Somebody Else

“I’m reminded that I should be getting over it.”

I haven’t created a video since September 2014, a moment where I thought I was putting the solo producer ambitions of my adolescence and college years behind me. Almost three years have passed, though, and I’d still feel a nag in my subconscious to constantly visualize the music floating in and out my ears. Emote the story and life of lyrics being sung via my car’s stereo from the mouth’s of artists around the world.

And then I heard that one lyric (above). I couldn’t stand the urge anymore. I picked up my relatively newly refurbished camera (thanks Amazon) and sought out the lovely Alex Daugherty to help me make sense of what I was trying to accomplish with The 1975’s “Somebody Else.”

To be fair, I really hadn’t a clue what I was looking for in terms of scene composition. I wanted something stylistically serene, yet also something amorphous and aesthetically pleasing. I chose a beach at random along the Pacific Coast Highway; it was mid-January and I was fully aware no one else would be present to ruin the serenity. The stillness of the beach was important: it represented the quietness shared by two people in love and simultaneously falling out of it. It’s only them in their relationship. No one else.

All said and done, the process of cutting together the pieces which I collected not knowing how I wanted them collected was the most enjoyable part of this experience. In getting my groove back, I had a blank slate.

The black/white sketch filter proved to be an imperative feature of the emotional journey I attempted to tell (up to you if I was successful). Nothing is black and white in a relationship, but either party probably sees it that way. There’s one person’s perspective (as black) and there’s also someone else’s (as white). It flickers back and forth. White changes to black, vice versa. It’s ever-changing…so are we, in tandem with each other.

Many thanks to The 1975 for giving me a platform to express.

Many thanks to you for watching.

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An Ode: “Mother + Father” by Broods

A time in life comes when you realize you’re truly standing on your own. You’ve left your parents, your family, your friends, your safety nets…all of it behind so that you can chart your own course.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve made a video, or even had the time to make a video, but this is that point in my life. It’s hella scary. It’s hella exciting. And the only thing you can think of is being successful – not just in a career or your dating life, but to simply succeed at being your own person.

Brood’s single “Mother + Father” captivates that moment in time for me. And as quite possibly the last time I’ll make a video (never say never), I wanted to send off the last 7-8 years of my YouTube life with a personal statement.

Yes, growing up is hard to do. Making your own life is hard to do. But that’s what we do, and it’s important to realize you’ll always have your mother, your father, your siblings, your friends to fall back on. Here I focused on capturing little moments of childhood at the beach, something so simply, but something that bonds familial ties so distinctly. The little moments in life are the most precious.

Mom and Dad, this one’s for you…

…since I’m never going to be able to pay you back for the clothes I wanted you to buy for me and then I only wore them once…

With that, I present:

Trapped! But “We’ll Be Fine” by Rebecca Ferguson

It’s been quite some time since I’ve released a self-made video. I can safely say that “The Pulse of the City” video for Hothouse is to blame, as well as my entire first semester of senior year at BU.

I recently came across X-Factor UK runner-up Rebecca Ferguson, a woman who’s soulful voice is immense and entrancing. A song from her second hit studio album (“Freedom”) entitled “We’ll Be Fine” struck me – it’s an intense song, one that echoes about in your head, constantly reminding you that you’ll always be fine, no matter the situation.

With a low battery on my camera, a laziness to charge it, and a desire to create something fun for myself, I threw myself into the fresh Connecticut snow and created this vision of my character being trapped by an invisible force field. He eventually calms down and escapes – an easy depiction of being fine, but an interesting one. I took some of the same visuals from my flick for “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry, which I think has the same successful effect.

Let me know: ya feelin’ fine?

It’s Time To BU: BU’s Class of 2017 Matriculation

Matriculation? What the heck is Matriculation?

That’s a question always heard around the beginning of the new academic year, as new students walk around their new home for maybe the first time. During the summer, new Terriers graduated from high school. When entering Boston University, the president reverses your graduation a bit, so that you may be matriculated into the university to become a fully fledged Terrier.

That’s where I come in this year. I was asked to create a short film celebrating the Orientation sessions the students had experienced, as they now become brand new college students.

You may have seen, witnessed, or heard of my web series, “How To BU,” that provided advice and entertaining antics to new Boston Terriers. Since many of the incoming students had watched parts of the series, I decided to take the mantra of learning “how to BU” and incorporate the meaning behind matriculation.

For them, it was now time to BU. This was their big moment.

But you can’t move on if you don’t celebrate the past, right?

The soundtrack is provided by Anna Kendrick’s infectious melody, “Cups.”

One Final Gift: Passenger’s “Let Her Go”

The power of love within the confines of a relationship between two human beings is a beautiful thing. It makes us do absolutely crazy things that are somehow always genuine to the millionth degree. There’s an understanding that both are in this moment together, no matter what.

This piece I created for Passenger’s hit song “Let Her Go” took that idea, and yanked away one half of that love. Death. How can love permeate death? It’s a legitimate fear to not being loved once a significant other dies.

Here, I explored that dynamic between two men in love. The partner who was left behind is still in the mourning stages, and, as the letter from his partner reads, this mourning was completely the work of an illness. His grief is illustrated through the nondisclosure of his face and most of his body. Grief is an interesting concept, as it can be triggered in the most unexpected ways – through happy moments or sad moments or anything in-between.

