The Making of the “Lately” video

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The Making of the “Lately” video

Written: 04/06/2012

Music videos are commonplace among artists.  I spent many a hour as a teen and young adult watching videos on MTV.  I’ve seen videos of all shapes and sizes, of a multitude of concepts.  I have seen some great videos and I have seen some that I considered pretty horrible. 
 
There is one video I saw when I was 13 that changed me and made me want to get into music and later get into playing music and songwriting.  That video was “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.  I’ll never forget seeing it on MTV one night before I went to a school function.  I remember being struck by its energy and anarchy and the song was quite simple “Maybe I could do that”, I thought.
 
As most of you know, I released the album 613 in November 2011.  Some months later my production company Unicity Productions came to me about making a music video for one of the songs from 613.  I was excited by the opportunity and said yes let’s do this.  Next came a dialogue of what song it would be.  “Pilot Me Home”, my first single, was discussed as a possibility and other songs were mentioned too.  Ultimately, “Lately” was selected as the song we would make the music video for.  The thing about this song is it almost didn’t make the cut to be recorded for 613.  The general consensus about the demo version of the song is that it was not strong enough.  My producer and fellow Realize Records’ artist Paul Lewis saw potential in the song and said we’d work on it and we did for weeks and took what was a subpar song and made it very solid.  It is my personal favorite on 613 and I play it live quite a bit.
 
I talked with Realize Records’ CEO/Unicity Productions partner Michel Grey about the concept for the video.  They wanted to do a dramatic video that would make people think and certainly the song “Lately” lends itself to a dramatic description.  The song is basically about doing what is best for your relationship partner and sometimes the best thing to do is to leave them.
 
After coming up with a treatment and storyboard (a part of the process I was not a part of) the dates for the shoot were set: Saturday March 17 and Sunday March 18 at a private home in Middletown.  I showed up Saturday not really knowing what to expect.  The first thing I did when I got on set was makeup. The second thing done was to decide what I would wear for the video.  I brought a great number of clothes with different looks and colors.  My uniform for the shoot was a blue and grey button up Guess shirt, blue Gap jeans and Doc Martens. 
 
Soon after I was dressed I went with director Charles Morbito, director of photography Ian Duffy-Mosley and their crew to get ready for my first scene – sitting on a bed in a small room singing the song.  As some of you know videos generally do not use the audio recorded, so I could lip sync or sing.  I chose to sing because I think lip syncing would come as not as authentic. I was amazed by the camera gear and amount of lights and other equipment.
 
For those of you not used to filming (as I was) it takes a very long time to set up a scene and there is a lot of downtime.  A LOT.   
 
During the late afternoon Charles suggested I go practice the song on piano.  Let me just say I don’t consider myself much of a piano player.  I had never played “Lately” on the piano so I had to figure it out and quick.  The last shots of day one was me playing piano and singing “Lately”.  It was the most nerve wracking part of the video for me because I don’t play piano and sing very much. 
 
Because it was a late night I decided to stay at the Hampton Inn in Middletown – it would have been an hour drive home if I chose to go home to Media and would have been a very early morning.
 
Day Two was an early call.  Because of the shifting of scene I had a great amount of down time that day.  The only scene I was in on Day Two was a basement scene of me sitting on a chest playing guitar and singing.  That was the most enjoyable scene for me.
 
I enjoyed the experience of making the video for “Lately”.  Great cast great crew.  Stay tuned for the video’s debut on April 24th.