I cannot think of a better way for me to cap off what’s been a crazy week on this side of the computer screen than to present all you fine folk with this delightful ditty from Boston favorites The Motion Sick.
This cute clip (I’m feeling alliterative today!) comes to me by way of a commenter of this very blog! Leesa Coyne sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago letting me know about a clip she had worked on with Mike Epstein of The Motion Sick (among other bands…look this guy up, he’s a busy bee). See, I read your e-mails and comments! Anyway, this music video was a great breath of fresh air in the middle of this hot and humid summer. What’s there not to love about a montage of comic book character cartoon clips? However, I must respectfully disagree with The Motion Sick. Aquaman is super cool, and fish are awesome and not boring at all.
Editor | Leesa Coyne
Many thanks again to Leesa, and all you other fine folk out there reading this! Keep sending me more tips and news about what you’ve done and what you’re doing! Together we really can make Boston a great town for music videos!
The boys of Guy Manly Movies are at it again! The group of Emerson and Suffolk graduates, known for their work with Jukebox the Ghost, Lannen Fall and Secret Destroyer is releasing a new music video for one-man sensation Brother Fox’s first single, “Man of Steel”!
Matt Thompson, director of the clip, first met Dan Kennedy (aka The Brother Fox) via a confounding series of mutual friends who hooked Kennedy up with Thompson’s business card. Thompson was in need of a DP, and Dan happened to be a talented one, so they wound up working together on a music video project for Massachusetts band AMTransit. The two filmmakers hit it off, and eventually Kennedy let it slip that he was a musician and maybe looking to make a music video of his own. After hearing the two songs that Kennedy sent him as possible video candidates, Thompson was immediately excited about “Man of Steel”. The song is dark and dynamic, dealing with a robot who longs to be a man. Thompson saw endless thematic possibilities in the nuances of the lyrics before him, and asked Kennedy what he thought about the layered meanings of the song. Kennedy was bewildered. “I don’t know, dude,” he laughed, “It’s just about a robot.”
I’m glad Thompson saw what he did in the song. The video is simple but crushing. It is the story of a man struggling with an idea, then a plan, then a project and finally a creation, all told in one extended tracking shot. Thompson got lucky finding the location, a building awaiting renovations whose owners were kind enough to lend it to the film crew for free for a day. However, that luck was hobbled by some unfortunate timing. The morning of the shoot, after the crew had spent all night finessing the set dressings, Thompson received a call from Kennedy. He had thrown out his back, could not move and was going to the ER. Desperate to make the most of such a fortuitous location and willing crew, Thompson begged Kennedy to power through the shoot. “I’m pretty sure he hated me,” chuckles Thompson, “He still might.” Still, Kennedy showed up, woozy and disoriented from the painkillers he was relying on to get through the shoot.
Such a leading actor made for an interesting shoot, but Thompson is convinced the injury worked out as an advantage in the end. Kennedy goes through the shoot with the intensity of a man trying his hardest to work through some serious pain, a grimace that makes the emotion of the song even more real. I have to say, knowing the story, I can’t imagine it was a pleasant experience for Kennedy, but with results like this video, it’s clear to see that the perseverance paid off.
Or see it here in HD!
Matthew Thompson | Director
Fabian Perez | DP
Guy Manly Movies | Production Co
The Brother Fox’s album, Eventual Exit is also available on iTunes!
Guy Manly Movies is also excited to share with fans and readers a behind-the-scenes video for the making of “Man of Steel”! It’s an awesome glimpse into the kind of chaos that a film set is, and all the hard work it takes leading up to the shoot. It’s password-protected for friends-only viewing, so enter the password “friends” to view!
Behind every great director there is a trail of great stories. After all, you don’t go from shooting your family’s home videos to directing the winner of the Boston Phoenix’s Best Local Video award overnight, do you?
Director Michael Gill is a treasure trove of good stories. Even he has a hard time keeping track of just what he’s accomplished and how he got there. His early years in film are a jumble, to hear him tell it. Born and raised in Connecticut, Gill grew up shooting his funny videos with his friends using the family camcorder and working at the local public access station. After an brief jaunt to a fledgling film school in Maine, Gill returned home to join his best friend’s band, Johnny Too Bad & the Strikeouts, the band that eventually brought him to Boston. Soon after, Johnny Too Bad dissolved, and Gill joined the popular local band the Damn Personals. Oddly enough, it was this foray into the music industry that finally got Gill into its film counterpart. Their tour companions, Boston punk band The Explosion, saw the potential in their cine-phile friend. “Everyone knew I was a movie geek and that I loved making movies,” recounts Gill. They hired him to do some promo shots, including a video of the band writing a song about the Human Torch for the Fantastic 4 video game that Gill consider his sort-of first music video.
After their new label saw what Gill could do, he was contracted to provide live concert footage for their first official music video. Soon, Gill found himself working for the local production company Subversion Productions. Here he honed his skills, and after it too folded he used his refined skills to make a name for himself as a professional but affordable music video director.
