So, the other evening I was over at my friend Julie’s house.
She was having a We’re Moving Out Soon party, and I was surrounded by her and her roommate’s friends. I ended up coercing a few of them to watch some of the footage we’d shot for the music video. One of the people said something very interesting about the following clip that I’ve uploaded to show you:
She said “No one would ever climb over a railing like that.”
I looked at her for a moment and said “What?”
“Yeah, you were at Coney Island, right? The railing by the beach? It looks so awkward. No one would do that. They’d put their feet on the first railing and then hop over, not just climb over by swinging their leg like that.”
“Well,” I said, “maybe if they weren’t over six feet. I did it. I’m 6’4″. My actor is 6’2″. So.”
“But it looks awkward. No one would do that.”
I said ok, and then fantasized about traveling to the moon so I’d never have to be around people ever again.
The thing is, she was right, in a very strange way. She wasn’t right that it’s awkward. That makes no sense, because if I don’t have to go on to a first rail or what have you to go over a railing, I’m not going to do that. That’s silly. I’m tall, and I’ll take advantage of that, just like all you short people take advantage of me at the grocery store to get shit down from the top shelf. I don’t begrudge you. I pity you.
But what could I do with that video to make it relatable to viewers? You don’t know the height of the railing, ok. You don’t see the leg swing over, ok. The general motion of the actor is understood, so there is a relatable movement. The clip lasts about 4 seconds, so in that time I believe I’ve been able to show what would happen to anyone in that situation. Reasonably.
But could I have shown it in a more constructed, and perfect movement, so that it would have struck a feeling of familiarity with the .01% of… well, everyone else?
When making a film, or a commercial, or some other video, what you capture should be as close to generic as possible. What makes the shot special is the style in which it’s filmed.
Of course… this is strictly about commerciality. I personally don’t care about getting everything so perfect, and spoon feeding an audience, so that they can relate to every single thing a character does. That would make things boring.
But there are certain things that we can do for our audience that allow them to sit back and absorb scenarios happening so that they aren’t left scratching their heads, or something that takes them out of the film for even a moment. No one wants to lose a viewer, but it happens. If we can present them with a well crafted scenario that allows them to either empathize with a character, or transport them to a memory (true or fake) where they were in a similar situation… it’s a connection with viewers that only helps with storytelling.
I thought, in the end, that this person was nitpicking. She, in fact, didn’t say another thing about the footage, good or bad. But, it was an interesting lesson to learn.
The music video is sliced up into a number of 4-second stories. Like, 80 of them. In those 4 seconds, I needed to craft the story so succinctly, so I don’t lose the viewer. I won’t know if we did that until we cut it together, but you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get 4 seconds of relatable content, over and over, so that your viewer is able to think ‘I believe what they’re showing me, when it comes to the lives of these characters.’
I hope, in the end, that we got it right. This music video, which is NOT done… sigh, has been an enormous learning experience. I also hope it leads to something.