Monday, 12 April 2010

Team Red Video Shoot - Wrap

Well, I experienced a true Joao Monteiro moment where the bird came and fed out of the hand. This is where inspiration blossoms on screen naturally without contrivance. The shoot began with Cast and Crew (including me) running late - but I had been quite generous on the schedule time wise, and had allocated an extra hour to what I was expecting for each portion of the day. This paid off wonderfully as we were able to wrap two hours early even with unexpected improvised scenes taking place.

Our location was set up beautifully, only to then be a complete mess pit by the end of the evening, but there was delicious and plentiful food in abundance. Our Make-Up artist saved the day, as initially we had another to share the duties and that would have been at least two to cater for the thirty odd cast, but with a smile on his face and a dedicated "can do" attitude, he stayed for the whole day applying not only make-up but also scars, cuts and bruises for the final part of the shoot.

I was going to try an analogy that I thought might be a bit tricky, I wanted to record vision in the same way that sound is recorded on a Boom Pole, but I also wanted to allow the camera to wander of its own accord through-out the crowded space without wanting to disrupt the close knit crowd by having to move past them and not wanting to break the ambience of a natural party setting by having to cut on action and set up different camera positions.

To make this achievable with two dangling cameras, and a third camera operated by a d.o.p on a tripod for safety, I set up my lights and then going through the camera's functions I manually set some of them and automated others in order to preempt the movement and lighting.

The cast were really very good, and got into the spirit of the clip without too much coaxing by me. I had given each cast member a series of actions to perform through-out the clip in order to get a physical rhythm going and to dissuade any null patches in the "party atmosphere". This can often happen when cast are performing in large numbers, sometimes you will get drops in character - and if you examine crowd scenes or gatherings, you will at times notice people looking as if they are lost or simply filling in as human putty around the main action. I most certainly did not want this to happen and by giving each cast member an unusual idiosyncrasy they could perform on a beat, such as looking to the left when drinking their drink, blowing their nose, putting their hair in their mouth, rubbing their eyebrow, scratching their armpit, each cast member had to be on their toes to perform the action all the while conversing as one would normally at a party.

At one point the members of the band swayed the scenes to become more improvised, once the cast were to become more dishevelled. At this stage of the shoot, I have called the talent who mutineered from the set storyboard as Castaways, which is very befitting of our shipwrecked theme. What then ensued was a wonderful and quite remarkable madness in which a more performative approach was enabled to be captured on screen, something I could never create in a contrived sense, and it really allowed the cast to create some stronger moments in the video clip.

There was a divide when this happened, the more older and experienced actors embellished the improvised performance and worked dynamically in a team to produce a spiralling party tossed about on a sea of beverages and food substance, broken furniture, ripped clothing, and tangled bodies. A few of the younger and less experienced cast were somewhat taken aback by this debauched display ... I think that often younger actors or people who want to be models have this idea that it is all about placing bodies in front of a camera, making them look pretty, and that's it. No allowing the muse to rise from within or free falling in the moment. Perhaps because I spent many years in the theatre, I have observed serious actors apply their craft and the lengths they will go to really project ideas out of the self.

It was mainly a handful of the more "prissy" young girls who thought the older actors, mostly female, were behaving "out of control" and therefore a dialogue was had between some of the more experienced and open minded actors and the more conservative younger actors who I think just got out of their depth - I tried to be the great diplomat in the situation, holding my tongue quite well as I of course felt what the older actors were doing was quite spectacular but at the start of the shoot I gave my usual speech on working for "nothing" and that the value of the shoot was to be found in the creative process and the finished work, not in any monetary benefits.

The hardest part to this kind of creative energy is having those who view what occurred as merely some sort of "porn" although how they could contrive that definition for said footage is beyond me as actually no-one was naked, but you will have this thrust upon narratives that are "sexual" or debauched from people who only understand art in tiers of mainstream media. Some people have kept lives in this respect  and through rebelling against any kind of learning they rob themselves of life's richness and complexity.

However, I could veer off on a rant about this but I wont because all up, I think what we achieved on the shoot was bloody marvellous and it is all nourishment towards splicing together a great music video for the band.

There was plenty more that happened that I could post on but I feel I shall leave that for updates. This music video is however the first project to be created by Ménage á Trois, my Metamedia label. How I am struggling to bring that business into the foreground and dust off the traditional digital media that has bided my time for so long. I am making progress, but what I should be doing is drafting up visual plans for it rather then polishing off little corners of it here and there.

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