Artist : Brandon Jenkins
Song : Austin
Director: Raymond J. Schlogel
Production Company : Underground Planet
I'm not sure how this one slipped through the cracks but just now realized that this vid hasn't been on the web in years, well, till now obviously.
This was one of my early ones, 2002 or 2003ish. Pretty sure I filmed this on a Canon XL1 and it was originally 4x3. Had a blast on this one for so many reasons.
Not knowing where to begin I'll start with the fact that though Brandon managed to get his band down to Austin to shoot the performance parts, none of them were able to bring any of their instruments. Solution? First head over to Ray Henning's Heart of Texas Music Store on South Lamar, grab some guitars, sit down and play. (Ray also makes a brief cameo as well). Grab a shot of Omar from Omar and The Howlers before we bail. Since Heart of Texas Music didn't have a full drum kit set up, head over to Guitar Center and get some shots of the drummer playing drums. I love the fact that if you look close you can see price tags on almost all the instruments. Since the Red Dirt Rangers were in town and buds of Brandon's we ducked over to the water tower on South Congress and got some of them playing along. Off to Midnight Rodeo for a show with Doug Morland and onto the carnival where we got a great shot of Brian Lee, the incredible piano player in the video who just happens to be blind, driving a bumper car.
Brandon was going to be performing on a local FOX morning show and we got permission to do a little shooting at the studio. It just so happened that at the time I knew someone who coincidentally was related to one of the best weathermen at the time (since retired), Gordon Smith. Not only did he agree to be in the vid but the station went above and beyond and made a few graphics I had asked for, shot the green screen stuff with Gordon and Brandon with their equipment, and gave us copies for the vid. Anchorman Joe Bickett was also kind enough to make a cameo.
Met up with Cory Morrow at Iron Works, by the way that's him peeling out at the beginning of the vid. Brandon might appreciate me mentioning that he let Cory win the arm wrestling. Made our way over to Kat's Deli (God I miss that place!) and Marc Katz drove us around in the canary yellow ‘66 Cadillac convertible that was always parked out front.
Other notable notes:
This was my first, but not last time to work with April Perez who later starred in my first indie feature "For Love & Stacie" which this video and Brandon Jenkins also make an appearance in. You can see that in it's entirety here: vimeo.com/6276471
I actually shot the aerial shots of downtown Austin in some little mini plane that a friend of mines ex-girlfriend had access to and I only had to pay for gas. The funny thing about this is that on the day of the shoot she had left me a message to confirm but said that I might not be able to reach her as her cell phone battery was about to die. About a half hour before I was supposed to leave to meet up with her at the airport for some inexplicable reason I found myself literally near paralyzed with fear, laying fetal style in my bed trying to get a hold of her with some lame excuse why I couldn't make it. Knowing she wouldn't get my message in time I dragged myself down there. The fear multiplied ten fold as I ducked under the wing and opened the passenger side door that reminded me of a door on an old Jeep, including a zippered plastic window. Then, even weirder, sitting there in the passenger seat clutching my camera in my lap the moment we started rolling down the runway I felt absolutely fine, as if this was perfectly normal and I did this every day. By the time we were flying over the capitol at a steady clip of 40mph I had unzipped the window and holding my camera outside of it getting, what turned out to be, some pretty great footage.
The last thing I'll say about this is that while out and about getting some b-roll for this, I was driving South on Congress so I could turn around and drive North on Congress to get a shot of the capitol. While driving I happened to spot Leslie standing on the corner. For those of you not from around these parts and don't know who Leslie is I'll quote his Wiki Page "Leslie Cochran (June 24, 1951 – March 8, 2012) was an American peace activist, cross-dresser, urban outdoorsman and outspoken critic of police treatment of the homeless. Cochran was typically seen around 6th Street and Congress during business hours, frequently wearing women's clothing. His most popular attire was a leopard thong and high-heeled shoes. Cochran preferred, however, to be known as a man." Thankfully I hit a red light just long enough to grab my camera and get a few seconds of footage of him in full regalia. I remember thinking briefly as the light turned green he had to be in this video, he's a frikkin icon and I don't think there's anyone in the city that doesn't know who he is. I was a little leery wondering if Brandon would mind as it's not everyday you see a cross-dressing guy in a thong in a country music video but I was an idiot for thinking he would. Combined with the lyric "You don't have to be something your not down in Austin" was just a perfect fit.
What I love about the shot now most of all is that, where I once gave myself credit for catching a great moment I now realize in hindsight, my part was unremarkable. Of course Leslie was smiling at the moment I turned the camera on and hit record, of course Leslie was waving and pointing at random passerbys, that's what he did, that's what he was. Any person with any camera could have gotten a shot like that just about any day of the week. The only thing I had to do right was not have a dead battery.
It's because of this and all of his sheer unadulterated awesomeness that I wanted to see this video today when I heard the sad news of his passing. As I often do with previous works it's generally easier for me to bring it up online than it is to find it on my computer. Much to my surprise when I had changed from hosting videos myself to using a third party this video had gotten lost in the mix and hadn't made its way back to the web. Took a few hours to find the right archived hard drive but here it is again for any who may have missed it.
Though Leslie is only in it for two or three seconds I cannot imagine this video without him, I'm sure anyone from Austin would agree. He will be missed.