Winner of Best Music Video at the 2009 LA Shorts Fest.
Title: Man-Sized Wreath
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Director: Crush, Toronto
Crush Creative Directors: Gary Thomas, Stefan Woronko & Natasha Rand
Production Company: Crush, Toronto
Executive Producer: Jo-ann Cook
Producer: Stephanie Pennington
Assistant Producer: Kristen Van Fleet
Editor: Kim Knight, Sons and Daughters, Toronto
Shot, Designed & Animated by: Crush, Toronto
Here is the story behind Man-Sized Wreath, written by Gary Thomas, Creative Director, Crush.
The project is a continuation of the work we started with Hollow Man. That video was intended as a statement about isolation, the fear of losing who we are. This film is a more pointed statement about the state of the world politically, and the idea that we are all hypnotized by so much meaningless diversion we don't focus on things that matter.
When we first talked to Michael Stipe, he gave us the background to the song, concerning Bush's visit to Martin Luther King's memorial, we felt that there was a point to be made about disconnected power and the obliviousness of authority to people. Toward that end, we seized on the idea of a motorcade from the lyrics and built a number of scenes with a crudely animated motorcade crashing through people and anything in its path.
The other strand that runs through the video is a live action thread with an "everyman" figure, moving through the world bein followed, surrounded and eventually chased by the bright colours and diversions of the media. His moment of realization is the denouement of the film. We presented our ideas to Michael Stipe and he was on board, so we just continued to add layers of meaning to the shots.
The main challenges were partially time (although the band and label allowed us the flexibility to flesh out our ideas), and technical. We wanted to keep the video fluid and rough, so shooting was guerilla style, meaning a lot of laborious 3D tracking.
We used every tool at Crush. We shot all the elements, edited with Kim Knight at our sister company, Sons and Daughters, did After Effects design and animation, Flame work 3d Tracking and Maya CG.
The project was a huge labour of love for everyone at Crush. It is rare that we get a chance to work on a project as satisfying as Hollow Man, which allowed us to spread our wings, and then be able to develop on those themes.
Michael Stipe and REM are a dream to work with and we're spoiled forever after this project. Crush is a production company that does diverse creative work. We look for things that make sense for us creatively. This project absolutely fit that.