I know I’ve been talking about this video for SO LONG! I’m sure many thought it wouldn’t happen (there was a little bit of time in there where I thought it might not happen…) but it is done, and I AM SO STUPID PROUD!
It was an incredible team effort, dating all the way back to when we recorded the song! No, before that, the Ghost Guitarist wrote “Olivia” YEARS ago! This song has been in progress for literal years and I just knew it was worth all the effort. That’s good, because my faith was tested many, many times. There were always incredible people helping me, though. Big props to Bill Snyder III, especially. He did a mix of “Olivia” that blew my mind when I heard it. He did it on good faith, as well, before he really knew the band. I’m gonna make sure that investment of time and effort on his part pays off.
My band, the amazing E’ville Experience (seriously, follow us on all the socials, I work hard to make those pages productive and pretty), recorded that entire song, LIVE in the studio! We nailed it on the 11th take, but it was a long day. That was back when we had Chris as our drummer (instead of our featured drummer, Genesis Valentine), and he did an awesome job, especially because he didn’t have a ton of studio experience at that point. None of us did.
I got that mix back from Bill and I KNEW I had to make a music video for this song. And not JUST a music video, a music video WORTHY of this song. It was basically an impossible task.
One of my best friends and FAVORITE photographers of all time, Jacqui June Whitlock (Follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here), had volunteered to make a music video for me. She’s incredibly talented, so I jumped on that offer as soon as I could. I also asked another close friend, Kristina “Starla” Islas, to be in the video. While I’m a solid chonk of a person, Starla is a wispy, ethereal beauty. I have very dark features and she has fair features. When she smiles, she looks so genuine. When I smile, I look sarcastic. It was the perfect dichotomy for this music video.
June had a few ideas for the video, I had a few ideas for the video, it was pretty loose. I just expected everything to come together. I had never made a music video of the scale I was imagining in my head, but I was still very confident. I shouldn’t have been.
The shoots went great, the footage was so high quality, I was sure we would have a video put together a couple of weeks later. June made me a promo video that BLEW MY MIND, and my expectations soared even higher. That’s when I noticed something… you see… we had done a lot of filming in a bed with a mirror next to it because it made for really pretty shots. But, well, that much bed and mirror footage starts to look like…
It wasn’t porn, obviously. Starla and I never grope each other or even kiss (SPOILER ALERT!). Still, it wasn’t clear why we were in the bed until the second verse. I talked to June a bit about it, and thought we could add one more shoot to cover the first verse. We had already done EXTENSIVE shoots, one at Soundwave Studios in Oakland in their Stage Room, and one at my apartment, for that bed/mirror scene (every time I type it I’m like, “Why didn’t you realize this would look like a porno?!”). I didn’t think of it at the time, but I was asking a lot of June. She wasn’t being paid for this, I just wanted the video to be the best it could possibly be and didn’t think about other people as I should have.
Leading up to this LAST video shoot, my band was rehearsing for a gig at the Milk Bar in SF. I, like an idiot, decided it would be a good idea to schedule a video shoot with June and the most people we had filmed with thus far AFTER my band had a rehearsal. OH, and June and I didn’t have time for a production meeting leading up to the shoot (something I refuse to skip again), so we weren’t on the same page.
AND THEN I GOT A FLAT TIRE ON THE WAY TO THE SHOOT
So, yeah, that did not go as well as I’d hoped. I asked June to get the shots a certain way, and I could tell she wasn’t enthused by the idea. I insisted, though, because I had an idea of how it would look that I was married to at that point. I was so frustrated at the end of that day.
The video shoot had been so awkward, I was hesitant to reach out to June again. I knew I was at fault for how things were coming together (or NOT coming together). I wasn’t giving this the energy it needed, I wasn’t thinking about the people helping me, I messed up in a few places.
When I finally did reach back out to June, she was nothing but gracious, promising me an edit by the end of the week. She was going back to school and didn’t have a ton of time, so it was taking a while to get it together.
When I did get the edit, it wasn’t what I had imagined. I was so flustered, because I knew June was busy, I knew I was asking for her to translate the images in MY HEAD, and that’s not fair. I asked if I could buy the footage and do the edit myself. I felt gross the entire time, because OF COURSE, ZERO DOUBT IN MY MIND, June is a better film editor than I am. I just had a very specific idea in my head and I wanted to make it happen.
I got the footage mid January, though June didn’t let me pay her (talented friends are the most amazing blessing in the world, find them and KEEP THEM!!!).
I finished editing yesterday. That’s over 3 months spent editing! The footage is incredible, and I did feel a great sense of accomplishment working on it. I got the feel and story told that I wanted. Seriously, though, there’s no way I should have expected someone to do that much work for free.
Never again. I pay artists that work with me, they deserve it. Editing jobs get brushed under the rug sometimes, but this work is crazy and important.
The video will be released May 10th at 10pm PDT and I would be honored if you would watch it