Please watch in HD!
Music Video directed by David Keeling
'Elephant Shaped Cage' by Vitale & Fernley feat. Johnny Holden on vocals
My friend Tim came to me looking for a music video for one of the many bands and groups that he's a part of. After some chatting and brainstorming, we came up with an idea to make a video inspired by the films of Wes Anderson. We're both big fans, so we thought it would be fun to create some Anderson-esque characters and scenes.
The major obstacle? We had no budget. And Anderson's films are notoriously high-end in their production design and cinematography. It would be a big challenge to assemble the costumes, props and location ideas we would need to make it work. But we decided to give it a go anyway.
I began raiding wardrobes, charity shops and €2 stores, looking for bits of costumes that might be useful. Fortunately, my wife and I both come from families with an unusual gift for amassing weird and wonderful pieces of clothing, so there was plenty to choose from. The characters of the video mostly came from finding a shirt, a coat, a mask or a pair of glasses and asking 'Who would wear something like this?'.
Once the characters were beginning to take shape, I started thinking about potential locations - what were the worlds that these characters would inhabit? Some sprang to mind almost straight away, places that I had always thought looked like something from 'The Royal Tenenbaums' or 'The Life Aquatic'. Of course, the lack of budget limited where we could film, but for the most part I was able to find places that would help the character come to life.
Filming took place over three days, during which me and Tim trekked around my local town and Dublin city from place to place, a huge suitcase full of costumes in tow. I filmed on a Canon 550D with a really nice Sigma wide angle lens that I had borrowed, which helped give the shots that Wes Anderson look. The great thing about using a DSLR is that it's so lightweight and portable, and you can get away with filming in places you might not normally be allowed, because people presume you're just taking photos (a big thanks to the Irish Natural History Museum for not noticing that we were breaking the rules).
This was one of the most fun shoots that I've worked on. Tim is one of the most amenable people to direct, never complaining even when he was kneeling in the freezing wind wearing just a shirt and a bag over his head. We improvised a bit as we went, changing a few locations, or inventing new characters when we saw somewhere cool to get a shot. The static nature of the shots made it easy to get what we needed in just one or two takes.
Given the difficult task of emulating Wes Anderson's style with no budget, I'm very happy with how it turned out. It might lack the polish of his films, but I think the essence is there. As an homage to one of our favorite filmmakers, I hope it does what it set out to do. As a music video in it's own right, I hope you find it humorous, playful and visually appealing, and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.
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