music video

Future

While the music world is perpetually refreshing My Bloody Valentine site tonight, I am avoiding the Internet super traffic and be amused by everyone going frantic. I suppose there was a time where I would have partaken in such frenzy, but these days, there is too much good music hidden in every chasm - why waste time with an unstable site when that album is going to be there - now and forever.

In the meantime, maybe you'll check out the latest single, "Future", by my favoruite Finnish band,
Delay Trees. And as a shameless self promotion, watch the music video I made for the song that premiered at Under The Radar (another goal accomplished). This was like the most stress-free music video to make - just goes to show you, it's really not about the video, but about the band. Thanks to my Finnish friends for letting me run with it.
My "statement" on the
Vimeo page.



You can also stream "Future" and read my little blurb at
QRO.
delaytress_tpr49

3 4 3

For the past two years, I have entered a music video to Bornshorts. Both were for a song by Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy - one from each of their album. Since their third album is still in progress, entered a simple video I made with a local musician, Ross McLeron. I would have liked to entered the music video originally made for a song by The Radio Dept. that became one for Loney Dear for legal reasons but the festival rule was that it had to be official.
I was surprised and delighted to find out that the experimental film we made for
EFF Portland (that was rejected) was accepted as part of the this year's program.
This video was the least stressful video I was ever part of.

Chimera Hours from Photosphere on Vimeo.


Sometimes creative collaborations are innate but life rarely imitates dreams and humans are not happy with what is natural...

Audience

We all know there are plenty of talents that never get recognized, get lost in the pool… once in awhile I feel like listening to a Norwegian band, Sister Sonny, and one of their songs, "Audience" from the album Love Songs, is a great misery loves my company song.
I wanted to share it on social sites but couldn't find a link online so I decided to make a quick video for it.
The concept is anti-concept propelled by a stream of unconsciousness - there is a story or a statement there, but perhaps it's too esoteric…?
Had to shorten the song so I don't bore you to death with my nocturnal experiment.

Sister Sonny "Audience" from Photosphere on Vimeo.

A Song for A Video

Ok, after almost eight months since production, finally found a song for a music video we shot last summer. I know it's usually the other way around, but I like to go against the norm.
We started our first day of production last August but having a no real deadline, I kept fidgeting around with it.
But now I feel it's finally time to release it to the world for the sake of people who were involved in the project.
You can read more info on the
Vimeo page.
Much thanks to
Loney Dear and Polyvinyl for permission to use the song. And my cast and crew - you guys are so much fun and a pleasure to work with.

This is my tenth directorial music video and first as also the director of photography (though I've always made the shot lists in the past and shot some of the footage). Think not too shabby hand held work with no support system.

In the Meantime

After a mild summer, the temperature finally ripened last week, reaching into 90s and high 80s, and continuing through this week. Aside from being allergic to sun, these hot sunny days make me unproductive since my options for air conditioning only extends to fans and iced beverages.
Well, before Portland's concrete swelled in the arid sunny days, my brain was exploding with all kinds of creative projects - some just too elaborate for my resources, but I did manage to shoot footage for a song I've been wanting to make a music video for. Don't want to reveal which band the song is by in case the result flops.
Actually went through about 5 different concepts before finally settling to one that was feasible with my "zero" budget and skeleton crew and equipment.
Until the video is done, checkout some photos from the shoot. Thanks to Carrie's goldie locks and Alice's peacock cape, which was originally used for Whisky Marine ( see- I'm always looking for ways to reuse and recycle), and magic hour - think the photos turned out quite nice.

Jeg Elsker Dig, Scandinavia

I was elated last year when my music video for Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy's "All Is One" was chosen for Bornshorts. The second music video I made for Kilbey/Kennedy, "Inner Country, definitely is more modest than my first attempt. Yet I still tried my luck for the Danish film festival, and much to my surprise, it made the official selection! It's out of competition but hey, I'll take it! Though my background does not make a big deal of birthdays, it's screening on my birth date - not a bad b-day present... unfortunately, doesn't look like I'll be able to make a trip this year to Bornshorts either. I hope to have a better piece for next year's festival and finally make an appearance on the island.
I love you, Scandinavia.

Music Video for $0

It wasn't easy for me to come up with a music video concept I could make for $0, but I finally did it!
Ha ha - and it looks it too but still took me 3 weeks so hopefully that's worth something.
Those folks who were expecting something of equal caliber as the first music video I made for Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy (
"All Is One") were probably less than impressed.
You know what? That first video cost me $2,000, and I gave up 3 months out of my life, including paid jobs to make that, and it was damn difficult to make "All Is One" for $2,000.
What's my point? You get what you paid for.
So when you think about hiring someone in my industry, please be reasonable.
You pay for someone to bring food to you at a restaurant. Why do so many people in this town advertise for wanting free photography and video service? Especially when we have to invest thousands of dollars on our equipment and servers only have to worry about their attire.
P.S. This is in no way a complaint to the musicians, Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy. I volunteered to do it gladly.

