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One of the aspects of our work that we enjoy the most is coming up with music video concepts - and we like to ensure that each of our videos are very unique. Music videos involve collaboration between artists and new friends, as well as cohesion between the visuals and the sound.
We were really pleased to have been asked by the remarkable fellows of Trinity Roots to embark on another music video project. We had loved working with Warren, Rio and Ben on the video for Haiku. As with Haiku, New Zealand On Air had provided Trinity Roots with NZOA funding to make a music video. We fell in love with El Kaptain the first time we heard it - a strong ballad looking at our tendency to unquestioningly follow our political leaders, without standing up for what we believe to be important. We flew down to Wellington and began.
We had five days to source all the costumes, build the set, build or source the props, dress the set, dress the props, and prepare our shot list. The Octopus alone took 2 1/2 days to create (later named "Petyr" after a wonderful Pete in Lyall Bay who lent us his row boat for filming).
The tale in the video begins with a Captain enticing potential voyagers to travel with him in his small sailing ship. The passengers are enchanted by his calls and line up to board. They pay him his fee (for some this amount is far more dear to them) and he casts off. As they enter the wide expanse of the ocean where they have no means of escape, the Captain changes the direction they are sailing. The passengers are startled, realising the considerable shift the Captain has thrust upon them, but they don't stand up to him. He drinks more than his share and fill, and then leads the passengers to Mermaids to placate their view of him. The Mermaids are beautiful, a wonder, and the men aboard begin to jostle over their attentions. The woman begins to worry - it's a small boat that could easily capsize with their squabbling. Only the Accordion Player sees the Mermaids for what they are - a mirage of sensuousness hides starving sirens who are eager only to see their boat smashed against the rocks.
The small boat continues to another wonder - elegant buildings in the middle of the ocean. A visual metaphor for deep sea oil drilling, these buildings are tall and ominous. A peal of thunder and suddenly the buildings are raining gold from their windows. Again, the visions that the Captain are showing the passengers are not what they seem, and the Accordion Player shakes his head in silent fury. The Woman gasps as she suddenly grasps the cause of the Accordion Player's disdain - the "gold" is worthless, tarnished, rubble. The Captain's share of the gold is safe, however, in a magical chest already full of golden treasures. As they sail onwards, an Octopus from the depths attacks the boat, and the Captain rushes from his responsibility for the people's safety to the back of the boat. The Religious Man, The Woman and the Solider are left to fend off the hooking tentacles. Finally, the passengers send the Octopus back down to it's murky home and then mutiny against the Captain. But the passengers need someone to lead them. The Accordion Player is bestowed the role, but will he fare any better than the last Captain?
We built buildings out of cardboard surfboard boxes and found an incredible array of props from the vintage section of Ziggurat, from local Salvation Army shops, Brennan Building Recyclers, and fabric shops. We bought over 20 meters of fabric to create the undulating waves, in materials ranging from chiffons to satins. We also bought the entire central city's supply of pirate coins from $2 Shops to create the coin waterfalls from the windows of the set's buildings.
We had the inestimable good fortune of having Tim Holman cycle up to the roller doors of the warehouse studio to see how we were getting on. He jumped aboard and provided expertise, fantastic advice, and hours upon hours of his energy and good humour. He even fed us, inviting us over to join him and his partner for a delicious BBQ and wine around Tim's hand crafted fiery brazier after a particularly long day. LEGEND.
THE COSTUME CAVE were BRILLIANT! Kate from the Costume Cave was so friendly, so helpful, and patient as we fit 5 actors into monochrome 1920s outfits that also maintained a minimalist modern feel. Not only did we find the costumes - it was done in record time, a total of 2 1/2 hours across 3 sessions as we juggled with the availability of our actors.
We flew Kowhai Wilkie down from Auckland to perform as a mermaid, and she helped us out with our last set elements as we gathered our thoughts to prepare our shot list.
Suddenly, before we knew it - we were into the start of our weekend shoot. And it was better than we could possibly have imagined.
The team of Yolanda, Nicole and Mythra from BODY FX were our monochrome make-up specialists. We have worked with BODY FX many times, and each time we do it only reinforces our respect of their art, abilities, talent, fun and friendliness. It's such a privilege to work with capable professionals who are so passionate about their work.
We were lucky enough to have Carolin Prinn as one of our principal actors. Her skills as a free-lance artist and illustrator were utilised as she volunteered to add some Art Deco embellishments to the buildings on set. Her hand helped to bring these set pieces alive! You can see some of her work at: www.carolinprinn.com Carolin was also responsible for our whimsical arrow, and James took the pains to cut all the curves and details!
We had such a great cast + crew for this music video - and here they are:
We have MANY THANK YOUs to pass on to some wonderful people:
Firstly - Trinity Roots. Thank you all so much for entrusting us with the challenge of creating a visual accompaniment to such a powerful song. "Citizen" is a truly remarkable album, much aroha and congratulations! Thank you to NZOA, BODY FX, Tim Homan, Joff Rae, Jaz Hales, our fun super-crew of actors, The Costume Cave, SuperColour, Heather Jones + Chris Ritchie, Pete of Lyall Bay for use of his rowboat, Centennial Coffee House in Lyall Bay for the boat's steering wheel, Brennan Building Recyclers, all of our steadfast supportive families + friends, and thank YOU for watching.