Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Go On" Music Video Final Shoot

"Stand up and walk out of your history."   ~Phil McGraw

Yup. Dr. Phil. One of my other favorite pearls of his wisdom is "If insight were lard, I couldn't barely grease a skillet with you." However, that is not the sentiment we are focusing on in this blog.

After two years...yes, TWO YEARS...my very first music video is finally "in the can", as the kids say in Hollyweird. We are at long last done shooting all our scenes and now all that's left to be done is editing (I say that as if it's a simple, overnight process -- au contraire, this is where the REAL work begins for Director Chris, like he hasn't done enough already).


You've waited two years, you can wait a few weeks more! I was hoping for a 9/11 release since the song was inspired by a visit to Ground Zero in 2006, but I think we'd find Director Chris in a dark corner of his office in fetal position and drooling all over himself if we pushed that too hard, so it's unlikely. It's ultimately up to him...and this video will release exactly when the Universe thinks it's supposed to and not one minute sooner. Plus, I want to have time to do some proper promotion and press and plan a premier party. But...you can truly believe me when I say, SOON!!!

That said, this last week was SUCH an amazing learning experience for me. I (perhaps foolishly) volunteered to handle the extras casting submissions for our final scene, as Director Chris and Producer Jacole had enough on their plates. Keep in mind I've never cast a thing in my lifetime and now I'm suddenly going to find 100 extras for our final scenes. Woah, Seabiscuit! The good news was this: I was shocked -- literally shocked -- at how professional most peoples' submissions and responses were. We used L.A. Casting, Actors Access and Craigslist, putting out a call for people to drive all the way to an unfamiliar park in Pasadena by 7:30am on a Sunday morning and tramp around in the grass and hot sun till at least 1pm - UNPAID. In the end we had somewhere around 90 confirmations and I'm making a guesstimate that somewhere around 60ish actually showed up. I consider this miraculous because coming from the experience that at least 85% of people who book a first time voice lesson with me never actually show up, this ratio is STUNNING. All that said though, as stressful and time consuming as handling the extras' submissions was, I didn't hate it and I think I could probably be kind of good at it...and maybe I'll go get me an internship at a casting office or something just for fun and to learn more. It can only be helpful as a re-blossoming actor.

But I digress. Naturally, as is the nature of this particular business where there are soooooooo many details that all have to fall into place perfectly for it to work, we had an 11th hour crisis - and unfortunately it never got resolved. One of our principal actors had car trouble and couldn't make it from Venice out to Pasadena. We tried everything short of hiring her a cab (because we spent every single penny we had in the budget renting the location, covering permits, etc.) and of course, no one else in our scene lived anywhere near Venice so we couldn't arrange a pick up on the way. So sadly, she is not making an appearance in our final scene. Because I'm a little bit dark and twisty in my humor, I've re-written her storyline from "abused wife who leaves her husband and 'Goes On'" to "abused wife who TRIED to leave her husband but he caught up with her as she was leaving and gave her the Tony Soprano treatment."

What? Oh shut up, you're going to hell for something, too.

Another fun thing that happened was that a friend of mine showed up to the shoot as promised late, filmed one shot and took off because she'd been dealing with some serious transitions in her life over the last month and listening to the song over and over again caused her to meltdown. Niiiiiiiiice, huh? THAT'S how you want your music to effect people, right? LOL. She's ok and we talked about it (cuz diva was a lil miffed), but I will always be able to say that I gave someone a nervous breakdown with my music. Not everyone can say that, can they? Take THAT, Gaga!!!

But those were the worst two things that happened all day long so honestly it could NOT have gone better. Almost everyone was on time (or even early!), they brought lawn chairs and books to read, they were quiet, respectful of each other and the crew, it was a very diverse crowd of all colors, looks and ages (which was HUGELY important to me - we even had a gorgeous drag queen, a dude with a Mohawk and a St. Bernard in the mix!) and when it started getting a little bit too hot around 11:30am or so...no one, including the little children, complained. I was so impressed...I'm still blown away by how great people were! Some of them (particularly the teens and tweens) also kind of looked at me like I was this otherworldly being, the "ARTISTE" I guess, and that was both fascinating and weird, because I've never experienced that before. It probably had something to do with my friend and amazing makeup artist Martin Christopher rushing up between every shot to blot, powder, pin and fluff...I'm sure it looked ludicrously "important." LOL. But I can only say THANK GOD for him, as I'd have wilted in an hour if he hadn't been there! Best money I ever spent. Trust (as he'd say).