Please click on
vimeo link to read more info on this project.

Oldies

I must have too much time on my hands because I have bunch of old videos from school days uploaded to my vimeo site, including my take on Explosions in the Sky's "Welcome, Ghosts".

Welcome_Ghosts2011

Set the Reset

The music video that has been a great burden ever since we shot it back in March is finally off my shoulders.
We had a premiere screening for
Cold Metal’s “Set the Reset” at The Know on Alberta on Oct 23rd, and just debuted online Nov 1 on QRO magazine.
I thought performance-based music video would be easier, and less stress than my usual conceptual, collaged pieces, but turns out I had put in almost 500 hrs into the project, from pre-production to the final upload on the web.
Lot of the hours were actually spent reworking the video 5 times over because we didn’t have enough time in the studio (and budget) to shoot it properly. So it was so fix-it-in-post! But having a clear plan before we on set would have helped. The video was really made in post production as I tried to make something out of what seemed to be a pile of random footages, while trying to cater to
Cold Metal’s needs. Always learning something with every video production.

Blitzen Trapper - The Tree

This past summer, I volunteered to be a set photographer for the first 2 days of Blitzen Trapper’s music video production, “The Tree”. First day was on a cold summer day on Mount Tabor, where we waited for the sun to come out for hours, and every hand was put to use, including the band members themselves as prop propsters.
For the second day of the shoot, we shot in a trendy photo studio in downtown for a black light session. The band members were covered with glowing gel of some sorts to make them twinkle like stars under black light.
Judging by the concept of the video, I knew director Daniel Elkayam and crew had a lot of work cut out for them, but their
first music video for Blitzen Trapper turned out amazing, so I knew they would pull it off beautifully.
You can see the finished music video of “The Tree” on the
band’s website.
You can checkout some of my production photos on my
Flickr page.

Set the Reset

We just wrapped principle photography for Portland’s punk goth band, Cold Metal music video, “Set the Reset.” For the first time in like 3 years or so, Rick Guinan was able to be part of the crew as second cameraman with his brand new Canon 7D. Being a family man and a facility manager at Laika Studios does not afford many opportunities to be on production. So it was like back in Whisky Marine days having Rick on set, along with Chris Covel - who is getting ready to return to L.A. for Adult Swim, Shawn Wight, Heather Jacobs, Mike Skelton and of course, a production wouldn’t be complete without my super PA, Arc Mission.

Candy Lacey of Cold Metal approached us with a concept for a performance music video. I’ve never done a video, based mainly on performance so I thought it would be a good opportunity to make one with a edgy band and ‘80s inspired dark wave. But not knowing how to keep it simple, I had to at least have some narrative element. So we built a wall and tangled Candy into wires.
It was great to shoot at
Stage 13, which is operated by our former instructor at The Art Institute of Portland, Dan Ackerman. For our second location, we went guerilla at the building where Cold Metal practiced. Much to our surprise, no one came to interrupt the shoot. Free location with no crowd control - can’t get better than that!
Check out the
photos from the shoot.

All Is One

Finally, the reason why the long silence from this page - I’ve been shut up like a hermit in my home office for the past month to bring life the most important project of my life.
Last summer, I was contacted by
Martin Kennedy about doing a music video for a song from an album he collaborated with my favorite singer/songwriter/idol... Steve Kilbey after reading my comment on SK’s blog. Some of you may know him as the frontman of the Australian group The Church, who had a top 20 hit in US back in 1988 with “Under the Milky Way” which was featured in the film Donnie Darko and most recently has been remade by Sia for Lincoln commercial.

I was so excited but could not get the project going after SK, MK and I agreed on “All Is One”. I seeked some advice from my literary genius
Notre Dame graduate friend, Bryan Giemza, whom I met way back during my first bachelor’s program when we were both studying in Rome, Italy. I was not smart enough for Notre Dame so went to St. Mary’s across the street, the college my mother went to and expected me to follow her suit. Bryan was quick to point out that the lyrics are direct reference from Isaiah 11. Being a Godless person, I was imagining all these fantasy creatures in a fantasy world - a pagan allegory. Anyhow, Bryan suggested that I look to William Blake’s work for some inspiration. And I did but the dead poet/painter didn’t ignite any fire.
Then I recalled this local surrealist painter,
Chuck Bloom, whom I met during the production of Whisky Marine. I really like his work but am in no financial position to be an art patron. So I thought it might cool to feature a relatively unknown artist for the music video. Chuck seemed to be into it for a while but his email’s took weeks to return and he never sent me the photos of his artwork. Unfortunately, I realized that after 3 months had passed by. And I promised Martin that I’d make sure the video will be done before the US album release for Unseen Music Unheard Words on January 26, 2010.

