That Time I Made A Music Video

The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Brooklyn *The Music Video is at the bottom.

I know I’ve been slacking. I’ve ignored you.

I apologize, but I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy making things. Things that have to do with my industry. And people have offered to pay me money… not for this, but for theoretical other things.

Anyway, I made a music video.
I happen to be in a production class in school and our first assignment was to slap together (and when I say “slap together” I’m talking about what most of the class did) a bunch of images over some music and bam- music video.

I, of course, had to make my life harder… well, not make my life harder, but drive myself crazy.

I thought to myself-

Hm, when I worked at the coffee shop, I remember Elizabeth (the redhead pictured above) has a band… is it a band? Yes, I’m sure it’s a band.

I creeped on facebook and found out that it was indeed a band.

My next thought was…

But they’re theater people. What if they only want to do stage shows? What if they don’t need a music video? They don’t have many videos online. If they don’t say yes that would be horrible. That would destroy me.

I’m a bit over dramatic, as it turns out.

So, I got in contact with them. Of course they wanted a music video. When would this scenario ever happen?

Me: Hey, do you guys want me to make you a music video for free?
Them: Free? No. We have a strict policy against that.
Me- ::Hulk walk sadly into the sunset::

So they said yes. Not only did they say yes, but they were very excited. They also didn’t have a song recorded… but my friend Eric got that done in the school’s radio station. I asked one of my roommates (at the time) to do sound, he said no problem. He also let me borrow his camera equipment.

So at this point, I had a 7D to shoot on, someone to do sound (and help because I was terrified that I’m not as good as I think I am), a band, a song, a concept, and a group of excited people.

I woke up that first day at 6am. My roommate was sick the night before, but I heard that he was awake, so I didn’t worry… Until I got that text message.

No, not that one. One that said: “I don’t think I can help you today.”

My world almost crashed down around me. Could I film it on my own? Well, we’d find out. Plus I really only needed him to do sound one day since music videos don’t really have dialogue.

Ok, I can do this. I CAN do this. I can do this?

Well, I was already well into my ride on the Q train so it was too late to bail.

Day one went great. We shot, recorded the song, ate some lunch (my one expense of the entire music video… $41 dollars), and shot some more (scenes we later referred to as “The Gay Stuff”).

After shooting that, the girls and I went to a park in Park Slope with our baby actors, who would play 2 of their 7 children (they’re Mormons). We got to the park and found this adorable little play house. Ok, so the park was a little crowded and it was drizzling, but we didn’t care. We set up, they started playing the chorus and at the end they stopped.

Me:Ok, guys, let’s do that one more time.
Lilly: Um… Steph. There’s a crowd of people behind us.

I turned around and saw that at least half of the parents and most of the kids in the park had crowded around us, memorized by their Ukulele’s. I turned back and looked at the girls who seemed slightly terrified.

Me: So there is. Let’s take it from the top and give them a show.

And they did. They were wonderful. Children were running into the shot, but their parents didn’t seem to care and it’s not like we would be making any money off of it, so it didn’t seem to matter.

They played through the song twice. Talked to some of the kids, parents, and nannies. We handed out their cards and plugged their show and floated away, amazed at what had just happened to us.

Day 1 wrapped and I was completely elated. I did it. Well, I did one day of it, but it looked good. And it was fun.

Day 2 and my roommate (at the time) still couldn’t come help, but my new boyfriend could. (He’s an animator. Check out his site. This has been a shameless advertisement.)

Ok. I didn’t have someone to help me with camera work, but I had someone to carry heavy equipment and play with the lights for me. This is going well. Only two of the girls could show up that day (the third one was supposed to, but preferred to go to a concert and it seemed easier not to fight.) Though we had hoped to get more done that day, it still went very well. Caitlin (The one in plaid on the right) made a gorgeous egg (which makes more sense when you see the video) and it was awesome.

Not only that, but the boyfriend could deal with me in work mode. That was something of a miracle. I think I’ll keep him.

Now we get to Day 3.

Day 3.

Well, my roommate (at the time) could help that day. I had in thinking everything would be amazing. I had someone to help me with sound. We’d had 2 great days. We were only going to be filming for 3 hours. What could go wrong?

Well, pretty much everything that happened after that.

To start off, I could tell there was tension in the apartment when I got there. I didn’t know why, but I could tell.

Then also, as it turns out, my roommate (at the time) was terrible to have on a set. He decided that even though I had filmed for two days without him and things were going great, that I had no idea how to use a camera.

He kept setting up shots without asking, changing color tone, and telling me why what I set up was wrong.

Now, I may not be the best at lighting a film set, or doing sound, or things of this nature, but I was a photography major- I know how to take a picture.

I didn’t want the girls to see my struggle for power so I just kept telling him ok and changing my shots.

Not only all of that noise, but we were waiting on the balcony. Two girls were there, the third was taking off her pregnancy belly (again it will make sense once you see the video) and the roommate (at the time) says….

Him: Hey Steph, why don’t you get up in the shot while we wait so we can set up.
Me: Because then I can’t see the shot.
Him: Yeah, but I can.
Me: Yeah, but I’m the director, so it doesn’t matter if I can’t see the shot I’ll have to set up again.
Him: Whatever.

But I didn’t say anything. I didn’t like the way the shot was now. I had thought of it the afternoon before and now since it was the morning, it would look terrible.

So then it came to our extra actor.

This guy was half of our New York Couple and he was a douche. Well, at this point I hadn’t realized it, but he was the cause of all the tension.

Since we were filming in Caitlin’s apartment on a sunday morning she asked us to be on the quiet side… which seemed like an easy thing to do, for some of us. We get out into the hallway to pile into the elevator and this guy starts yelling.

Him: Hey, yo, so what’s my motivation.
Me: I’ll tell you when we get outside. Caitlin wants us to be quiet right now.
Him: No, you’ll tell me now.

Which I did say. He was quiet momentarily.

So basically he bitched as we walked around trying to find a spot of flatbush that looked shitty and had light. And then Caitlin kicked him out. He had been disrespectful and she freaked out and told him to leave. He deserved it. She was in the right. She referred to me as her director. I couldn’t even pay attention to the situation at hand. I was the director.

Anyway, he walked off and her boyfriend kindly stepped in and he was perfect. We finish shooting, we grab our stuff, and me and my roommate (at the time) get in the elevator. Wow, that was awkward.

That was when my world crashed down around me again. When I said,

Me: Huh. That’s weird that you don’t have to adjust audio levels on the 7D.
Him: What?

It was then when it hit me that when he said he knew how to do audio, he meant he knew how to hold a boom pole.

Long story short the audio was fucking terrible and I had to reshoot and I couldn’t get good lighting so I had to dub the audio with voice overs we did on my iphone.

All in all the video came out pretty good. My professor wants to put it in a film festival because it’s weird and it was definitely the best in the class. So it turned out pretty well.

So that’s the story of filming my music video.

Now a little background on the band.

They are The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Brooklyn. They are Mormon sister wives who have followed their brother husband so he could peruse his acting career (they’re very supportive). One day he was handing out pamphlets at the Cubby Hole and he never came back.

This song/video is their Origin Story. Hope you enjoy it.

You can find the girls at their website


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