By Shane Nelson
The process of making a music video is always a crazy ride... but as you may guess from the image below, this video was particularly insane.
It all started when my long-time friend Dan Huiting reached out in mid December with a unique opportunity to possibly destroy a school as part of a music video. Dan's friend choreographer John Mark was involved with the Hopkins School Of Performing Arts and they had just purchased a new school and were planning a big renovation. Seemed like an awesome opportunity and I happily attached to the speculative project saying "..Even if we don't end up making a music video we should just go smash some stuff!". Dan agreed.
(Story continued below the video)
Dan mentioned on another shoot we were doing that The New Pornographers were interested in his treatment and the wheels were in motion. A few weeks later, I got a sudden burst of texts from Dan saying that the shoot (which I thought was about 2 weeks out) had to be moved up because the school had changed the demolition day. The band was ready to pull the trigger but I couldn't respond right away because I was recording my Junkshow Cinema Podcast, but at about midnight, I texted back saying unfortunately I was already booked on an edit that Monday & likely Tuesday, but we quickly tried to figure out how Dan could still pull it off in the next 48 hours. I reached out to a ton of other producers and no one was available. About 2pm the next day I did my conference call for my other project and found out an early edit we had just submitted was approved... (which almost never happens). I quickly called Dan back and jumped back on the crazy train to Yorkville Sr. High School.
We had a ton of stuff to figure out and went to work on the master checklist of all the tasks and delegated everything. Thanks to our awesome collaberators, less than 24 hours later we were shooting. Everything was going along pretty smooth, but suddenly on the 1st night Dan started feeling sick. Several days of non-stop work and sleepless nights had taken it's toll and I ended up taking over the directing role, so so he could get some much needed rest. Dan had developed a detailed shot-list and we all went to work picking off shots and smashing up the science room. We were pretty far behind on the schedule so we decided to break off into 3 units so we could get catch up. The talent John Mark had cast were really fantastic and patient while we did take after take.
The next day Dan returned refreshed and we kept shooting in 3 different units. We knew we had to get caught up on our shooting schedule before the fire sequences with Brian Denny's stunt and fire team. We had created a process of "safe zones" so no one would get hurt or hit with any debris but still had some actors and crew slip and were fortunate no one got hurt. Later, during the sink smash our amazing Wardrobe Stylist Jessica Zerby (who was also cast to play one of the "Smoking Girls", was hit with a chunk of the sink while smashing it. My heart leapt into my mouth... but our awesome cinematographer TJ Schwingle quickly made sure she was ok, and thankfully she was! When things like this happen, I always feel really bad. I have had people get hurt while filming for our action sports movies and we always want to make it as safe as possible, but there are always risks when dealing with sports, stunts and of course fire. I felt like I was holding my breath though this entire shoot. The last 2 scenes with all the fire went off without a hitch thanks to the actors, John Mark and our safety and fire teams led by Harry Reynolds! I let out a huge sigh of relief when all the fires were finally out. All that was left to do now was clean up the 700 gallons of debris and silage we left in our wake. We know the number because we filled up an entire 660 Gallon Bagster.
Super proud of how this turned out, especially under the unique circumstances. Thanks to Dan for forging ahead in the face of adversity and pulling the trigger on such a short turn time. Thanks to the band for taking a chance on a once in a lifetime opportunity and thanks to all the amazing crew and talent listed in the youtube credits. We have a fun Behind The Scenes video coming out with more on this soon. Super happy I was able to re-attach and make something so epic with my friends!
Update: Watch the Behind the scenes video!