The best part though, was when someone would come up to me and thank me for the song, tell me how much it meant to them and tell me their story of triumphing over hardships (and later, other crew members shared what some said to them). A couple actually teared up talking about how the song moved them. It just rocked my world. I think any songwriter can attest that when you live with a song for so long you can start to take for granted how it made you feel to write it and what it meant to you at the time...it becomes just another piece in your catalog. So when a significant number of people ages later express what it means to them, it's really very humbling to think that something you did or created can effect someone else's heart so significantly. Of course, that's why we do what we do (if we're not the fame whore type, anyway -- not judging necessarily, just saying) but I can't imagine that I'm the only songwriter that's a little taken aback when the effort succeeds as planned. People standing up and walking out of their histories, encouraged to do so perhaps in part because of a little song I wrote. Praisaluiah!

[I would be remiss if I didn't stop a second to note my thanks to my co-writer on this song, Levi Kreis, without whom I'd not have made the trip to New York and visited Ground Zero in August of 2006 in the first place and without whom the song would not have been finished later.] 

We actually wrapped on time (15 minutes early, I do believe -- in your face, Spielberg!), loaded up the cars, I went home for a few to change, then went to meet up with Director Chris, Producer Jacole, Assistant to the Producer Jamie (Jacole's sis), Assistant to the Director Marie (Chris' lady), awesome crew members Kelli (aka "iPod"), KarenCandy, principle actors Kelly and the Colbert Twins (and their daddy) and some friends of ours down from the Berkeley area visiting for the weekend, RobertLisa and their gorgeous little baby Raina, to chill and toast our long-awaited wrap. We were loopy as hell (as call time for some was as early as 6am and DC, PJ, A2DM and I were up late and early all week prior) and the champagne probably didn't help matters, but we were giddy with ourselves for being a totally indie production and taking on a real, full-blown music video and actually succeeding! Dream big, get bigness in return!

It was a beautiful, amazing, joyful, SUNNY (!!!), healing, fun, fulfilling day. And I have the farmer burn and scratched up feet (from going barefoot) to prove it! And I'd do it all again! Well...in awhile. A long while. And I'm pretty sure we'll story board the next one to include a nice, air-conditioned studio. Juuuuuust sayin!

Love to every last one of you who backed our fundraising campaign on Kickstarter...without you this weekend would never have happened. We cannot ever express our thanks enough without sounding like complete, gushing teenagers. We love you.

Thank you to Tacey (sp?) at the City of Pasadena Parks and Recreation, Lance at FilmIns.com, our park monitor guy whose name I forgot and the residents who live on Orange Grove and Sunnyslope in Pasadena (except the one that reported us to Parks and Rec the next day for being too loud, even though you had written notification from P&R that we'd be there -- you're a big poopypants poopyhead and I'm totally gonna sic Amy Poehler on you - loveyoumeanitnamaste!). 

More love to my personal friends who showed up to be in or work on this scene as crew at the butt crack of dawn on a sacred Sunday morning simply because I asked you to. I'm so blessed to have you all in my life:

Kelly Goodman (principal)
Greg Weaver (principal)
Candice & Seamus Colbert
Kelli Bowlden
Karen Brundage
Dawn Merkel
Chris Trott
Andy Allen
Rodney Petreikis
Paul Marich 
Romulo Mota
Marena Atallah
Marla Douglas
Richard Gadas
Robert Long
Scott Patrick
Susan Thatcher
Miss Poppy Fields
Dr. Mike Wooten
(I hope I didn't forget any of you!)

And of course, everyone who showed up at Gwinn Park in Pasadena by 7:30am (a final list of names I do not yet have) to hang around with a grassroots production team and indie artist in the hot sun for almost six hours in exchange for egg salad sandwiches, donuts, Starbucks and sunburns. You were stone cold pros and we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts!

Most importantly -- Chris, Jacole, Marie and iPod...in it knee deep from day one, I'd give you my fallopian tubes and my last egg if they weren't all shriveled and useless. The most love, evereverever.

Stay tuned, Darciples! Big things a-happenin'!!!


Marieeeee :) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marieeeee :) said...

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

(in my first comment, the smiley faces didn't look right!)

:) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Kellisays said...

I heartily concur with Marie, and I am SO proud to be any tiny part of bringing this video to life :)