How to Make a Music Video - Part One
Long, long ago, back when I had a different band that Pat had just left and I was inconsolable, my dear friend Randy sent me a well-timed email. He proposed that we make a music video for my song, “Born Strange”. At a moment when I literally felt like quitting, he said that it needed to be immortalized. This was October, and we met for happy hour beers and started talking about a concept and a strategy. At the start of the day, the plot was that I was going to be playing a sort of Terminator femmebot out to kill my ex-boyfriends. Definitely a good idea, but after many beers and a pitcher of sangria, it somehow became something else entirely. I feel like even though many of you know about the premise at this point, I should probably keep it a little bit of a secret until it’s done. I’m estimating that you’ll see it in May. But the new idea was ridiculous and campy and also amazing so therefore I was a little skeptical that it would ever happen. We shot a little bit of live footage at our Glamdammit show on October 20th, and Randy and I had a night of vegan tacos and more planning during which we got our college friend Daryl (who now has her own casting agency) involved. But then the holidays came, Randy migrated to LA for a few weeks, and I worked on building a new band.
Finally, in late February, everyone’s schedules seemed ready to align, and Daryl put out a casting call for a mother, a father, a young daughter, hot dancer boys, and lots of extras. I was a little terrified. First off, what if no one submitted because there was no pay and I’m not famous? Secondly, what if we get this great cast and crew but somehow it still turns out terrible, probably because of me, and then there will have been all this effort for naught? My brain HATES me. However, having not been an actor for the past five years, I had forgotten how hungry they are- people just want to be in stuff. And they’re excited to be cast. So we actually got a great turn-out on the submissions and cast some fabulous people. We’d be doing four shoots and a dance audition over the course of March and April- with Randy directing, his friend Kaity assisting, Matt’s friend Jesse behind the camera, Kelli doing makeup, Billy choreographing, and our friend Thomas assisting him.
Earlier footage from October would have to be scrapped- I was blonde now. And also determined to be skinnier. It may have worked? I starved myself for a while and worked out like a fiend. Randy and I met up at his studio in Sunset Park and Skyped with our potential actors, and I tried on costumes supplied by his friend DW. The first shoot was on Friday March 15, and would be a party at my apartment for the second scene in the video. That’s a little stressful in and of itself, but we were also bringing twenty strangers in to be extras at the party. I bought what I thought was a lot of booze, but it wasn’t really. I slept for about twenty minutes the night before because I was so nervous and also had to be up at 6am for work. When I got back from work, I somehow got myself to the gym, even though I felt like a crazy person. The rest of the day was spent cleaning and getting my makeup done at Kelli’s new MAC store on Fifth Avenue. Randy, Kaity, and Jesse came over at 6ish and we set up. And then all the kids started pouring in! We gave them booze (too much booze, we ran out again and again) and ordered pizza. A bunch of real friends came over too! I was stressed about them all night though- the nature of shooting in your apartment means a lot of standing around and repeating things, and not wandering into a scene to get beer from the fridge. I wanted everyone to be in the video, but it was really hard to find that party/shoot balance. I was tense because it seemed like a lot of people needed things from me and possibly not everyone was happy, and I’d been in a corset and heels for many hours, not eating, and way over tired. But I think I mostly held it together. The kids turned out to be great- and that was total luck. They were game to do all kinds of crazy shit and I think they all actually had a good time! Randy, Kaity, and Jesse were all so professional and fantastic and really kept it from going off the rails as it easily could have. And they made everyone feel comfortable, even when (SPOILER ALERT) taking off their shirts in my shower.
A few more friends came as the music video portion of the night came to an end, I peeled off my heels and corset, and finally got to party a little bit. It was an incredibly exhausting day/night, but for whatever reason we stayed up til 4am. Twenty-two hour day. But it was a good start, and I felt optimistic, mostly because I have such amazing friends who support me and push me even when I think I want to quit or when I’m just cranky because I’ve been in heels for too long.