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Filming Last Decade Of Love

Updated: Jun 16, 2018

This time last year I won the 2Weeks2MakeIt competition with a group of filmmakers called W.I. Productions. Having never met each other before, we had two weeks to make a music video which was then screened along with the 20 or so other entries at the Showroom cinema.


We enjoyed the experience so much we decided to keep on making stuff together, and they’ve been helping me create my music videos ever since.



The rocks at Otley Chevin

Last Decade Of Love

This weekend we just wrapped on a shoot for Last Decade of Love. This is the title track of my forthcoming album and it’s a lot softer and dreamier than the other stuff we’ve done so far.


You can listen to an acoustic version here. The album track will be released later this month with the video.


It’s a gentle song and the premise was simple: I walk towards, past, or away from the camera whilst carrying things (which mean Something), all the while lit by spectral light in the woods. Simples!


Except filming is never simple. Here’s a few things that made it a lot harder than it looks:


Dawn breaks (sort of) over Leeds. Leeds is not fussed.

Weather

Damn you England! Rest assured that no matter when where or how you choose to do your filming, if you’re outside it WILL rain. This shoot was actually the second sequence we’ve done for the video – the first one was at night, and it rained constantly.


That was back in the autumn last year. This time we were filming in summer at dawn. It rained again. And the sun didn’t show. Nice work, The Weather.


Director & DP heading off in search of the perfect light

Nature

The earth has been royally screwed over by humans in the small time we’ve been on it, and to settle the score, nature seeks to take its vengeance where it can.


It does this largely by picking on independent filmmakers trying to make music videos for idiot musicians who said let’s film in the woods at [insert stupid time]. Whether being eaten by midges, foxed by high rocks or attacked by bushes, we were very much served exactly what we deserved.


At the time of writing, director Holly is compiling a blooper reel of all the times our Director of Photography was hit in the face by a particularly vindictive bit of foliage (and keeps filming! Top marks for dedication). Stay tuned to enjoy that once we’ve got the video live.


merrily sticking a spanner in the works with my whimsical organ grinding

Musicians

See everything above. Much of this torment could have been spared if someone had shot me at the point when I said: ‘I’d like to do a dream sequence at night with a bed in the middle of the woods’.


I then went on to rerecord the track as the original just wasn’t working – which meant any shots of me singing to the camera were now out of sync.


Luckily this gave us ideas to take the narrative in a slightly different direction, but it could just as well have ended with my untimely demise.


Musicians, eh, what can you do with ‘em?! (Shoot them)


Film & Music

All in all, despite the challenges, filming is a wonderful thing that I love possibly as much as I do making the music. It gives me the chance to explore ideas in a new medium and often find an alternative meaning in a song.


It also means I get to work with people who have a completely different experience of making art. The world of film fascinates me because there’s so many different aspects of making the shot perfect. What you see onscreen is such a miniscule part of the work that goes on behind the camera - that's a whole new way of engaging with the world.


After our dawn shoot, we trooped off to get a well-deserved fry-up, before heading off to shoot YET MORE stuff. But more of that another later.


Stay tuned for the Last Decade video - it's been an epic experience making it and I can't wait to share the final cut with you all.


The next idea we’ve got lined up is a circus theme with acrobats and a fight sequence, so everything should go swimmingly...


And if you'd like to hear what TSARZI sounds like in person, get yourself to the Trades Club in Rotherham on Friday night. I'm on the bill with the splendid Ichabod, who sounds like a latter-day Leonard Cohen.



Further Reading:


The Winning Video


Ornaments is a song about someone whose world has shrunk to the things in his house, who cares more about objects than people. I like to think the video looks like Andy Warhol guest-directed an episode of Coronation Street.


Filmed at the wonderful DINA venue in Sheffield.


2 Weeks 2 Make It


2W2Mi is run by South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network. I don’t think it’s happened yet this year, but I’ve heard rumours that it’s on for October. I’ll probably do a post closer to the time about my experience filming the Ornaments video, along with tips for anyone thinking of doing it.


Experiences can vary from person to person as musicians and filmmakers are paired up randomly on the day and 2 weeks isn’t much time to get to know each other. All I can say is we had a blast and I struck it lucky with the WI Prod guys!


So throw your hat into the ring! You never know unless you try.

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