I couldn’t come up with alternative concept to the one I conjured up in a stream of consciousness, based on Chuck’s paintings. So went forward with pre-production, feeling dejected with my storyline that seemed to be another apocalyptic tale in a year the subject was fast becoming a cliche.

The most difficult of any production in my experience when you have very limited budget is the location. We needed a place where we could accommodate set building as well as the actual shooting. No one wanted to work with my timeline and budget and finally Jack Anderson from
Albina Skarp agreed to work with my conditions. The downside was that the building was an old warehouse with no insulation nor heat. It was basically a giant tin shed. And we were shooting in middle of November and there wasn’t enough power for heat and production lighting.

For cinematography, there’s only one person I feel comfortable working with. My friend and former college mate from
The Art Institute of Portland, Chris Covel. Without him, Whisky Marine wouldn’t be half as decent nor happen at all. He’s worked on every one of my videos except “Hideway”. Chris got a job with Laika after college, working on the set of Coraline which led to a gig working on Adult Swim. He had agreed to be my DP but it proved to be very difficult for him to consult on the project from L.A.

From the beginning, there were two definite conditions for the music video. The band gave me total freedom but Martin requested that there’d be no sad/negative ending. Martin’s a big fan of animation and he’s a talented cartoonist and painter himself. I really liked the look we achieved with “Hideaway” by combining drawings and live footage so wanted to further experiment with that style.

We started to build the set 2 weeks before our shoot on the weekends when my construction guru, Mike Skelton was available. My super PA, Arc Mission, was also on the team to endure the frigid conditions and saw, hammer and paint away. We goofed off quite a bit and tried to make the best of the old tin shed. Soon, the old canvas walls from Whisky Marine, old door from my house and window transformed into the living room and bedroom for the music video.

The other big challenge of the production was finding talents. It was especially difficult since I couldn’t offer any monetary compensation but did get several responses. Unfortunately, most people were far from the required physical description in my ad. Likely at the last minute, was able to get a very talented young girl, Carly Norton and her mother, Terese to fill in the mother and child roles. But I still needed my leading man. When it all looked hopeless, my friend, Dee Madden, volunteered. He’s not an actor but he has starred in his own video for his music and he fit the physical description pretty nicely. The angel is played by Alexandra Richardson who’s had the leading role in “Hideaway” and “
Monkey” music video.

Shooting a video takes more than just 3 people and likely, my friends in the biz was able to come and help out as well as people who have never been on a set before. Chris and I quickly realized the shoot wasn’t going as we would have liked. We had to sacrifice a very cool shot he came up with and the contraception built for it. We just didn’t have the time. Chris had to fly out the day after and everyone had to go back doing their usual gig. Though I felt things were not going too well, we had a blast wrapping on the second and final date. The available crew and few of our friends came to do some green screen shoots to make a cameo appearance on the video.Then the really hard part laid ahead.

Ever since I could recall, I was drawing all over as a child. I followed my passion for art all through my first college, where I majored in fine arts. After graduation, I realized that my degree could not help me pay my bills. So I neglected being a studio artist and eventually went all digital. I thought I could afford to pay for some help on post production. Then I got laid off from my regular gig in late September. I had couple of friends who did some drawings for the video. But I realized that using two different artists and my incoherent communication skill was not a good combination. I had to do it all by myself.

When I put an assembly edit together of the live footage, it was not a happy sight. So many continuity errors, missing shots, improper framing... due to the fact that I was my own AD and had no script supervisor. I was scared to tackle it. So I let it kind of sit for a while until I knew I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. It took awhile to find the momentum but slowly things were looking better and better. But I still thought it was going all terribly wrong. How could I turn in something that wasn’t worthy of the band’s music? I had few crew members look at my rough cut and I guess I was overtly critical of myself. Then I gained some confidence and determination to make the video into something that was worth our time.

So here I am, after 400+ hours and few months with a video that has received rave reviews from
the band.
Martin wrote, “
holy shit... its beautiful! the work gone into it is incredible.... Love the blending of animation & live action...its magnificent.”

Steve wrote, “i'm flabbergasted
it made me fucking cry!
unbelievable stuff
youre a genius, my girl
I LOVE IT!!!!!”

You can read more about what Steve had to say on his daily blog,
The Time Being

So like the story in
“All Is One” music video, this story has a happy ending too. And I definitely couldn’t have done it without everyone who contributed the project.
Production Photos