Week 42: “That’s How It Felt” by Apollo Run

(Watch in HD and TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS)

{First, a litany of thank yous.  Thank you to John McGrew, Graham Fisk, and Jeff Kerestes of Apollo Run for allowing me to use their baby for this episode.  Thank you to Eileen Little for choreographing this with me, and her incredible dancing and acting.  Thank you to C. Bay Milin for his genius cinematography.  Dylan Ricards for shooting the interiors.  Stefanie Daehler, Sarah Delp, Rachel Duvall, Graham Fisk, Max Livingstone, Ariela Morgenstern, Stephanie Arsenault, and others, for the tons of help from set up, moving ladders, pushing us in a trapeze… everything.  And to the Brooklyn Lyceum for cutting me a bit of a break on the cost of renting the space.}

This was, by far, my most ambitious 50in50 to date.  Here’s the story of how it came to be.

From the get go, I knew that I wanted to do a 50in50 on trapeze.  The concept being to explore how character is expressed (and story is told) through movement.  Low-flying trapeze (the type you see in the video), believe it or not, was one of the cornerstones of our movement training at the National Theatre Conservatory.  Eileen Little, who you see in this video, was my classmate.  So, for months Eileen and I had been talking about what we might do.  Then, one day, I heard “That’s How It Felt” by Apollo Run, and I knew.

I fell in love with that song.  I would listen to it over and over, feeling that it perfectly expressed how I felt during a tumultuous breakup (or two) I’d been through.  John McGrew of Apollo Run had recently come into my circle of friends (which is how I was introduced to the song), and I asked him if I could make a piece with it.  He checked with the band and they gave me their blessing.  I was over the moon.  They’re insanely talented, and I have little doubt that they’re going to be huge one day very soon.

Eileen and I got together about six times over the next seven months or so (with large gaps in between).  We did a lot of improvising, and slowly but surely I started to see how I wanted it to flow and come together.  By July we were ready to shoot it, but we couldn’t find a space that we could afford that had high enough ceilings or walls far enough away so as to avoid light-spill (I had very specific images in my mind and I refused to compromise them).  Eventually, Eileen moved up north to go circus school (her trapeze skills absolutely put mine to shame), and we were on hold once again until I could find a space.  It was incredibly frustrating.

In September I saw a play at the Brooklyn Lyceum, and realized that it was the space I had been dreaming about.  I went into the office the next day (unannounced), and started talking to the manager about it… and started trying to talk him down, price-wise.  Much negotiating later, I’d booked a seven hour slot on a Saturday when Eileen could be back in town.  I was hoping for five hours on one day, then five hours on another, but we had to take what we could get.

The entire trapeze sequence was shot in about 5.5 consecutive hours.  It was non-stop and was one of the most physically (and mentally) exhausting things I’ve ever done.  We had a shot list and we knew we had to average one shot (meaning we do all of the takes and move on) every five minutes.  When dealing with lights, and continuity, it was insane.  Bay and I had done some storyboarding the day before (a first for me), and so we knew what we needed (he was an absolute pro).  We also had a bunch of friends there who were all ready to move something, adjust a light, and fling us on a trapeze, and somehow, miraculously, we managed to get almost all of the shots we were hoping for.  I couldn’t believe we pulled it off.  We shot the apartment stuff the next day, and that was it.

This was one of the toughest edits I’ve had.  Cutting to music is always tricky, but in this case I was also trying to deal with motion continuity.  All of the footage that made the video was shot with one camera.  We tried having a second, smaller camera going, to get a different angle at all times (thank you Stefanie!), but unfortunately the footage just didn’t match and it wasn’t usable.  This meant that whenever there’s a cut to a different angle, it’s a different take.  The rotation would just be slightly off, or the speed or arc would have changed.  Sometimes we would be rotated the wrong way for an important moment (in all of the takes!), and so I’d have to go with something else, which I complained loudly about.

All in all, I’m incredibly happy with how it turned out.  We were really trying to make a music video that cost $20,000 and took two weeks to shoot, and we did it for about $400 and in under eight hours.  Considering that, the end result is so close to what I dreamed up that I really can’t complain about anything.  Actually, I’m just really, really happy.

Again, I want to thank everyone who helped to make this one happen.  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the song now — my guess is between 300-400 — but I still love it.  Apollo Run just dropped their EP, and I highly suggest picking it up.  There are also some free downloads at www.apollorun.com

I’m currently in Ashland, OR doing a new plays festival, but I’ll be back with more very soon.  Thank you very much for your continued support.

Best,

Brent  10.22.10  11.56am

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~ by 50in50 on October 22, 2010.

7 Responses to “Week 42: “That’s How It Felt” by Apollo Run”

  1. It’s a beautiful video, Brent, and I hope that it becomes Viral! You & your crew did an amazing job.

  2. I’m completely blown away and moved by this. The song is beautiful, yes. But your interpretation of the song is so powerful, really, Apollo Run should be thanking you right now. So proud of you, Brent. And Bay and Dylan, your cinematography is genius. Wow. More like this Brent. More like this. And thank YOU.

  3. This is outstanding!! Being there for the shoot I had no idea how you were going to put it all together. You did an incredible job with the editing. The movement from the trapeze scenes to the apartment scenes…so fluid. The lighting?! I’m glad you waited for the just the right space. It was worth it!! The best part is how well this piece showcases the talent of everyone involved: you, Eileen, Bay, Apollo Run…Wow…Well done friend!!! Okay, I’m going to go watch it for 14th time now. :-)

  4. […] Schon ein paar Berichte hab ich über das Projekt „50in50“ hier veröffentlicht. Zuletzt wurde es über Kickstarter finanziell unterstützt. Jetzt ist eine, finde ich, der intensivsten und ästhetisch anspruchsvollsten Folgen erschienen. Mehr Infos unter: 50in50 […]

  5. B – Totally, totally fantastic. Still one of my very favorites, and that is saying a lot. Also, this is like my 40th viewing because you edited it at my house, so that is saying even more. ;)
    Very proud of you.

  6. amazing!

  7. Wow! this is great! the editing is….well wow. and the Trapeze, pretty impressive. how inspiring. Thanks! Thanks! I wish I could pay ya do you have a tip jar?
    Pam Ramirez

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