Thursday, June 14, 2012

Music Videos

I've never been a fan of pointless music videos.  A frequent example of these are "band" videos where the viewer watches the band mime the song in a bunch of different locations, such as in a desert, or at a concert, or in a random field somewhere.  I'm also not fond of videos that have nothing to do with the actual lyrics of the song, such as when the verse is talking about a heart-broken lover but the video shows a bunch of balloons filled with teargas (actually, that sounds like a cool video).  And I'm not partial to music videos that overall just seem like a waste of time, such as when singers are in front of a green screen and instead of putting something cool like a volcano behind them they insert a hallway or a white room. 

People often ask me why I don't make music videos for my songs, and there is a simple reason: unlike the music itself, where I directly handle every aspect of the songwriting / recording / mixing, I don't have any video production expertise.  So although I love the thought of having an awesome music video, music videos don't make themselves, and I lack the required equipment, technical proficiency, personnel, etc. necessary to make a music video to the same production standards that I hold my music.  This puts me at the mercy of other individuals, which is not something I'm very keen on.  

So with all of the above, I've grown accustomed to never even considering music videos for my songs.  But truth be told, a music video that was a work of art in itself, was well made, had a concept worthy of being made, and was able to independently stand on it's own visually while combining with the music to create something greater than the sum of it's parts…that would be wonderful.

Well just as the dim possibility of a music video was about to forever fade from my consciousness, director Scott Gold appeared like a beacon of hope in a post-apocalyptic world.  Not only did Scott share my sentiments regarding music videos, he was committed to shooting a video for my song "Waiting Between Worlds."  I thought to myself, "this is going to be a monumental task - three different lyrical stories, actors, crew, a hospital, police…and a pregnancy test."  But Scott had a plan and his plan was simple: find the crew, find the actors, find the locations, shoot the video.  It was a plan so crazy it just might work.

Scott and I reviewed his ideas for the music video, which focused on the last section of the song where the lyrics begin.  His treatment visually depicted the lyrics of the song - madness!  He interpreted the 2nd verse in an interesting way that worked better visually - nice.  He utilized the 4th verse (the ending lyrical commentary) to visually continue the stories from the first 3 verses - brilliant.  We spoke about cameras, lenses, lighting - all sounded great.  He asked me what I thought - I said "me thinks good."  

But before the journey commenced, he asked, "right now you're not in the video - is that okay with you - do you want to be in it?"  I said, "I don't want to be in the video just for the sake of being in the video - if my presence serves a purpose, cool…but as my presence doesn't seem to be necessary or useful within the context of this video, leave me out of it."  It was settled.

Fast forward a few months, and I find myself in California on the set of the "Waiting Between Worlds" music video, among a superb cast and crew that Scott assembled.


  1. Great video, Zack. It's true that it's difficult to find videos nowadays that add an additional layer to the music experience, but you pulled it off.

    The striking feature was how incredibly different each scenario played out visually - from the actors, to their environments and the visual effects through which they were employed (lighting, camera views, etc). It really helped to demonstrate how different individual circumstances may be, nevertheless identifying with the unifying theme of "waiting between worlds" and running in to those crossroads.

    I always have a gripe with how medical situations are played out in TV and film, given how they nearly always come across inaccurately through the narrative or visual elements. This did happen to an extent here, though it's not one that would be discernable to the general public (ie. the guy in the 3rd verse is supposedly in a vegetative state, yet isn't intubated and has no central monitoring before a DNR decision is made with the mother - maybe I'm missing something). But that's just me being a complete hard@ss given my background, I suppose - I needed to find something to give some constructive feedback on in this video, before you make your next one.

    An overall job well done. Visually stunning, emotionally moving, and enough can never be said about the music. Looking forward to your next video.

    1. You're right about the medical details of the 3rd verse - basically, we tried to make it feel as believable as possible given what we had to work with. I think in the end, we accomplished that...but there's no question it would have been ideal to achieve 100% realism.

      Next time there's a medical scene in my music video, I'm calling you as a consultant!

  2. Nice done. Congrats.
    Sometimes crazy plans and simple ideas work perfect :)

  3. Great track and great video clip. Your music is very inspiring for my own work as a composer. Thanks :)

  4. This video felt like a short film, it was really fun to watch mate! Well done, congrats on the product!

  5. You and your crazy ideas. Here's mine, why don't you and Scott become the next Spielberg and Williams? Give us more then 6 minutes of stunning imagery and musical awesomeness. Why not use one of your albums as a skeleton for a screenplay. Just a suggestion from one who is always looking for more.