing like playing a little dress up! We filmed in an old abandoned hospital building near downtown, and everyone - the band, the crew, the extras - were incredibly nice. Most likely because they were being led by one of my all-time favorite people in Los Angeles, director Steve Drypolcher (www.stevendrypolcher.com).
Redcar is another incredibly sweet band. Just so nice. I brought Chrissy to set for this one, which we filmed somewhere off Sunset, and she had to sit through my friend Andrew and I choreographing the dance sequence for hours. In the final cut, the dance was reduced to us sacheting and jumping off a rock, but hey, it was a fun day. Pay special attention to Ryan, the drummer, and his awesome drumstick moves.
The following video is an example of what a director can do with a decent size budget. This was shot at KTLA studios in Hollywood. I spent most of the day shuffling between Partizan and set, running various errands, and still have some lime green paint on my workboots from painting flats for green screen shots. During one of our breaks, I found myself chatting with Rob Thomas about a recent encounter he had with Hanson - "Those guys are real chill now." Good to hear, dude. Saaweet.
I love love love this video, largely because my frenchie, Gabrielle, looks awesome covered in fake blood in many of the shots. I dropped by set at studios off Soto just to check out the shoot, see what scraps I could get off of crafty, and ended up lighting some of the outdoor shots with the high-beams of my Honda. Creative problem solving at it's finest! They hardly even needed to do any set design, the front rooms in the studio are so dilapidated.
John Legend is such a total babe, it's a shame I was such a total freak stress-mess during this shoot to enjoy his presence. This one was really interesting for me because I was in charge of a bunch of shit, including coordinating extras casting, running crafty, painting the set, acting as transpo, whatever needed doing. While speeding around downtown Los Angeles in a 12 person passenger van full of extras on 2 hours sleep does have a certain sort of adrenaline rush to it, it's kind of dangerous. Beautiful, simple work by the charming John Pina.
My internship at Partizan was really great experience and introduced me to some great people, but alas, when I moved to LA after finishing school in Ohio, there were no job openings for me there. Wah-wah (see Matt Cleaver if you don't know how to pronounce that properly).