12 May 2010

The Art of the Obvious

by Dolores Dagenais , Paul Klein, and Tyler Weaver.

When Tyler and I first talked about doing a video of OBVIOUSLY, we kicked around several different concepts and for awhile it looked like the project wasn’t going to happen at all. Then something really interesting happened - Tyler hit upon an idea that completely encapsulated what the song meant. The idea that love in and of itself is obvious enough to not need hearts flowers and violins to get the point across. Everyone no matter who they are or where they are understands on some level how love feels, whether it is romantic love, warm friendship or the strong bonds of family, or even in the case of most multi-hyphenates the love of doing something you enjoy. The love of creating. My lesson in this experience is that if you give that particular type of love a full head of steam to just run where it wants and get out of it’s way, things happen naturally and you end up with something at the end that is better than anything you could have planned. It seems pretty simple in retrospect...almost...obvious. -Dol

On Sunday, I will graduate from law school. I have learned many things in my three years as a law student, but the most important thing I’ve learned is to never take yourself too seriously. Funny, because so much of law school prepares you for a serious world, one where dogs typically don’t run through the court room.

But if they do, now I’ll know how to act.

My collaboration with Tyler was borne out of our mutual passion to create visual oddities and amusements. That passion has sustained our collaboration through the death of two ideas preempted by those with more resources, and we have emerged with plans for much more (though we continue to mourn our losses). So it was with great enthusiasm that I agreed to help when Tyler told me a little over a week ago that he’d been trying to figure out the story for this music video Dol had asked him to make. He played ‘Obviously’ for me in the place I’ve come to think of as “The Writing Cave,” and I immediately fell in love with the song. We started talking about what to do, and within five minutes, we both smiled and said, “That’s it. We’ve got it.”

Not that we planned on the help from the dogs. Yet, strangely, they added a little more humanity than we could find with just a guy, a pen, and an anniversary card.

I can say from experience on both sides of the camera that working with actors is rarely easy. But working with two dogs—and a great friend—was both easy and highly enjoyable.

And with Dol’s gorgeous voice in the background? Icing on the cake.

I made my last film, GATHER 'ROUND THE MIC nearly a year ago.  Sure, I had done some projects in between, but I felt that I had come full circle with not only my ideas, but my abilities.  I was unsure if I would ever feel the spark of collaboration, or the rush of a good idea ever again.  Fortunately, two things happened.

First, I met Dolores Dagenais through the magic of the social interwebs, and we struck up a friendship over GATHER 'ROUND THE MIC, and through that a desire to collaborate was born.  She put online a little song called OBVIOUSLY, and I immediately fell in love - as anyone with a heart would when they hear that voice.  Two minutes later, I said "I wanna make a video!"  And so I set off on an adventure...

And then life happened, got in the way, and my brain couldn't process an idea - because I was thinking too hard about it.

Then in November, I met my neighbor.  After living two houses down from each other for a year.  Yeah, I know.  Anyhow, Paul Klein and I struck up an immediate friendship that turned into a writing partnership.  I was writing again, we were loving it, and everything was great.  A first draft was done, and then fate bitch-slapped yet again.

So we faltered around, and drank.  Then we came up with two projects, and along the way, this little tune, OBVIOUSLY came back into my life.  For a week, I pushed myself to come up with a way to meet the following challenges:

- The singer is Nova Scotia.  I'm in Cleveland.
- I have no money to travel.
- I have no actors.

Paul finished up with finals, and I said, "Hey, maybe you could help me here," doing a HOUSE-inspired differential.  In five minutes we had the concept.  Paul is credited as a producer - and he's a producer in the truest sense of the word.  Always there with an idea, always willing to bounce ideas, and always, always supportive when warranted, and an ass-kicker when needed.  He's the ultimate collaborator.  He gives me the freedom to think and to explore ideas - free of attachment.  Back and forth, back and forth.  And then a simultaneous, "Yep.  That works."  The video wouldn't have happened without him, and I know this is just the first chapter in a crazed, long adventure in visual storytelling.

On Monday we shot the video.  Monday night I edited.  Tuesday we shot more footage (opened up to the idea of the dogs being in the video because they were too damn funny), and Tuesday night I finished the video.  Then I waited and waited for it to upload.

And here we are.

Thanks Dol for the collaboration, and for giving me the confidence to let loose and have fun.

Enough babbling...


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