I met with two guys recently about shooting and DPing a music video. Both are guys I know. One of them I’ve known since he was in elementary school. My Kids and he grew up together. The other is a young video producer who is doing a lot of work in the local and regional hip hop/rap community. They want to kick up their production level a notch, so they called me for some creative mojo. That’s pretty humbling.
The creative process is interesting. Especially when you sit down with others and collaborate. I’m often surprised at what happens when I brainstorm with people. I start having ideas I never would have otherwise had. I start seeing things differently. I come up with ideas that are good…better…best, or sometimes bad…worse…worst.
We met at my house and I listened to his song. It’s not the kind of music I would listen to nor is it the kind I played when I was a working musician. However, as I listened to it, the story started to unfold in my mind and I started seeing it visually. I saw people and relationships. I saw shot blocking and composition I would try. I saw color timing and edits I would make. I felt emotions! The artist told me what his vision was. He told me the story and my mind anticipated the next scene or line as he told it. He asked me what I thought and what my ideas were. My mind went in another direction and I told him but he was interested in hearing my angle. As I started, I saw in his face a young artist who loves what he does, is protective of his work, almost uncomfortable talking about it. But I detected an excitement about doing something different from what he’s done in the past. I’m down with that, I can dig it, I’m hep to it.
Playing music solo is entirely different than playing in a group, and I’ve done both. The improvisation on set of a video shoot when the shot list or script is veered from because an idea presents itself, is similar to what happens in a band when someone is inspired to play a different line or phrasing. In both situations, it only works if the other players are open to it. It can result in the audible or visual opiate I’m always in search of as a creative, bathing your brain in naturally occurring endorphins, or a crash that throws one into a deep, disheartening depression, stripping one of his self worth as a creative, loss of friends and potential shifting of the earth’s axis (well, maybe just a little egg on my face). Many times it wouldn’t have happened if no one else was around to give another point of view, another phrasing of a melody, a risky camera angle. That’s the shit! That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout Willis. That’s what keeps me going.
I’m looking forward to working with this young artist and getting a different perspective on music and seeing his creative process. I’m excited about what unforeseen paths the shoot could take, or not. I’m stoked to improvise if necessary and see what happens. It’s called jammin’, throw some good stuff together, mix it up reall good and see what happens.
I’m interested in other people’s creative process and what inspires them (ya know there’s a form at the bottom here where you could actually clue me in on your process).
On second thought, maybe it is the kind of music I listen to and that I played when I was a working musician.
Dave Perry is a Roanoke Virginia digital film producer, editor and photographer. His sideburns are only a hobby.