We’ve had the opportunity of taking part in a number of 48-hour and 24-hour style competitions for short films– the concept being that based on some surprise elements, you have a set (short) amount of time to write, develop, shoot, and edit a movie. The competitions are a ton of fun to do and often great chances to bring together crews and casts that are in it for the contest nature of the project for a single rush of adrenaline filmmaking. This year was the first that Music Video Race came to Austin, Texas and Escape Plan Productions was excited to be one of the 10 teams competing. Producing a music video in 48 hours is something we had yet to do, so this was a fresh and challenging experience.
On Friday, September 5th we arrived at Empire Control Room & Garage downtown for the kickoff event and were paired with the Austin band Young Tongue. Upon meeting Stu Baker, the band’s frontman, and listening to the song we were going to be tackling “Cat Calls”, we got to work listening to it on repeat, brainstorming ideas, and looking up reference videos and images. By Saturday morning, we were still a bit stumped on a concept until some initial ideas for locations and scenes began to materialize before lunch. The crew and the band all met up at Austin Java and began discussing what we had in mind, floating some new ideas into the mix, and finally committing to a game plan. This involved animal head masks from Lucy in Disguise, a motel reservation, and gathering up our equipment, resources, props and costuming. Ouija board, creepy teddy bear, floating witch head and all. We met back up at the motel and began shooting scenes of the band dressed in white with large projections of video images playing across them in the dark room with scenes involving the animal masks. We continued evolving the intersecting storylines and how our different scenes could relate to one another. After shooting scenes at the downtown Lady Bird Lake boardwalk and under the I-35 bridge with our actor Ryan Hooker (who you might remember as one of the leads from Carnivores last year). After our final rushed shots in the motel pool, we called it a wrap. I was exhausted and we had the luxury of actually being able to get some rest Saturday night (which I’m typically not accustomed to doing in these competitions). Sunday was editing day, and surprisingly we weren’t cutting it down to the wire within minutes of turn-in time. What was interesting about this music video competition versus short film ones is that we weren’t as stressed with timing as we have been before, but we also had the chance to continue the creative development of the story late into the day and even into post-production. The more ambiguous visual storytelling that was at play in constructing a music video like this one allowed us to be very creative in connecting the dots up until the time we exported the project.
Music Video Race was a lot of fun to participate in this year and there’s nothing like the thrill of having a creative project finished in such a short amount of time like that. We look forward to participating in it again! Thanks to the staff of Music Video Race, as well as all the bandmates of Young Tongue, and our whole crew with Escape Plan. All the videos will be premiered this upcoming Saturday night at Empire Control Room & Garage at 8:00pm, so we look forward to seeing and hearing reactions then. The music video’s online release will be coming soon too! In the meantime, check out these behind the scenes photos (courtesy of Keller Davis, Ryan Hooker, and Tim Fitzgerald) and stills from the video.