This music video is one my favorites that I’ve done.
I really feel it’s some of my best work as a director and producer — but more importantly it’s some of the best work we’ve done as a production team.
When I say “we”, I am referring to my friends at Maximum Flavor.
This video could not have been done w/out their tireless efforts, professional manner & kick-ass resolve.
And that goes for everyone involved, from cast to crew to talent.
This video was not an easy one to make, but everyone stayed the course and saw it through.
First off, this music video originated about 2 years ago.
We started off raising production money from IndieGoGo. The budget we were striving for was around $15,000 but ended up being much less.
We made it work.
Originally we were going to shoot the video at this abandoned military hospital. It would have been perfect for the backdrop to the “asylum” vibe in the video.
Unfortunately this didn’t pan out due to budgetary setbacks.
Without a location, we were kind of in limbo. Eventually we decided we would shoot it at Soundwave Studios in Oakland, CA.
I’ve shot there many times and it’s a great place. Very affordable, accommodating and professional.
They have a building that is basically a warehouse with all of these equipment storage lockers.
We made it work.
For me, when I’m doing a music video that is based around a story element, where there’s a definitive narrative going on, I really feel like it has to be based in some sense of a reality.
There are reasons for things, consequences and these characters exist outside of this 5 minutes.
So when we make a change like location, I have to go back to my script and revise it so it makes sense to me.
Some music videos you can get away with nothing but abstract nonsense. Meaning nonsense as in, there’s no specific story going on here, it’s just a bunch of random imagery set to music.
I dig those music videos a lot because they’re a lot of fun to experiment with, but when I’m dealing with a story element that has a plot, I need it to make sense in the ‘big picture’.
So once the new location made sense in my head I was able to formulate a plan of attack and how different shots correlated to each other.
I live for this shit. It’s like creating something out of nothing.
So we ended up doing 3 different days of shooting and got a lot of great footage.
I was very happy with how it all turned out.
The visual style of this video can be attributed mostly to my DP, Mark Austin Heim. I’ve worked with Mark many times over the past few years and he has an amazing eye for lighting, style and appeal.
His AC Karen Abad, an accomplished cinematographer in her own right, worked with Mark on all of the hallway shots, and it definitely shows.
We used a lens baby for some of the “crazy” shots and eclectic lighting schemes for others. The smoke machine was in full effect for this video – it always makes things look cooler.
Overall, I wanted the aesthetic to be moody, dark and a little crazy. Mission accomplished.
Our gaffer & second camera, Christopher Peoples was on point as always and helped make for some truly beautiful shots. I’ve worked with Chris many times before and hope to many more times to come. He is also a DP and it definitely helps his eye when it comes to lighting and staging. Another strong asset to the group.
We were going to have George Clinton himself play the Doctor, but due to scheduling conflicts we just weren’t able to make it happen — so I tapped Tom Cokenias, whom I worked with briefly when I was doing ‘Help! I’m Alive…’ and I thought he’d be perfect. He was.
A really talented actor and a really good guy. In my opinion he nailed exactly what I was going for with that character.
My friend Alexandra Heard played Nurse Payne. Alex is a dancer, model, host & actress that I’ve used in a couple of different videos.
I wanted a nurse who was strong, sexy and no nonsense. It would have been easy to go with a ‘slutty nurse’ concept just for the eye candy, but I wanted Nurse Payne to be a real bitch – but still look good.
She is someone you don’t wanna fuck with. She runs that asylum and keeps everyone in line. I felt Alex was able to exude a certain amount of that power, while still showcasing a submissive nature to the Doctor who was really in charge.
Jeff Sun & Mitch Roth played the Orderlies. Jeff I also worked with on ‘Help! I’m Alive…’ and have since used him in my videos as well. Really great actor and an amazing person to have in your corner.
Mitch, who was actually the AD as well, stepped in to play the one-eyed orderlie. This guy had been around the block and did not take shit from anybody. I thought this was most apparent in his scenes where he’s roughing up Gift of Gab. Good stuff!
G Koop himself, who also produced the song, played the Warden. In the first version of the video, when we thought we were going to have a bigger budget, G Koop was going to play a secret agent type of character that rescued our heroes from the clutches of the vile, Dr. Nose! When we had to cut it back, I still wanted to use Koop in the vid, so I decided to make him the Warden.
While he’s not seen much in the video except for the opening slow motion shots, I saw him as the guy who oversees the whole project. He is equal in power and responsibility to Nurse Payne, but while she’s in charge of the patients, he’s in charge of the facility, the orderlies and making sure things run smooth. I wish we could’ve done more w/ the character, but time & money is always against us.
We put Gab, Lateef & LB in straight jackets for a few of the takes, and I could tell they really dug getting in to character. As you can see from their performances, they really brought out their “crazy” side.
It was interesting to me too how each of them portrayed that state of mind. LB was very physical and aggressive while Lateef was mischievous and paranoid. Gab was paranoid as well, but played out a more mellow and docile crazy.
These guys are always fun to work with and for this video we all had a great time on camera and off.
Anyways, that’s a little behind-the-scenes info for ya. Just some insight in to my creative process and the people who made this video a reality.
I also have to thank the IndieGoGo contributors who really made this video happen. We could NOT have done it without you guys!
I hope you enjoy the video!