I am getting a surprising break in my day today - as I'm currently babysitting our nieces Gwenevere and Grace (for Will's sister) while they work on their new house.
It's been a bit crazy around here, but I'm rather amazed that they are so quietly watching a movie right now. Maybe I should be worried....
But instead I'm going to try to catch up on our blog during this rare moment of peace.
Last weekend, I had Part 1 of my video shoot for my song "Illumination", which is the title track for my most recent album release.
I guess I haven't gone into too much detail about this yet, but for the past few years it's sort of been my dream to produce music videos to go along with my music. It's been a very long process of learning how to do it, who to work with, how things are done, how much it costs, and yadda yadda yadda.
I've had some really not-so-great experiences filming (the Moonlight video), and then I've had some really awesome positive experiences filming (the Requiem video).
In the end though, through a series of fated events, the idea fell into Will and I's lap to produce our own videos. He loves photography and has done my BTS footage and has a great eye, I have great visual ideas and concepts....
So for the past few months, we have been saving up our pennies to slowly invest in our own equipment. As of now, we've purchased our nifty camera - a Panasonic GH3 which is specifically geared for film, a lense, a couple of glidecams, and a bunch of accessories. We still have a lot to purchase, mainly lenses (which are $$$$), but we have enough to practice on right now.
So even though Will and I are still in the process of investing in equipment and learning how the heck to use it, in the meantime, I have still been working on a music video with my filmmaker friend, Ali.
A LOT of preparation has gone into this video. Let me just say that it has gone through so many different concepts and ideas I can't even count them on both of my hands -and I was never happy with most of those ideas.
In the end, I took a stand and said "I want to do this my way or the highway" basically.
Ali agreed, and so what has ended up happening is me working with the Evergreen Philharmonic to come on board for the filming. (see happy face below)...
The other scene for the video (which will be Part 2) will be an outdoor shoot taking place later this spring when the weather is nicer here in Seattle. That in itself is a little story that I will tell you towards the end of this blog - with photos as well.
A lot of people see the things I do with my music - and the amazing things I get to do. They probably think we have a ton of money to do all these things, but really, all I do is simply ASK.
The philharmonic agreed to do the video because I performed with them in December and we already had a relationship established there - and besides they knew my music already. I was able to perform with them in the first place because I asked to. I went to the conductor with a fresh idea he'd never done before (performing original music, non-classical, by a local artist).
These were the thank you gifts that we put together for each of the orchestra members: A CD (with the song they are doing with me) and a Symphony chocolate bar. My dear friends the Yose's helped me put these together one night....
It was no small task to do this.
The music itself, which I'd already had finished for the December concert, took 2 transcriptionists to help me prepare it for an 80 piece orchestra. When I had originally written the music, I did not ever intend for it to be performed live with a huge group like this, and so I only had violins, cellos, french horns, percussion, and some synths. And so all new parts had to be created for all the additional instruments.
These two photos were from the December concert...
Here are some photo's from last weekend's film shoot...
Ali had an interesting time trying to film the orchestra. I totally kept forgetting that he didn't know what the different instruments were called, so I would say "Let's get some shots of the Timpani" and he would look at me like "Say what?".
The orchestra peeps had fun with the shoot though. I had Ali feature some shots of my cellist, Stephanie, who performed as a soloist on my album (on a different song) and so we cleared out much of the cello section in order to put some spotlights on her and get some decent shots.
Doing a film shoot like this gets kind of repetative, as we play the same music over, and over...and over as the videographer captures different angles and shots all over the orchestra. There is a lot of waiting time.
Also, in order to get the orchestra to play exactly like the recording, the track we play to is set to a metronome so both the conductor and I know exactly when to come in and play and to be spot on.
We tried to just get through the orchestra scenes in the allotted time that we had, and then once the orchestra was finished we cleared everything out and then did some close up face shots, hand shots, foot pedal shots, etc of just me with the proper lighting.
Here is me in the green room before the shoot doing a mirror check.
Normally I have my very good friend Noelle come with me and do my hair and makeup for stuff like this, but she wasn't able to come for this shoot (she lives 4 hrs away from me), and so I did it on my own. I am usually okay doing my own hair, but I struggle with my makeup. She told me I did a great job though, and I confessed "I just looked on the back of the eyeshadow thing where it gives you a diagrahm of the eye with numbers for each color, and I followed that." Haha.
Here is me with Kristen Yose on the left - she is my piano student and she ran the audio for the film shoot. Basically she pushed play and stop about a hundred times.
And then Anna on the right is a 1st violinist in the orchestra. I seriously cannot believe these two 14 year olds are as tall as me!! I'm 5'7"!
The day before the shoot, I went to Costco and picked up a ton of food for the orchestra. I didn't think that they would eat it all, but those teenagers seriously went through all of it. There was a bag of Hershey Bliss chocolate that I, in particular, was hoping they wouldn't go through....but it was GONE. Completely gone. Haha.
So the story about my dress that I wore is kind of interesting as well. You may remember it from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards where I wore it in Nov 2012....
I was never quite happy with the dress because a) the sleeves and bodice were not as modest as I had hoped and so I ended up wearing my hair down to cover stuff up the whole night, and b) there was something about the bodice that made me look really "hippy" (wide in the hips).
So I had my friend Andrea, who is a really great seamstress/alteration specialist, re-do the entire bodice.
What she did was line it with nude material (nude swimsuit material so it's very thin and light), create sleeves (because I wanted 3/4 length sleeves), and also add ruffles around the neckline. It was my idea to also create a tulle belt and train in the back - which fixed the "hippy" issue. In the end I was quite happy with it!
Now as for Part 2 of this video, it's another interesting story.
I had been collecting ideas and inspiration photos on Pinterest for this shoot, and found the following:
There is this estate here in our town that is right underneath Mt. Si and has the best views. I remember Will told me that it was on the market, but I didn't see any for sale signs and so I didn't know if it still was. Will looked it up on his MLS website and it was indeed still for sale.
I was able to then get the contact information for the owner and send her an email. Long story short, the owner is a millionaire, philanthropist, author, life coach,...and really a wonderful person. She invited us out to her home to meet her and her husband, and we were even allowed to bring the boys with us.
We spent about an hour walking around the property and it was so lovely. I kept finding more and more places where we could film, but I think my absolute favorite were some English gardens she had in the back near the river...
Again, I feel incredibly lucky that we are not being charged to shoot at this estate, and it could not be more perfect.
We are waiting for better (dryer) weather later this spring, and hopefully more flowers in bloom as well.
And for now....that's a wrap!