We speak to director Anthony Plant from Fish N’ Clips about the genesis of this project, the challenges involved in putting it all together, what influenced the distinct look and vibe of the videos, working on the ear-blowing sound design and also manage to unveil a little about its mysterious storyline….
How did you get involved with the project?
Well, I work at a production company called Fish’n'Clips, my executive producer Jessie Gurunathan has a strong personal friendship with Jay Bulletproof and featured on his new single ‘Dub me Crazy’, when she was told the idea of what Jay/EMI wanted to do she knew it was the kind of project that I’d be interested in, a couple of meetings later there I am coming up with creative briefs and discussing where to go with it in collaboration with Bulletproof!
This is something new for a New Zealand musician to be doing, did it feel like breaking new ground?
It was definitely an exciting experience to be doing something new like this and breaking new grounds in the New Zealand music scene. I am really into advertising and it was a great opportunity to cross over my skills as a music video director and put them into an entertaining campaign.
The concept is experimental and the videos seem fairly experimental in execution as well. How far did you feel you could push things with this project?
The team gave me a lot of creative freedom, it was really nice to do a series of clips where it was not necessary to stick to one style or technique in particular… Each clip stuck to the common theme of a mysterious thriller/supernatural, but combined a number of camera techniques. The best experience for me was collaborating with Jay on the audio side of things, we worked together to make sure the soundtrack drove the story as much as the visual, Jay also used a lot of sound effects that are in the coming album! I always felt strongly that audio was just as important as visuals in film, so I hope everyone watching has a nice pair of monitors or headphones to listen with!
What were you wanting to achieve with the videos?
I simply wanted to create a sense of mystery that keeps the viewer wanting to come back the next week, I guess I personally get hooked to weekly TV drama’s that keep you wondering, so if I can deliver that to others, I’m stoked!
They have a very cinematic quality to them, did any movies influence the look and tone of the videos? What were they and how did they influence it?
I guess over the years I have actually developed a bit of an addiction to that kind of look, when I first started directing I was mostly working with anything from punk to metal bands who were always after a darker grimy look.. I think back then the things that really got me into this kind of look would be films like Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, The Matrix and lots of Tim Burton’s work, they really influenced how I make things as I really believe that at some level the human brain reacts to colour and texture, and when you have a palette that reflects the mood of the scene, it really helps to hook a viewer in and make things more believable…
How involved were you in creating the story?
Very involved, we had a couple of meetings at EMI (Bulletproof’s distribution label) where we collectively discussed what we wanted to achieve and what kind of a direction to take things in.. Once we agreed that a simple journey through a world where Jay’s music was illegal, I went off and wrote a treatment and story out line for each part, I came back a week later and bar a couple of changes we were all more than happy with it!
How long was the shoot? When and where were you filming? How long did it take from concept to wrapped?
The main shoot was only two days; The first day was spent shooting at York St Studio in Parnell, it worked perfectly for nailing a number of scene’s in the same location as we could shoot in the recording booth, we cheated the sound stage as a black studio and then used the creepy car-park to represent some kind of underground carpark/alley, it was hassle free as York Street are very supportive of the film industry as well as music!
The second day we had a few time restraints filming on location at a Butchers, where we could only keep the freezer open for a certain amount of time for hygienic reasons.. From there we jumped on a train from Britomart to Henderson return and that was our only shot to get… Bulletproof really stepped up to the plate on that set up as he had to act in front of a public audience that were all just off camera! We got everything we wanted, myself and DOP Tim Flower are used to small crew shoots, there was literally two of us plus make up, things seem to move faster doing a run and gun shoot like this, its great fun!
Outside of this I spent a couple of evenings working on time lapses and pick up shots at a CD manufacturing factory by myself! From an approved concept to the wrap on post production, I believe we only spent 2 and a bit weeks! Everything was pretty easy going as we made great use of the resources that we have right in front of us!
What were the challenges in the filming?
I think the biggest challenges are always location shoots, there is often not enough room and it is especially hard to record audio in an uncontrolled environment.. Luckily we were shooting on a small Canon 5D which is a DSLR camera that has become very popular with film makers from music video to feature film… it really allows you to cram into small spaces such as a butchers freezer! The audio on these camera’s as they were not designed to be a professional video camera can be a bit painful, but we worked around it with the rite gear!
The sound design is obviously an important part in these videos, could you tell us about putting that together?
Sound design is something I’ve never really had to think about, even in the commercial world. Thus far I had not recorded audio, so it was important to think about what sounds we wanted to get on location and what would be done with foley and sound fx.. Once again I really let Bulletproof bring his creativity out on this, it made sense as he has a lot more experience than myself, I simply discussed in detail with him what kind of sounds would work and help to set mood!
What’s your favourite music video and why?
Can I have two?? I have a top equal for different reasons:
1: Alexisonfire: ‘This Could Be Anywhere In The World’. Directed by Chris Sargent & Steve Mottershead
This was an instant favorite of mine, the band may not be everybody’s flavor, but the directors absolutely nailed the mood of the song with a simple video based on the elements fire and water, the imagery is so strong and breathtaking and its the first time I had really seen a video that nails the raw energy of the bands live performance..
2: Kanye West: ‘Power’
This is the video I wish that I could say I made. It breaks a few boundaries such as only being one verse and chorus of the song, and is really proof that a picture paints a thousand words; many people take such varied beliefs behind the meaning of the video. I personally don’t look as deeply into it and just admire the beauty of the images!