Bronze Radio Return | Only Temporary
- posted in: Director Q&A
Q: This is your first narrative music video that didn’t include the band. What was that departure like? What challenges or freedoms arose from the narrative form?
A: Shooting a full narrative has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Most of the music videos I love – the ones that I watch over and over again – are like this. With these types of videos, you’re totally free to create a story that matches the song. You’re not tied down to portraying the band in a certain way, and I think that a lot of audiences dig that (myself included!).
The challenge is that you have less wiggle room for error with your concept. You can’t have a part of your story not “work” in some way – because you can’t cover anything up or change the pacing with performance shots. Everything has to be driven by the storyline and all the moments have to pay off.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the dancing janitor trying to impress his attractive co-worker?
A: The first thing I do when I get a music video solicit is listen to the song a ton of times, usually while driving around. “Only Temporary” hooked me right away. It’s so damn catchy. I was stuck in traffic, but it made me want to dance like a fool. So from the get go I wanted to create a video that revolved around someone dancing.
Then I got into the lyrics, which were just open enough to interpretation… and I latched onto the chorus:
He only calls ya when he needs ya // ‘Cause when he needs ya is // Only, only, only, only temporary // I’m gonna call ya ‘cause I need ya //Because I need to // You’ll know I’ll be, be, be there in the morning light // To see you in the morning light.
What if the song was about a guy who knew his time with this girl was “only temporary”: only during the night shift? But just this once, he wants to be with her in the morning light. So he sets out to impress her with his magical dance moves… only thing is, he doesn’t get the girl at all. In fact, she doesn’t even notice him.
Q: Are you more inclined to tell out-of-the-box stories in your filmmaking? Where does that inclination come from?
A: Music videos are a great opportunity to be “out of the box” with your filmmaking… there are all kinds of stories that work in music videos that might not work at all as a short film. I love that freedom and definitely want to use it in my music video work.
Also, I think we’re all drawn to the work we love most. Some of my all time favorite music videos revolve around unconventional storylines (you should all check out “Hate or Glory” dir. by Fleur & Manu, “Genghis Khan” dir. by Ninian Doff, “Tongues” dir. by Daniels… there are so many great videos coming out these days).
I believe these projects use that unique “music video freedom” that I mentioned before, and they definitely inspire & inform what I do.
Q: What elements of filmmaking did you employ to make this music video come alive? Lighting, camera movements, choreography, etc.
A: We wanted to create a timeless, almost retro look that enhanced the nostalgic carnival vibe. The cinematographer, Colin Noel, did an incredible job achieving that. He used SkyPanel lights to key our subjects in super vivid blues and reds, to complement all the great practical lights from our surroundings. Panasonic USA generously lent us their new Varicam to try out, which he coupled with anamorphics and some 80’s-esque filters to round out the look.
We covered the dancing scenes with a variety of dolly pushes and lateral moves – and then, when we cut to the girl in the foreground, boom: wide shot on sticks, totally static, so you can see how absurd his grand plan looks. Once we hit the manager catching him red-handed, we switch to handheld as everything breaks down.
Cameron Gilliam, our dancer, also did a killer job with his choreography. I met him over coffee and we listened to the song together, and I gave an idea of the big story beats he needed to hit: starting out unsure of himself on this verse, dropping into the splits on that beat, etc. He took that and turned it into some amazing choreography on set. The dude is non-stop.
Q: The high energy of the location really shines in the video; How did you use the amusement park to its full potential?
A: The amusement park was a huge challenge, but completely paid off in the end. Caitlin Gouge and her team at the Island in Pigeon Forge were extremely helpful – they gave us staff overnight to turn on/off the rides and slick down the concrete, and basically lent us their full support.
The big issue was time. Since the video takes place after-hours in a deserted park, we couldn’t start shooting until the parked closed at midnight and everyone left… and we had to stop once the sun rose around 6:30 AM. For comparison, most music video shoots are a full 10-12 hours. I have to give a big shoutout to the hard-working cast and crew who raced all night to get everything done.
Using the park was all about blocking and staging to get as many “carnival” elements in the frame as possible… think bright colorful lights, signs, rides, ticket booths, etc. All things that show the unique nature of the place: that this is a classic location where people come to have a good time. Then we dress it up with trash and drop our characters in the middle of it.