Directing a Music Video for Afton Prater

This creative one-day music video shoot reminds me of the importance of a creative and resourceful production crew.

Directing a Music Video for Afton Prater in Seabeck WA.

I had a unique opportunity to direct and co-DP for this music video featuring NW talent Afton Prater and an army of young line dancers from Kitsap County. Afton is a bright young star on the rise and with her talented band and supportive community I know she will go far!

The Dream Team

My producer Suzanne Finnell of Beverly Boy Productions did an amazing job helping me gather a solid crew, develop and adapt our shot list and deal with changing conditions in the field. March 26th, 2016 started out nicely but ended in pouring rain. A typical spring day here in the NW. We filmed on some the country roads near Seabeck Washington. Our dream team included co-DP Jeremiah Kaynor who did some amazing work on his gimbal.

Disaster! (averted)

You will notice one aerial shot of Afton walking along the road. Shortly after that Jeremiah’s DJI Inspire quadcopter experienced a mechanical malfunction and landed in the pond. Due to some quick work with towels, a blow dryer, and a big bag of rice the Inspire was mostly okay. While the quadcopter was getting repaired gaffer Casey Schmidt jumped onto a jeep and helped us gather a long tracking shot that really works well in the video. Our PA, Lucas Chapel went above and beyond to help make everything come together; allowing his vehicle to be used as a show car and doing work as an AC, sound mixer, and best boy to help keep our show on the road.

The Rains

Once the rains began to fall my team’s resourcefulness really came into play. Suzanne helped keep us going through shot after shot. And Afton was a real trooper singing and dancing for multiple shots and locations over a 10 hour day. No complaints from her,though. Her shining light helped show the way. This is only my second music video. But a real joy. I moved away from Kitsap County back in 2000 after 4 years working as a counselor at Kitsap Mental Health.  I’m glad to see that the folks there still have great compassion and creativity. I’m always impressed with the relaxed pace of life there, the warm, friendly people and the romantic countryside.

Making a Music Video: Ending to Dhoom!

This is Michael Kleven’s 1st music video. Ending to Dhoom is now available for viewing on both Youtube and Vimeo. The project was a collaboration between me and James Whetzel the lead singer of Seattle indie rock band Das Dhoom. James also appears in the video as “the boyfriend” and again singing and playing the traditional Indian instrument the sarod. Deepayin Archarjya appears in the video playsing the dhol and Sebastian Lange is seen in the video performing on the violin.

This work would not have been possible if not for the creative contribution of members of Seattle’s indie film, fashion, dance and photography communities. The video was shot primarily on the Canon EOS 7D. Leave it to say that I love that camera. My editor Sanjeev Tandle provided some interesting effects to the footage and some interesting creative choices, influenced no doubt by his experience working on Bollywood features. Lead actress Ronee Collins is a veteran of Northwest stages and Indie films including my award winning film MARCELL. The “other man” was played by Bjorn Whitney. Local model and actress Stephanie Raven was “the new girl”. My AD Patricia Bennet helps manage her husbands photography business when she isn’t working on film projects. Her husband Patrick helped out, with shooting on the fire sequence. Additional cameras for this sequence were provided by Mike Gurley of Canon Camera. Amalia Cuthbert was our principle dancer. Will Carson was our stunt coordinator and primary fire breather. Jennalee Evavold, (I know, quite the name), was our animator. For the scene where James enters the water this was necessary lest we forfeit our PG 13 rating.

The two versions differ slightly. The Youtube version can be viewed at full 1080 and has 10 seconds of additional credits. For the Vimeo version we cut the credits back a bit and did some extra effects work on the footage where James enters the fantasy with the dancer, (Amalia). The scene with James and Deepayin was filmed in the water tower at Volunteer Park. The scenes with Ronee and Bjorn were filmed on the monorail, outside of McCaw Hall at Seattle Center and in the conservatory at Volunteer Park. The silhouette scene with Sebastian on violin and Amalia belly dancing was filmed near Marshall Park on Seattle’s Queen Ann Hill.