Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shake what ya' Mama gave ya'

The world of the music video is an odd one and I have bumped into it in my artistic endeavors. It's really interesting to see how cheaply and quickly they throw these things together. Here are some old shots I recently found from a music video I did years ago for Waverly Films. I was the Art Director under the Production Designer Patrick McGowan, whom I had met working on the horror flick UNHOLY. Our challenge was to turn a shitty warehouse space into a shitty medical facility for white-coated lab rats and hot chicks to dance about. While you're more focused on the action, you forget I had to track down medical supplies from almost 3 different rental houses and deal with all the assholes that push numbers and papers about what constitutes a full day rental vs. a half day rental.

What follows is the hot mess I barely remember as:

  Joey Negro's "Make A Move On Me"

The extras in this were spot on. This looks like something out of a B-movie from the '50s. I keep waiting for a man in a gorilla suit to jump in with a cosmic ray gun.

Here you can see the special call-in dials and instruments and all kind of do-dads that sell the scene. Some worked, some didn't, we weren't quite sure what some of them even did, but damn if it didn't look official.

There's a microscope, and a sink and a whatever the hell. I know that's the periodic table. This is all important in selling the mind's eye that this space is real and actually exists. This is all smoke and mirrors. It's a porno set without the sex. It's pretend for grown-ups.

You don't even wanna know what's in that jar. These are all props that seem to be absolutely necessary at the very last minute, not matter what, for whatever odd-ball reason. I've seen it a hundred times before. Now imagine driving around New Jersey, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx with all this crap bouncing around in your rented cargo van as you go to Home Depot for the 37th time to buy more paint brushes and God knows what else.

One of the running gags was to over-label everything with red printed labels. We literally had them everywhere, advertising the most obvious of the obvious. We manipulated he machinery for close-ups and you as the audience are never the wiser that it barely works at all.

Here's a little behind the scenes shot as the crew sets the action and everyone pretends to be really important. Here you can see and realize that all four walls of this "room are completely removable. We built it so that the whole set could literally move throughout the warehouse, depending on the need for lighting.

So this DJ, Joey Negro, couldn't make it for the video, so this gigantic paper mache mask is meant as his cameo. Of course that got a label too.

Here's the hero of our story; a lowly test subject a the whim of desire and circumstance. A nice guy, but damn if those electrodes didn't keep falling off all damn day. And every time I see this I can't help but think of that one scene at the start of GHOSTBUSTERS.

It was actually kind of cool to see all these different gals gyrate in freezing warehouse, while I pretended to adjust electrodes and whatever. Sadly their efforts were all for not when I heard through the grapevine that the record company thought the gals weren't sexy enough and digitally replaced them.

Waverly Films has gone on to do more music videos, play with puppets, sell Doritos, etc.

Any way, here's the video, you be the judge....

If you're still interested, I worked on these other music videos purely from a production standpoint and had no artistic input whatsoever.

"Give Me Every Little Thing" - The Juan Maclean

"If U Leave" - Musiq Soulchild featuring Mary J. Blige

"Cherry Chocolate Rain" - Tay Zonday

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