Thursday, November 29, 2018

Behind the Scenes of the 'Backstabber' Music Video

Wait… What’s the “Backstabber” music video? Glad you asked!

Dragon Inn 3 is a sister band to the Springfield favorite, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, and they released their debut album, Double Line, this August. It's a really wonderful homage to the '80s and early '90s both in sound and style. For their album's release, a handful of Springfield artists and filmmakers made music videos for certain songs to create a visual album which premiered at the Moxie.

Locke and Stache, the production company my husband Austin owns with two of our friends, Chris and Josh, decided to tackle the song "Backstabber", and I got to do the production design! Recently, the video was released on NPR's World Cafe, which was such a fun "pinch me" moment to see a project we worked so hard on earn a spot on a site we really admire.

Here's the video. The blog post that follows is a little bit of a "behind the scenes" insight for you, reader-friend, into how this got made... and a little bit of a page for my own digital memory book.

If you’re like me, you get distracted while watching TV and movies. So, so distracted. I think this happens to a lot of people who have some interest in cameras or lighting… gearheads, or whatever you want to call them. I’m occasionally plagued by these questions, too (was that “outdoor” scene really shot outdoors?), but most of my inner-movie-monologue revolves around production design.

My degree is in English — reading, understanding and dissecting literature — and one huge part of story is setting. In the real world, you can learn a lot about a person based off where they hang out and even how they dress themselves. For these reasons, it was so fun to take the incredible script Josh wrote and do a deep dive into setting.

Photos by Bradley Balsters
Parts of it were challenging. I was around in Springfield during the summer of 1992 (the setting for the music video), but, like... in a stroller. I wanted to really explore what our hometown would have looked like in those years; a lot of what comes to mind when we think '90s is more 1995-1999. For Detective Shepard, Chuck, Hank, Mr. Business, etc. in our video, the late '80s were certainly an influence in their appearance. I also wanted to depict these settings as accurately as we possibly could 30 years later. Some of my favorite little details we were able to throw in were the McSalty's pizza boxes, fictional newspaper clippings in the "crazy wall" scene and all the familiar Springfield faces and locations we could squeeze into three minutes. I studied crime scene photos from the "3 Missing Women" scene to do our best to accurately depict who these women were in the few seconds this concept plays out on screen. It's a small way to show respect to their human dignity, but I believe it's meaningful.

Let's talk about sets: Two of the sets were built in the Locke and Stache office, and those guys are so innovative I'm convinced they can pull off anything. The "mom's basement/crazy wall" scene was built in 4 hours, and this photo of Kaylinn and me gives a glimpse into what we were working with in that room. We took down the set the very next day to prep for the "Mr. Business" scene, which left the office covered in champagne and confetti. Whoops! 😂

Photos by Josh Pfaff

Let's talk about donating a lot of time and energy to a "just for fun" project with a group of people: Do it. If you have the opportunity, do it. If you don't see an opportunity, consider heading one up. For this music video, we shot five days in a row, sometimes until 3 a.m. or even later because many of the scenes were set at night. During the day, we hunted for any last-minute props and worked ahead on the next scenes. It was exhausting but worthwhile, and getting to know crew and other creatives on a more personal level is insanely rewarding. I've gotten to do prop styling on editorial shoots (both for photo and video), and exploring this new avenue of styling with more of a narrative to consider was really fun for me.

Let's talk about how talented EVERYBODY I KNOW is: I'm always impressed when I look around at our "little" city and how many big ideas live here. Every single person who was on this set made it better, but special shoutout to Kaylinn Clotfelter and her killer instincts on set. My job would have been a lot more challenging without the help of her and Isaiah Satterfield. Keep an eye out for those two and photographer Bradley Balsters; they're in a fun stage of life and able to be involved in a bunch of creative projects right now.

Annnnd, that's a wrap! Thanks for sticking with me if you've made it this far. 🤗

Photo by Bradley Balsters

Photography by Bradley Balsters, graphic design by Logan Triplett
p.s. If you want to hear more than just my take on the behind the scenes of this production (which I'm sure you do!), head over to Locke and Stache's BTS video released today.

and p.p.s. If you want to read more about Dragon Inn 3 (you should!), check out this News-Leader article. Big thanks to Phil and the band for making some great music and giving us the opportunity to work on this project.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

25 Items of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, people! My fam has a longstanding tradition of going to a family friend's house for Turkey Day. It's been going on for 30+ years; this group is o.g. Friendsgiving advocates. Needless to say, it's my favorite holiday. And it's not just for the potatoes au gratin. There's something uniquely sacred about friendships that become family.

Gratitude is one of those amazing things like chocolate or wine that *sometimes* your doctor recommends you add in, y'know, for your health, and that sounds like a pretty good recommendation. It's scientifically proven that giving thanks makes you more thankful. So, here's a little peek at my gratitude list. Some are big, some are small, and I think it's worth taking time to acknowledge both. In no particular order...

- my husband, who married me last October, and made my world a little bigger
- the inspiration I gain from traveling to other places and taking in their sights, sounds and colors
- clean water
- internet access
- the fact that pulling your socks up over your pants makes you WAY warmer, and that it is kind of trendy now. (p.s. I will 100% do this when it's not trendy too, stay tuned)
- my family and a home I am always welcome in
- living in Missouri, which gives me the ability to experience all four seasons. (sometimes all in one day!)
- prayer
- education
- friends who sit with me, laugh with me, listen to me, love me
- THANKSGIVING FOODS. personal favorites: potatoes au gratin, pumpkin pie, bacon-wrapped dates
- viral tweets and internet memes
- seeing many of my friends become moms and love their little ones
- friendsgiving dinners, and really anytime I get to share a meal with friends
- the fact that your only limit to creativity is your own mind
- regular foods. personal favorites: anything Mexican but not too spicy, brie cheese, pickles
- the amount of people in my hometown who inspire me in their careers, work and values
- learning both the challenging parts and the exciting parts of self-employment
- pajama sets. I bought my first PJ set since I was a lil one this year, and there's no going back.
- adults and mentors who have invested in me
- the ability to read a book and have access to them. (libraries!)
- coffee, and all of the many ways I enjoy it. (anywhere from black to latte-level cream)
- the privilege of being able to earn an income doing things I love
- cats IRL, but videos of dogs online
- anytime I receive snail mail that's not a bill

I'd keep going, but it's time to bake a pie, and I think you get the point! There's a lot to be grateful for even in a world that knocks ya down from time to time. Photos in this post are by my sweet pal Beth Solano.

Thankful for Beth! Thankful for photography! Thankful for pie! Thankful for you! xo.