Saturday, October 11, 2008

Returning to the director's chair: The newest Dion Conflict directed music video for Mikey Bustos

There has been many starts and stops when it's coming to directing a new music video. At one point I was kind of so-so about the genre and on top of it, it seemed that many outlets in Canada were drying up to actually get them shown. Two things changed this... Youtube and Myspace.

When I met up with Brian and Dave (basically the guys that make things happen in real time for my production company) and sprung on them "You guys want to work on a music video?", it was a matter of minutes before Mikey joined us at one of our production meetings playing his latest cuts he recorded. I was particularily fond of the track that they were wanting to release as a single "If it feels good then we should" as a catchy lil ditty, which had me taking notes as I listened to the track. Those original notes had "Water, blue blue and more blue".

I listened to the track about 30 times, developing the storyline for the video which mixed in the water theme, a hot day, thirsty girls, ice, and putting Mikey in a character as a water delivery guy which takes him out of his context for the Canadian viewer of "Canadian Idol" and making him the everyman. Well, hopefully the everyman to the female leads! One thing that was predominant when mentioning the theme to Mikey and my team is that I wanted the video to be black and white, but also blue, a somewhat unsual color scheme, but one that would be unique.

The location was one I came across in Toronto by accident. A friend and I were walking down by the lakeshore in Toronto when he showed me an area he said "he use to mess around in when he was 16". When I had taken my Assistant Director Brian there, we kind of got lost and found this unusual man-made pond area with a dock stricking through the middle of it. We were in love with the location, and describing it to others and those auditioning was interesting!

The shoot day was usually hot. But everyone was in gear and ready to work. One funny thing was there was a shady grassy area we at first would sit at, until we got bit by red ants. Mikey made me laugh saying "I'm getting bitten by these red ants!" Leaving food out was a no-no. The actresses were all troopers, ready to go for it and for the first time in SOME time, with Brian as my AD, I could concentrate on working with the actors. We were looking for WHERE we were going to shoot the scene for the chorus and bridge, when Dave my steadycam operator and I searched a bit and came across the "Reconciliation" rock. Could we get any luckier? While shooting the scenes with Mikey and the girls on the rock, I knew there was real chemistry between him and the girls as I had to pinch myself to yell cut. People looking on hanging out in the park just looked at them transfixed. Lake Ontario, usually not too nice looking, had waves sparkling as we shot.

We ended the majority of the shoot, packed up everything in the rental van, while my crew sat on the recliners the girls sat on. Exhausted, we ate Little Casaers in the parking lot, looking over our burns (Virpi, who was here from Finland and was a production assistant, was ESPECIALLY burnt.). When I removed my Versace sunglasses, everyone laughed.

I'm really happy with the final result, and while there's more shots I wish I could have added to it, the track and video work well together. Mikey now gets e-mails from girls saying "I see you like jugs" - hahahahaha.

The funniest moment was after pitching the concept to my team, Mikey was DYING to know the concept and made me come up to see him after I had a day full of meetings. It was 11pm and I drove up to his place, where we went close to Jane/Finch for some Vietnamese Pho where I pitched the concept. With a huge smile, and clapping his hands, he said he loved it. "But D, what's a water cooler?"


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