Can't get that damn song out of my head.
Ok. So last Thursday and Friday I stunt coordinated on the newest music video of a pop star. Since I know how much you guys love your sleuthing I won't tell you who. But I've already given you a HUGE clue and the more I tell you about the day, the less I'll be able to keep from you.
The first day was out in the desert. Soledad Canyon. It was 5:30 AM and the sun wasn't anywhere near up. Below is the first picture of the day when the sun was starting to rise. You can see the grip truck also in the picture. A couple of hours pass…nothing happens. I know she's here with her mother but they aren't filming. I walk over to set and see they are trying to filming everything they can without her in it. Since she is the star of the video and in practically every frame, there's not a lot that can be shot without her.
One of the things I'm there for is a fight scene between her and 3 stunt people. To keep things moving I offer to teach her Stand In the fight so we could shoot that without her. The director was excited about the option and had me do so. Her stand in was wonderful. Really sweet and grounded and a musician herself. She picked the fight right up, but as it turns out Pop Star (PS for short) was on her way to set. 3.5 hours after arriving.
Now set is a little like high school. So many rumors. The first one I heard was that PS refused to come out of her trailer for 3.5 hours. The second one I heard was the trailers weren't ready when PS and her team got there so that's why they were so late. The 3rd I heard was that the trailers were ready. Who knows. The only sure fact was that the day had just started and we were already 3.5 hours behind schedule. Because it was such an ambitious shooting schedule, that 3.5 hours is going to be tough to get back.
The producer and director are both very good at what they do, and have worked on a number of other huge videos. PS walks over the rock terrain with the help of her hair stylist on one arm and her mother on the other. At first I inwardly roll my eyes because she had someone on either arm helping her. Then I see the shoes she's wearing and I understand. They are really cool, bright orange docks but with heels, and not at all practical for this terrain.
Once on set she's really sweet. Open and friendly. And when I am showing her how to trip and fall she's all ears and excited to learn. She is not a diva. She is not a bitch. She's just never had to struggle for what she wanted like we have. Hell, I don't know if this is even what she wants. It might just be what her parents want.
The day continues. Banging out shots. I overhear her mother say to her “Are you sure you like how that jacket fits you?” Within 30 minutes of that comment, PS decides she hates her outfit and can't shoot anymore. Again not out of diva, but out of anxiety. Production is on hold for 2.5 more hours while they find a better outfit. It's cold out. There is a perpetual dust storm and she's the only one with a trailer. We were not happy. PS finally comes back to set in an AWESOME outfit, black and white dress with red tights. Looking great. Gets into place, starts to sing to the playback, and a gust of wind knocks over the sets. We have to wrap for the night.
The next morning we were at a sound stage. So much more comfortable. This was my big day. For stunts we have wire work with PS flying around a padded cell; the fight of her vs. 3 stunt people and 2 eight foot falls for 2 stunt people. I have John Dixon as my rigger. He's amazing. He just got off set with Indiana Jones VI (gave me a hat) and is Steve Martin's stunt double in Pink Panther 2.
I take the harness PS is going to wear to her dressing room and ask her to try it on. We put it on her. I leave to go check on the rigging and I hear them shouting my name. I go running back. PS is freaking out because it's too tight. She is having a panic attack and everyone is feeding into it.
I just walk up and say “What's wrong?” She's freaking out and says “I can't breathe”. I say “Oh, did you want to be conscious for this next scene?” She just looks at me, then says “yes.” I say “Oh. Then we can fix that right away. I clearly misunderstood”. She started to laugh. Instantly the panic went away.
I fixed her harness and we were good. We had no more panic moments after that. The thing is every time the director yelled cut, there were instantly 7 people around her. I figured out that one was her make-up, one was hair, one was her clothing stylist, one was her wardrobe, one was her mother and the other 2 I still don't know. Maybe their jobs were just to tell her how amazing she was.
She has one scene where she is crazy. She is in a straight jacket bouncing around a padded cell. She did a great job. After I walk up to her and say “Man, you really looked crazy,” one of those people added in quickly “But in a good way.”
The rest of the day went well. PS's boyfriend stopped by. He's also a famous musician. They were cute how much they liked each other. The falls got cut due to time but everything else went well. PS rocked the fight. It looked so good that after we shot it, the video guy put it on a loop so that it played over and over on all the monitors in the studio.
Pictures are below. PS isn't in any of them, but it's the sets from the video so you'll get a glimpse of them before you see the video!
A bunch of music label big wigs watching PS on the monitor.
The Art Department (who created some amazing sets for this video) setting up Freud's office.
These are the other performers in the vid. They are playing PS's family, news reporters, fans and paparazzi. Oh, and Dr Freud.
Her bed for a dream sequence. Not the clearest picture.
Another set on her video. Her parents are sitting to the left in the picture. Her dad actually makes a cameo in the video. I think he's the driving force of her career…and everyone else in her family.