The origins of this video date back to the 2000 Trees Festival earlier this year after a drunken chat with the band where I agreed to direct the second video from their new EP 'Merci'. It didn't take much arm bending (if any at all any) as they are a great bunch of lads and make some pretty darn awesome music.
After discussing ideas with the band and seeing as the song is called 'The Artist' we decided to go in a 'silent film' route. Being a fan of George Melies (Trip to the Moon) Fritz Lang (Metropolis) Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari I decided to using these as my main source of inspiration I wanted to do something that was dark, atmospheric, fantastical, and stylish..
After a brainstorming session with my good friend and college Brandon Kahn, we came up with a simple boy meets girl fantasy/fairytale where the world tries everything to separate them; but through perseverance the pair reunite. As well as the aforementioned silent films we also discussed the likes of Wall-e, Hannah, and Princess Mononoke as well as video games such as Journey and Limbo as inspiration.
Originally I wanted to do all the video in camera with minimal sets and crude props and costumes. However I neither had a space of a budget to make anything other than a few costumes. So I decided to shoot all the footage on green screen and produce all the backgrounds on the computer and the animals via traditional animation in a similar way to my previous videos for Bovine and The Prodigy.
Prep for the video took several days where I designed and costumes, and storyboarded the entire video. all the costumes and props were fully hand made from all manor of things found laying around my house, from the rag market, Second hand shops and Primark (other clothing retailers are available).
For the cast I looked no further than Hannah Arnott and Romelo Fray , two Sutton Coldfield College students studying Drama who I worked with briefly on a video for To the wall. Both seemed very keen to be involved with more projects as well as having the talent to back it up.
Filming took place in the Station Pub (believe it or not) over the course of two afternoons. I drafted in my good friend Paul Nadin to help Co direct the live action parts of the video. Paul is great to have on set, he is incredibly thoughtful and has great insight into what we are doing. I value his opinions and ideas greatly. I also think the two leads appreciated his help too, as if I was busy with the technical aspects of the video he was always at hand to help the actors develop their characters, and work on their performance. As it was both their first time on camera, I was impressed with how well they adapted to the stop start nature of film, especially as they were working with nothing more than a green screen and had to imagine every thing around them ( Also I give them props for wearing the daft costumes which out of context look incredibly dumb)
All in all the video took four weeks to produce from start to finish. Post production was by far the biggest challenge of the video as every single shot was an effects shot, be is just snow/trees, a full on chase sequence with a pack of wolves, or a fight scene with a beastly Polar Bear. To say this was an undertaking is an understatement. Towards the end there were a lot of sleepless nights (and a hell of a lot of tea consumed) but all in all it was worth and I'm incredibly pleased with how it turned out.
I would like to thank all those involved with the Making of the Video - Paul Nadin, Bandon Kahn, Hannah Arnott, Romelo Fray, Thomas Peckett, Robert Wisely and Richard Lee.
&U&I's new EP 'Merci' featuring The Artist and The Stamp is out on 02/10/2015 and is available on Spotify, Itunes and Robot needs home