As part of our Full-Time Film Production Diploma, our first years were tasked with creating a number of music videos for musicians, both from Pulse College and outside! For this, the class was split into groups, with each member taking on a different roll for each project. We spoke with a number of the students to find out what it was like to be working on projects like this for the first time!
We already spoke to Jade Dyer and Oisin Beaudelot, and next up is Hugh Cannon, who took directorial duties for the music video project! The video was for a band named “The Sour Seeds”, of which the guitarist Sean Lay is a student at Pulse.
“Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” – Hugh Cannon
“Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Strangely enough these words from my head lecturer at Pulse proved more so comforting than disheartening, especially in the later days of pre production for our music video shoot.
On the 12th of January 2015 I made the pitch to direct a music video. Pulse College’s audio students had donated tracks to us to direct music videos to. I had chosen the track “Always Never” by “The Sour Seeds”. It was oddly exhilarating finally being able to articulate an idea that not only I was keen about but one that I had formulated to my year group. Shortly after the pitch I indulged in pessimism. My idea was too abstract, too grand, there was no clarity, the creators of the song would hate it, people would hate it and it would just be another thing I could be ashamed of. In the not too distant future I would be nitpicking any sort of edible food from a nearby public bin whilst passers by would murmur “isn’t that the one guy who pitched that one awful idea once in a room full of 16 or 17 people”, “yeah what an embarrassment”. Naturally I was shocked when my idea along with 3 others (1 of which was later dropped) was chosen. The responsibility of both director and producer called for me to dismiss any form of hyperbolic pessimism immediately if I wished to pursue this project further.
The eagerly anticipated email arrived from JJ our head of film production at Pulse and we were all assigned our roles. On the crew for this shoot we had Oisin Beaudelot as a producer, who was immediate in calling me to organise our first production meeting. The Director of Photography James Ryan also got in contact with me no sooner than the email had reached my inbox. It was reassuring for me to have multiple people sharing the ambition to do this project. I knew that if they had the capacity to be receptive and interpretative of the idea, ultimately an audience would be too.
Naturally with this being a film production, the inevitable complications struck. To name but a few: locations were changed and rearranged, actors were swapped around faster than a common cold in a primary school playground and we were working of a limited budget. For a while things were up in the air however solutions to these problems soon presented themselves. We found our feet in securing an ideal location with a wide-open white space, we finalised a date to inform our cast and crew members and our fundraising gig miraculously raised sufficient funds to provide props and other necessities. The shoot day was fast approaching and a brew anxiety was boiling in my gut. I was going to direct a music video. I had people relying on me. Not only a cast and crew but also a client; a band with their own artistic vision unique to mine. Forgive my over dramatisation but I could feel the nerves crawling up my spine. One 80s training montage, I felt confident enough that my efforts where not in vain.
Just as I had believed to achieve some sort of directors nirvana, I had a family bereavement. My grandmother, who had been ill for quite some time had passed away 3 nights before our shoot. Crashing down to reality, I spent the next three days negotiating with people behind the masquerade of a computer screen and juggling my own mournful thoughts. Regardless of the circumstances both my family and my colleagues at Pulse had reinforced in me a sense of commitment to what I was doing. The shoot day was going ahead.
Just as I had dismissed the often-surreal feeling one gets when a loved one dies a new sense of despair washed over me. We were due to shoot the day after the funeral however shortly after the ceremony I received a phone call that our location had fell through due to construction going on in the interior of the building. Thankfully my producer/agony aunt had secured a new date with the same location. This meant a reshuffle of actors and dancers due to their varying availabilities. After some lengthy negotiations, last minute deals, the generosity of our location and kind volunteering effort of our friends we finally shot our music video on the 23rd of February.
Helming both a directorial and production position has been childhood ambition of mine however much has changed in my perception of the film industry in taking this task. Without the opportunities that Pulse College has presented to me I may never have had such a genuine and enriching experience of the world of film.
Directing in film to me is no longer a farcical romanticisation unachievable thanks to any pessimistic characteristics I posses; it is an achievable reality which I eagerly aspire to one day take the mantle of once more.
The crew involved were as follows
Director of Photography
Alyne Monteiro da Costa
First Assistant Director
Alyne Monteiro da Costa
Images above courtesy of student James Sweeney
Check out some more shots from the Music Video Shoots via the Pulse College Flickr page
Find out more about our Full-Time Film Production Diploma.[openday]