[RELATED: Go behind-the-scenes of the making of this video!]

But then the video his partner left behind plays, a gift created so that he never has to remember him as sick, “but as someone who is eternally grateful and happy” his partner entered his life. This was the ultimate portrayal of love permeating death. In his final days, his partner wanted to illustrate just how happy in life and the world he was all thanks to their relationship, their love. In the end, love shines through.

No matter the situation, it’s always the most difficult to let someone go. Passenger evokes this with his music and lyrics.

I simply illustrated it through the love of two human beings, and one final gift.

Behind the Scenes: “Let Her Go”

UPDATE: Watch the new, full video here!

I’m not usually one to take people behind the camera lens as I create my videos (unless I’m getting paid to!), but with my upcoming work for Passenger’s breakout hit “Let Her Go” I just had the urge to. Sometimes you just gotta roll with those urges.

“Let Her Go” is an extremely evocative song, filled with so much emotion, perfectly balancing heartbreak with happiness and a tinge of future uncertainty. I used all three in creating my vision for the song.

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While I don’t want to spoil the premise of the whole film, I will say that I structured it as a film within a film. One character finds a DVD another character left behind and plays it, watching all the heartbreak, happiness, and future uncertainty unfold before his own eyes. It’s more of a film that will illustrate an acceptance of the blending of those three.

I’m struggling, however, with the effects, as I want a nostalgic tone, but not so much so that it looks like a movie from the ’80s (which has been a bit of my mantra the past couple of films). It’s a bit of challenge to separate what’s the real film and what’s the film on the DVD, but I’ve been working out different methods on this challenge.

One thing is for sure, though, it’s all slowly but surely coming together. As it always does, I suppose.

But hey, if we can’t celebrate the coming together but only the finished product, where’s the fun in that?

Boston: My ‘Hometown Glory’

As I near the end of my third year at Boston University, I can firmly say that Boston has become more of a home for me than I ever thought it would. The history, the contemporary, the scenery, the lack of a street grid system, the T, the Pru, the food, the food, the food, and the people…all of it is quite a large percentage of what’s made my first 3 years in college the most incredible unexpected experience.

And then, one fine Boston Marathon day, my beautiful city went up in smoke – literally.

I could waste the rest of this post talking about the bombing and the terrorists. But I don’t want to give them attention. Instead, I present a tribute to my favorite city in the entire world. Boston. Forever beautiful. Forever strong.

In other words, Boston’s the hometown glory I never expected to find.

Take it away, Adele.

Imagine a Dream: “Demons” by Imagine Dragons

This post is essentially the “how to create a video using very little footage” blog post, as I did with my newest video for “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. I uploaded this video a while ago, but I finally had a spare second to write about why it looks and is composed the way it is.

After watching the video, if you’re confused, let me break down the story behind this film. A guy has a fear of jumping off the swing in his dreams, and his inner demons keep laughing at him and keeping him from successfully banishing this fear. The video depicts the battle between that inner demon and himself, after which our main hero prevails.

Now you might say WTF to all of that, because the video looks a bit shitty – to be blunt – with the constant reuse of footage. That repetition was important in 2 ways: 1) I didn’t have enough time to film or enough resources or crew (just myself!) and 2) I felt that dreams played out through repetition of images; it doesn’t have to make sense, the order that they appear in. I used the second reason to fix the first reason.

Using much of the same footage allowed me to illustrate how exactly what we show on the surface can be seen the same way, but in a different light at the same time. A bit contradictory, but I believe it makes sense in the long run.

I battled the demon of having next-to-no footage, and won!

Freedom in Travel: Dido’s “No Freedom”

For my FX Editing class this semester, we were tasked one week to create a music video using any techniques we had learned in AfterEffects, Photoshop, and Avid thus far. The goal of the video was to present something about ourselves – sort a biographical film piece.

I could’ve easily chosen to make a high-energy jump rope video, since I’d been competing and demo-ing for twelve or thirteen years of my life. But coming back from abroad made me nostalgic for all the travelling I’ve done, and so I chosen to present the scope of the world through my eyes. I decided to show Africa, Australia, and New Zealand using Dido’s newest song “No Freedom.”

I chose “No Freedom” not because of my bias towards Dido’s easy harkening of nostalgia and emotion in general, but because the lyrics of the song created the sense of finding freedom in doing what you love. I love travelling. And I hope this video shows it.

“No freedom without love.”

P.S. Happy 60th post!

Shadows in Color: “Dark Paradise” by Lana Del Rey

If there was ever a spontaneous music video, this would be it.

But seriously. Thanks to the blizzard named Nemo, I found myself cooped inside my room for a few hours too long. Couple that with the Lana Del Rey kick I’ve been on recently, and oo la la. Maybe oo la la isn’t the best way to put it, but you can be the judge of that.

I glanced around my room looking for inspiration. Ironically, the big blank wall caught my attention. Then began creation.

I simply filmed myself singing the lyrics (and if you look closely enough…oops, I messed up some of the lyrics), and the rest of the effects were performed in post production. I threw on mirror effects any which way I could, and added the gradients to the chorus to emphasize the difference between dark and color – the difference between erotic and not. During the final chorus, you can find a moment where my my actual self grazes the chin of my mirror-self. Holla erotica.

For a sensual woman, I made a sensual video. Have at me.