Music Video Pre Production Madness(literally)

One of the benefits and pitfalls of being an indie, diy musician or whatever they’re calling it these days is that you get to do pretty much everything yourself. It’s a huge workload and things tend to move slowly, but the work itself is rewarding in a way that I can’t even adequately describe with words. I’m a multimedia artist and for me the most fun thing I get to do as a musician is make music videos! I get to use literally every artistic and technical discipline I’ve ever studied or worked in professionally.

Here’s a little step by step visual synopsis of what I’ve done so far production designwise for one of the scenes for my music video Hedonist.
1. First I needed to design the set.
The concept behind this padded cell is that it is a metaphor for the insanity of addiction which is one of the central themes of the song. The insane subject scrawling the lyrics of the song in blood on the walls of the padded cell is a visual representation of my addict brain feeling trapped, isolated and overwhelmed by the world I created for myself through drug and alcohol abuse.
2. Then I had to make the set(this process almost drove ME insane)

This was a multi step process which involved me having to scavenge bike shop recycling bins for enough cardboard to make the backer pieces for 104 cell pads.
 Did I mention that I had to make 104 padded squares?!?! I had to cut 104  21″ x 21″ squares of card board, then 104 squares of quilt batting, THEN 104 squares of fabric to cover them with


 There was glue gunning and a lot of burned finger tips in the assembly process. After making 104 of these damn cell pads I had to apply layers of “grunge” to make them appear weathered, soiled and old. I used a powdered temepera paint to create a worn effect with layers of dust, mildew, hand prints and oxidation.
3. Costumes!!!!
Ever since I was a child, I have loved playing dress-up. Now I get to do it professionally so this is a dream come true. For this particular scene in the music video there is myself dressed as a disgraced Victorian mental patient and some nurses who symbolize the drugs themselves.
Making my Victorian underwear involved not only sewing it, but also adding a layer of “grunge” to match the filthy aesthetic of the padded cell. To keep the color palette consistent I used the same tempera paint to dirty up my lingerie as seen below.
4. Hair, Make-Up and SFX
For the hair I thought it’d be fun to make and install some synthetic dreads as I figured my character would have been locked away for some time and not have access to a hair brush.

 We experimented with a few make-up looks, but finally decided on a combination of what we played around with. 
I also made some long fake dirty fingernails to add to the overall effect and also because there will be some close ups of my hands as I bite a wound into my hand and they scrawl bloody lyrics all over the walls.

5. The Test Shoot!!!
If you’ve managed to read this far down then congratulations because these are the real money shots from the test shoot where we played with some lighting and visual concepts. The hard work is really paying off and I’m very proud of what we’ve come up with. So enjoy the fruits of our labor so far!

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