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My first music video


August 2, 2012

Over the years, I’ve edited a dozen or so music videos. I’ve always enjoyed working on them. Fitting the shots together to an already existing song is great fun. The song acts as a guide and a base to start from and the images almost always add something unexpected and exciting. You start to hear the song in a different and new way. It works a different side of my brain than editing a narrative film or documentary.

When my high school sweetheart Rose (now married to an amazing fellow) played me some tracks from her new local Scranton-based band, The Great Party, I jumped at the opportunity to make a video for them. I had not directed anything since junior year at NYU and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to help an old friend, a talented band and myself. The constant knots in my stomach were the reminder of my nervousness to be directing something again.

There are five members of The Great Party: Rose, her husband Mike and three other really talented local Scranton musicians. (Seriously, check them out.) The song is called “Teresa,” and after bouncing around ideas with Rose for a few months we settled on a ’90s homage. The video would be bright, fun and weird.

I asked good friend and very talented shooter David Jacobson to film it for me. He brought his amazing girlfriend Erika to do art direction/costumes and I convinced Alex, a production assistant from the documentary I’m working on, to come help.

We arrived in Scranton, PA late Friday night with a large 15-passenger van packed full of equipment. After arriving, we loaded all the equipment into the basement of the house we’d be shooting at and we had some beers on the porch and caught up. There’s a funny mix of high school and film school. Rose, Mike and I stay up late, catch up and talk anxious excitement.

The next morning at 7 a.m. I grumble awake, instantly lamenting why we stayed up so late. After a two cups of coffee and a few hours of setting up for the first performance, the adrenaline kicks in and I am feeling great. The first hitch comes when the drummer (who was actually already a replacement) cancels and I have to teach Derek Williams, an old friend from Honesdale, how to fake it.

We shoot the first performance off a dolly in the front lawn, very green with a wide angle lens. It’s great to see the band play together—they have fantastic chemistry and the energy is very high. Derek is killing it on the drums. If I didn’t know he couldn’t play, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. I start to ease up a little bit.