In spite of his visible talent, Gill does not discount how important friends and good luck are in being successful. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” he says of the Damone spot he shot for The CW. He had already worked with Damone on a couple music videos and a rockumentary, connected through his friendship with Pete Galli, Damone’s manager. However, when Damone was offered the opportunity to become the face of The CW, as long as they made the spot within a very small window of time, Gill was handy. The result was a fantastic spot that involved shooting on a green screen and then coordinating the editing with actor footage shot by professionals on the west coast:
That same friendship with Galli also led to an interesting jaunt with the unpredictable, infectious performer Andrew W.K, whom Galli was also managing. Andrew was so impressed with the work Gill had done for Damone that he invited him in on a risky but fun proposition: to shoot a TV pilot, a project dubbed “Smokeshow,” on Andrew’s dime, for no pay other than expense coverage, and then wait and hope it got picked up. The two set off on what could only be called an adventure, writing and shooting skits and traveling around the country capturing encounters with random citizens. The fates were against the two and the pilot was never picked up, but Gill still considers the experience a net win. Here’s an example of one adventure:
Nowadays Gill is happy to keep working for Boston’s struggling artists. He’s excited about the changes the Internet has wrought in the music industry, saying that bands no longer necessarily aim to be signed to major labels. The Internet lets bands do their own thing, which is great because then “DIY bands want DIY videos.” He recognizes some challenges of shooting in Boston, mostly ruing the lack of a filmmaking community. To Gill, it feels like there are a lot of people who want to make music videos on their own, but he believes that Boston filmmakers would do better to pool resources. “It’s said that great art thrives off of limitation,” opines Gill, “but I think that great art also thrives off of collaboration.” His tips to other Boston directors, new or old, is “friendliness, openness to learning, and a good attitude. The best thing is to just dive in and learn by doing.” Gill also vehemently promotes the Internet as a learning tool, strongly suggesting that new directors “take advantage of Google and online forums. There are a lot of strangers out there who are helping each other out.” As for Gill, he’s busy shooting his second video for the local band The Have-Nots. He also recently released a rockumentary on good friends and old clients Piebald, called Nobody’s Robots. Check out the trailer for that, and Mike’s other work, at his site or his Youtube Channel or just keep checking in here!
A handy tip for readers: never underestimate my deep, deep love for bright colors. Use blocks of bright colors in your work and I am immediately and totally yours.
This Blue Heaven must have known of my great love when they were making the video for “Bliss”. The video is built around the combination of the most cheerful colors known to man and the most cheerful-looking band I have ever seen. This Blue Heaven has only been around for three years. They released their first album, Quicksandglass only last year, and quickly released a fun music video to announce their arrival on the scene. “Bliss” does a great job of capturing the band’s attitude toward music, their self-proclaimed mission to “remind you of all the reasons you love being alive, to make you see that their world and your world are one and the same.” The music is so upbeat, and the band is so happy, they clap while backlit and also sing and dance in front of bright colors while being lighted by other bright colors and also they wear bright colors! It’s a color smorgasbord!
Director | Christopher Gaines
The band hasn’t stopped there, though. Their new album, Spinning and Shining is set to be released on August 7th. Catch their CD release party that night at the Middle East in Cambridge, with The Downbeat 5, The Sun Lee Sunbeam, Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling, St. Helena, and Naked on Roller Skates, hosted by Boston Band Crush. See you all there!
It’s been a busy week and I haven’t been able to update at all. My apologies to my handful of readers out there, and updates on what’s been going on:
First, a quick shout out. In my trips to scour the internet for info on what’s doing in Boston music video-wise, I’ve come across few sites that have been as helpful to me and just plain interesting in general than Boston Band Crush. Co-founder and current publisher Ashley Willard and her fearless band of contributors continue to provide the Boston scene with a great spot to check in for music news, and every now and then they cover music video shoots and releases, which has been great for me. They definitely deserve a click over, and if you are make music, this site is essential for getting the word out about your albums or shows.
Secondly, this week has been wild for me. I have been privileged enough to have met with two of Boston’s great independent music video directors, Michael Gill of Circumvision and Matthew Thompson of Guy Manly Movies. They both have done a lot of work in Boston and have been big contributors to our local video scene, so it’s a lot of info to process and structure into readable articles. I promise promise promise that I will have those profiles up as soon as they’re up to snuff. In the meantime, peruse their sites and check out their awesome work!
Thanks for your continued readership, all, and don’t forget, I want to hear from you!
I love this crafty little video. I’m not alone either, this clip was just awarded the Boston Phoenix’s “Best Video in Boston” award, and with good reason.
The Televandals proudly proclaim on their Myspace that they’re not just about making music, they’re also about “eliminating the status quo, altering opinions and ending the apathy of our generation.” I really dig bands that look to make an impact more than just their audience’s eardrums, and I like how this mission is embodied in this video.
“Good for Nothing” lampoons everything we hate to love (or just hate, maybe) about mainstream culture. The video focuses on one girl’s uninterested channel surfing on the idiot box, and in her boredom we come across some of the mind-numbing pieces that make up Amurrica. The band members themselves play many of these roles: gameshow host and contestants, disgraced politician, infomercial salesmen, penis-enlargement pill testimonial people…the list goes on. Each TV clip is done incredibly well. The penis-enlargement commercial comes complete with men in lab coats swilling things in test tubes and women making those unmistakable “It was THIS big” hand gestures on a couch. The disgraced politician races down the steps of a government building while being harassed by journalists. The attention to detail in this video is awesome, and it really brings to the forefront the idea that our culture puts so much energy into these ridiculous products and disgusting scandals, all of which are, well, good for nothing.
Enjoy the video:
Michael Gill | director
I’m thrilled to see that so many people have been visiting the blog over the last few days! It’s exciting to see that there are so many people as interested in what’s going on in music videos here in Boston. However, as awesome as I may be, I am not all knowing. I need your tips, readers! If you know about a project that’s being shot now, or have a favorite Boston band music video you would like to see up on the blog, get in touch via the contact form on the About page, leave me comments, send pigeons, anything!
I can’t wait to hear from you all! Keep checking in, and tell your friends!