Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always had some sort of visual pop into my head when I heard a song. Whether it was a picture, a music video, or a film. After walking through one of the hardest season in my creative journey last year and some encouragement from a dear friend, I decided that this year was going to be the year I unleashed the Beast. I didn’t want to allow my creativity to be stopped just because of what I was experiencing in my current situation.
Towards the end of last year, 2017, Jaden Smith put out an album called Syre. I immediately fell in love with the song Blue and saw all these crazy visuals specifically for the part B. Beyond the musicality of the song, I was drawn to it’s genius symbolism. It’s split into four parts spread out into four different tracks. And all four parts/tracks are written in iambic pentameter, paying homage to William Shakespeare. How cool is that!
So when we stepped into 2018 I knew that this was an idea I wanted to follow through with since I was unleashing the beast. It was something that I could very well do myself but because of how well I wanted it to be done and because I wanted it to be done exactly the way I saw it in my head, I decided to enlist the help of the creative genius himself, Sean Burns. I pitched the idea to him and he was on board so we moved forward.
This was pretty easy because I knew exactly what I wanted in my head and we didn’t really plan on traveling for this so there were only a few places in Jacksonville that look like what I envisioned. I went to look at two abandoned Kmarts, a daycare parking lot, and the back alley of a grocery store shopping plaza. We went with an abandoned Kmart parking lot. (pictured in the bottom photo)
For casting, I wanted two people. I wanted a girl and a boy to simply act with their facial expressions and body language. I wanted them both to look “grungier”. I knew exactly who I wanted for the male lead because he worked with Sean before and perfectly fit the look and vibe I was going for. His name is Russell Beard and he was incredible to work with. A true natural.
For the girl, we had a little bit of a challenge. We tossed around a couple different people and we were trying to work with schedules while also making sure to choose someone who would work well with Russell. We landed on using Hannah Winter, who happens to be my best friend. She was better than I could’ve hoped for and I secretly want to sneak her into all of my projects in the future.
Since this was more of a visual project, there were no scripts. I had a couple visuals that I wanted to see captured and for the rest, I gave Sean the creative freedom. The main things we needed to focus on in order to prepare for this shoot was getting all the props together and figuring out how to light a bat on fire. We ended up sanding it down, wrapping it in twine, dousing the twine in lighter fluid, and then lighting the twine on fire. This way we could reshoot the take however many times we needed, all we had to do was cut the burnt twine, rewrap it, redouse it, and relight it.
We filmed the whole thing in two days. It was freezing cold which is very odd for Florida but Russell and Hannah were troopers. We didn’t do very many takes just enough to ensure we got what we needed. Sean filmed and directed the whole thing, I assisted where necessary, and Jacob Hudson held the lighting.
On Day 1 we did the bulk of the shooting but we needed to split it into two days because we shot in Blue hour so lighting went away very quickly. Also because we were trying to get a vintage car (which ended up falling through).
Canon c100 mk ii
Wescott Ice light 2
Sean edited the whole thing on Adobe Premiere Pro. The only thing I made was the title card lol. He enlisted the help once again from Jacob to work his sweet audio magic all over it.
There you have it, Blue.