Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ordinary Girl Video


I'm sure you're all pretty familiar with my X-Factor disaster by now, so I won't go into that again. I've been toying with the idea of making music video for some time, but recent stresses at work have prompted me to go for it. The sentinel feature of my music video has always been to make a parody of that X-Factor set-up (where I was pressured into singing a song, and then criticised for singing that song). Most of you will know that I have a diploma in TV and film, as well as theatre acting, so the parody would be heightened further by me playing all the judges myself. My brother and I would act out our favourite cartoons as kids, and so we are both good at doing lots of voices. Doing an irish accent (Ronan Keating), australian accent (Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian) and a yorkshire accent (Mel B) wasn't a problem. I just needed to find a way to recreate the set.

I phoned round several film directors, and eventually found one who was available (Ian Nicholson- Hyperdriven Films), and could use green screening and other special effects to recreate the set. I played each of the four judges in sequence, with the help of his wife, who is a professional make-up artist. It was a full day of make-up, but it achieved the desired effect. Ian then shrunk each video image down and placed them side by side behind a table to give the effect of there being four versions of me sitting side by side. He also digitally reconstructed the stage and superimposed me playing myself on it. 

The choice of song was a simple one for me- I chose Ordinary Girl because it's as catchy as all my other songs, but you  can also salsa to it. This would give the video an added dimension that other rock songs don't have. However, for that, you need a partner. I sent Amy Mills a Facebook message earlier in the year, suggesting that I may need her for this, and she said she'd be interested, but then became very difficult to contact.  I met her at the salsa congress in New Zealand in June, and she said she'd use been very busy, but was still interested. Amy is a phenomenal dancer (we'd actually only danced together once before, but we go really smoothly together), a good actress, as well as being too sexy to describe, which never hurts. She's always been my number one choice for the part.

Ian and I got started filming the rest of the video, including my starting to learn guitar, writing the song, recording it at home on my Mac, and then recording it professionally in a recording studio. The studio that I actually used for the recording wasn't available, so I had to scout around for another one. I found one that was free, and looked reasonable, but when we got there, nothing worked, and they hardly had any equipment. Ian and I had to get creative to make it look half-decent, but I definitely wouldn't recommend the place, and I felt quite sheepish paying for their time. Later that afternoon, we met up with Daniel, who played guitar at my EP launch a couple of months ago, and his friend Mattheus, who is a bassist. I hired a venue with a stage, and we played the song live about 20 times, being filmed from different angles. Now, I love the song, but after that afternoon, I really needed a break from it. For about a day.

Amy was still proving very difficult to get hold of during all of this, and I told her that I had a timeline to run to, and was considering hiring someone else. Which I did. Until she burnt her back doing cupping 4 days to film date. I went to Amys Monday night samba class in person and said "Amy- we're filming on thursday. I need you to be there." "OK" she said. "Thank Christ for that!".

She came up to Manly, and we both had our make up done early in the morning, before meting Ian at Manly Wines cafe to be filmed doing the boyfriend-girlfriend thing. They were kind enough to let us film there for free.We then went onto the beach to do more couply stuff. Amy asked me if she should wear a samba-type G-string. I said 'Hell no!" I needed this to be family viewing. We did some jogging on the beach and general frolicking.

In the afternoon, we went to the dance studio in Brookvale. She brought some great outfits, but the recurring theme for the one we went with was that it kept riding up towards her waist- both amusing and frustrating. I had choreographed several dance sequences, which we filmed from different angles. as well as some freestyle dancing. In retrospect, the freestyle dancing was by far more impressive, but it was good to have more material available. 
We finished by filming me singing the song to Amy. before we all went out to dinner. 

I was incredibly relieved to have all the filming done without any major hiccups. I knew I'd only have one chance at this, and we were all pretty happy with the footage. In total, the filming was done over 4 days, but it took 12 solid days of editing to put it all together. And here it is :)

As I say, I'm incredibly happy with it all. It actually generated zero sales, which was disappointing, but if I can make a statement to X-Factor that you can't screw people around like that, while showcasing my singing, songwriting, acting and dancing ability to be vastly superior to any of the judges, then I think I've achieved something. No matter how small.

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