Probably more than you wanted to know about the Selina video shoot
So here’s a huge comprehensive post about all things Selina video-related. If you haven’t seen all my previous updates, here’s the basics: “Selina” is a song about a Catwoman. My friends in C and C are making a video for the song.
We are still raising money through Kickstarter to cover production costs. Maybe this post will encourage you to donate because these filmmakers really deserve it.
I headed out to Redlands, California last Friday where C and C Productions (my friends’ production group) is located. The group is Eric Koda, Chris Golde, Carrie and Cash Morgan. They had delegated roles for the video. Chris directed. Carrie was the producer. Cash and Joe (my apologies for not knowing your last name, Joe) assisted in everything. Eric was unable to be there much because a last minute gig illustrating for Marvel came through.
I’d met with Carrie, Chris and Eric twice before. The first time, they basically told me every idea they’d had for the video. Expecting a video concept somewhere along the lines of you-sing-the-song-in-a-Batman-t-shirt, I was pretty overwhelmed. I remember their pitch started “you’re in your mansion…” and I was like, “excuse me?”
The next time we met, they’d pared all their ideas down to a fun little story. It involved me in a cheap Batman outfit. I was to ride a motor scooter. Epic. We filmed a short intro video for Kickstarter and parted ways til last weekend.
I arrived at Cash and Carrie’s house in the morning. I tried on the Batman costume. It was pretty ridiculous. I was fascinated that the breastplate just folded in and collapsed when I stretch my arms forward. I was confused that the lower half seemed made for a skinny man while the upper half was broad. I was amused that it was a onesie. I was disturbed by the pee hole in the taint.
(Fun fact: I’m pants-less under that suit.)
While we waited for the crew to assemble, Joe made a call to Carrie to tell her “the talent is hungry.” I was hungry. But Joe unwittingly opened the door for me to refer to myself as “the talent” for the rest of the weekend.
C and C hired Ryan and John of Co-Dependency Film to film the video. Ryan was the Director of Photography and John assisted and shot all the production stills. Friday was a day of performance shots. We had four locations where we filmed me singing Selina more times than I care to remember.
We first hit Crafton College where we filmed me on a ridge overlooking the Yucaipa Valley.
I don’t know if it was the sun or the repeated four chords that got to me but I felt scrambled as we left. Singing a song a dozen times in a row will mess with your head. It’s hard to keep track of where you are in the song each time.
We packed up and went to Sylvan Park. (Side note: I used to live in Sylvan Park in Nashville.) There we did the same thing under a big tree with some absolutely fantastic natural lighting.
The park went really smoothly. I’d found my groove for singing the song over and over and over and over.
We packed up and hit the Santa Fe Train Station just as we hit “golden hour.”
The train station was just indulgently gorgeous. Chris and Ryan really set up some pretty shots. We filmed me singing the song in a dozen different ways: in between the columns, in front of boarded up windows, from below, in front of a weathered old building, walking down the train tracks.
Walking down the tracks singing the song I thought, this is too much for a little ol’ song about Catwoman. For that shot, they used their truck as a dolly and drove along side me in the parking lot. Very Dylan.
After that, we took a break and headed to Augie’s coffee house where we previewed a lot of the footage. It was, as I told everyone, prettier than the song.
We headed to The Gourmet Pizza Shoppe to order dinner. I found this:
Turns out, it tastes just like Dr Pepper from Nashville. But with real sugar. FTW.
Around 8, we headed over to our final performance location, Stell Coffee. It’s a really cool coffee shop. Chris wanted a dolly shot around the counter. The idea was that I’d play the song behind the counter while the baristas did their work and the camera moved around. John and Ryan set up the dolly tracks like so:
Then I got familiar with my co-star for this scene, Zach, and we started shooting.
The dolly shot looked… amazing. And lasted exactly half of the song. So we cued it up and shot the second half with the camera moving the opposite way around the counter.
That wrapped the day.
Actually what really wrapped the day was my quote to Chris: “I don’t want to use someone else’s hole.” I was of course referring to the Batman suit’s pee hole.
Saturday was the narrative part of the shoot. No singing, just drama, action and comedy. For most of it, I was in the Batman costume. Though it sounds immediately silly, I told Chris that what I liked about the concept of the video was how it captured the sides of my music’s personality: I write songs that make (possibly trite) pop culture references while expressing genuine emotions as well. They may be funny but my songs aren’t jokey. And it’s the same with the video and its juxtaposition of me performing the song in a really stripped-down setting and then acting like a Batman cosplayer. At least, I hope that’s the case.
We rolled out early and stopped in a parking lot for me to learn how to ride a scooter. I’d driven one only once before and I didn’t feel so confident. So the warm-up was essential.
Then we went to Comic Quest where the meat of the Batman story takes place. There were dramatic moments, slo-mo moments, and a whole bunch of funny looks from a dude in a cheap Halloween costume. Let the pics tell the story.
I can’t do justice to the experience of being dressed as Batman in public for the better part of a day. It’s weird. On one hand, it’s kinda embarrassing. On the other, you’re able to hide in that suit. If I had to do the things I was doing dressed in street clothes, I’d have been so shy. And there were the kids in the car that stopped on the corner who went nuts when they saw me. That was cool and funny.
After the comic shop scenes were done, we went to a nearby alley for shots of me “speeding away” on the scooter. It’ll probably make the b-roll of shots but there is a clip of me pulling up on the scooter and it looks like I’m going about 3 miles an hour. It’s pathetically slow. Rascal slow. A hobo in the alleyway told me to stop being a pussy and hit the gas. For real.
From there, we headed to an industrial park to shoot me riding the scooter. I got it going a little faster. Ryan did some cool POV shots by strapping the camera on and riding it himself. Then we did some great CHiPs footage where I followed them around and they filmed out the back of the truck.
We shot some outside Eric’s apartment where I was heckled. Then we returned to Cash and Carrie’s to do all the dramatic scenes of me at home.
I just can’t say enough good things about all the people involved. It was an awesome weekend. Cash and Carrie were so kind to open up their home for the shoot and their couch for my crashing. Their daughter Sofia and her friend Avery are the real stars of the video. Carrie kept the production well oiled. Cash supported every shot in some way. Chris directed us through a ton of scenes and locations very smoothly to get his vision just right. Joe did all the quiet, thankless work that made everything work on time the way it was supposed to. Though he couldn’t be there for the whole shoot, Eric really put us all together. John and Ryan just outdid themselves with beautiful camera work and a solidly professional work ethic. Comic Quest was great. Stell Coffee was wonderful. Our ad hoc extras, Tamra and Zach, were amazing.
This was honestly the best video experience one could ever ask for. I am deeply indebted to everyone involed. Thank you all.
And to you, dear reader(s), if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider giving to our Kickstarter fund. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. It’s an awesome project that C and C put together. Helping them cover costs would just be perfect.