MAKING MY FIRST MUSIC VIDEO
I met Lyrah (Kathleen Warner) on twitter. Honestly I forgot when exactly. She thought my videos were cool and I liked her music. She asked if I’d be down to direct a video. I’m not sure if she knew I hadn’t made one before, but I said yes. My skills directing product and brand videos could translate right? Plus I have friends that have made music videos and I occasionally volunteered for WDMV which connected me with plenty of talented directors I could ask for advice. Plus there’s always YouTube right?
We had our first official meeting about this video on November 9th 2019. The single and video dropped last week on March 18th 2020. Hella great response so far. It made it to COLORSXSTUDIOS Song of the Day, was featured in the Nightcap Apple Music playlist and the best part – friends and strangers have told us so many nice things. Also as of writing this, zero dislikes on YouTube. Now that I’ve said it though someone will probably just dislike it out of spite. Oh well.
We started with a meetup in NYC to talk about the project and outlined the details on Dropbox Paper. We started with her overall aesthetic, vibe of the song, and narrative in the lyrics. Over the next couple of weeks we added moodboards, references, and outlined a storyboard based on the lyrics. Also iMessage. Hella ideas and references exchanged back and forth. I was a lil afraid but just went for it and asked lots of questions and showed her things I found interesting. This helped us narrow things down for the video and get on the same page. Even though we never worked with each other before this we understood how to project manage the hell out of this because of our respective professional experience. Then we settled on a date in LA for the shoot and worked backwards from there.
I have to mention a lot of music videos don’t operate on this long of a timeline. I heard if Gucci Mane has a song Wednesday night he wants a video for then the video will be done and out Saturday night. This was a completely indie production between me and the artist Lyrah so we made up our own process and rules. Also we both worked our respective jobs while making this project happen.
In hindsight our storyboard was very ambitious. We had two different worlds, choreography, freestyles, scenes with extras, performance scenes, and several locations we wanted to shoot in. Also styling, props, make-up, art direction for everything. All in one day. I’d like to think I was optimistic and planning well but perhaps there was more naivety and a big ass cup of Dunning-Kruger effect.
Since Lyrah already had the song recorded I found references from movies and other music videos that generally fit the storyboard and put it together. This served as our template for making the video.
My brother’s name is Green – yes we are named after colors. I enlisted his help in making the choreography for after the chorus. He’s hella dope, just check out his Instagram or Tik-Tok. He can move. He filmed himself doing all 3 parts and then cut it together and did hella masking to plan out the blocking. What a pro.
The crew would be myself, my brother and my friend Carl. Green worked with and for a lot of YouTubers in LA so he knew how to operate on set. My friend Carl also came on as DP and gaffer. I met him partying in Hong Kong during study abroad almost 10 years ago. I don’t know why but I remember he had a bowtie and suspenders on. He’s the only one that actually went to film school and that made a huge difference on set. My friend John also showed up to take BTS pics and hang. He’s the one to thank for the beautiful non-iPhone images you get to look at while reading this.(more…)