I wrote an article for altdaily.com about music videos. In that article, I gave 15 videos that influenced my perception of what a music video could be. That article is here: http://www.altdaily.com/features/music/a-directors-favorite-music-videos.html
The article came about because of a conversation I had with the editors about whether they could mention the screening we were doing for our music video. The music video was one I directed for an instrumental rock band in Virginia called Long Division. Initially we were going to do a private screening with just the band, the people who helped make it, and a handful of the most loyal fans.
On the day of our screening, we got snowed out. What a disappointment that was. It rarely snows in Virginia, at least in our neck of the woods, so it felt like an unfortunate turn of fate. Some of the band members were leaving for an extended trip to China, and it looked like we might not get to do the screening for a while, if at all.
The concept art I did for the music video.
It might seem like a small thing that we had to cancel our screening, but it felt like one more setback in a series of unfortunate events. On the shoot itself, just to give one example, one of our model rockets ended up torpedoing into a nearby roof, even though we were, from what I remember, at least 200 yards away from the closest house.
I had to pay to fix the family’s roof myself. It was my shoot, so I take responsibility for any damage that’s done. Fair enough, but still discouraging, and I was frustrated about other things as well, so the cancelled screening had a compounding effect on me.
As it turned out, the guys weren’t gone as long as I expected. Andrew Lane, one of the band members who went to China and a key creative partner on the video, talked about the possibility of turning the screening into a show. Together we put on an event where we screened the video, had artists share their work, and heard a few bands play.
We got such interest in the event that it became clear a week before it happened that we would have to turn people away. Altdaily hadn’t confirmed that they would run my article, but I asked them to delay it until after the screening if they were still planning on printing it. I didn’t want too many people to get sent home in disappointment. A good problem to have, right?
Bison performing at our “alone in space” show. Photo credit: Parthena Savides
What seemed like a setback was actually a blessing in disguise. The “alone in space” show and the press that came with it were the best possible outcomes for us, and neither would have happened if we got our initial screening.
I’m writing this at a time shortly after facing another seemingly devastating setback, so it is encouraging to remember the way things unfolded with the music video. That’s not to say that every setback will inevitably lead to something better.
After all, free will couldn’t exist without the freedom to fail. (Interesting that so many contemporary governments make it a priority to isolate their citizens from failure. That can get expensive, but it’s not a bad price to pay for a little more control, at least if you are a control-minded government. Maybe not such a hot deal for the actual citizens though, at least for those who value freedom over comfort.)
A video promo I made the “alone in space” show.
There are so many tragedies and horrors in our world, and I don’t know why things happen the way they do. Nor do I know the scope of the tragedies you’ve faced, noble readers. I don’t have all the answers, and I’m not a perfect person, but I do believe that things happen for a reason. There is good out there, bigger than us. Some people, myself included, call that God.
I know that music videos are mostly disposable commodities, but still maybe you can find some small encouragement in the way things unfolded with ours. At the very least, writing this has helped me to get back to a sense of dignity and grace. What a marked contrast to my state of mind just a day or two ago. I couldn’t do that on my own, folks.
Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it yet. We got more views on vimeo, but YouTube compression has gotten better, and I figured I’d give it another chance:
Only a few weeks after I made the video did I realize one of the reasons I made it. It relates to a play I wrote a while ago.
I didn’t write it just for recognition or for something to add to my portfolio. There’s nothing wrong with getting recognized for something of merit that benefits others, but sometimes recognition is easier to chase than the driving force behind a personal creative project. (I don’t promote my work all that much compared to others, but some people still take issue with any attempts at self promotion. To those people I say this, “It’s called trying to make a living. Try it for yourself someday.”)
I couldn’t really articulate this at the time, but I wrote the play primarily in the hope of reconciling things with my dad. I had a sense that I should share it with him, but I didn’t. I thought he would hate the story. A few weeks later he died, and our relationship was never fully restored.
Somehow it felt like the story had found a way to undermine my very reason for writing it, and so I lost my inclination to write stories after that. It was the last full-length story I finished. I’ve attempted to write others since then, but they’ve all withered in development.
Props and art from the “alone in space” show. Photo credit: Parthena Savides
The play was my helmet. One of these days I’ll pull it out of the closet and breathe new life into it. But not yet. Not quite yet.
Once again the unexplainable thing, the tragedy gives way to meaning. It just took time to see. It always does.
If you appreciate my writing, why not write a comment or share the post with a friend? It would encourage me to keep writing and sharing bits of my heart with you.