The video I made for “Wait of The World” is not really the video I wanted to make.
There, I said it.
What a way to begin a story, right?
A long time ago, way way back in – I think – 2019, the idea I had behind this was to make a complete Knight Rider-themed spoof. I basically wanted to re-create the title sequence and make it a little bit longer to fit the length of the song.
But instead of a really sleek car, I was going to doll-up my Hyundai Elantra (complete with an actual red scanner LED bar – which I went as far as purchasing) and instead of a really dangerous, dark mission, I was going to basically make the whole thing be about the adventures I went on with my car on the way to picking my kids up from school.
Essentially, I was going to continue the through line of this idea of balance – reality vs dreams, or responsibilities and obligations vs chasing after passions.
Sidebar: This is why one of the clues in the “Wait of The World” treasure hunt is Knight Rider themed.
Honestly, I still love the idea and if I get a chance to, I’m absolutely going to make it. Cross your fingers.
Unfortunately, what with time, availability, and this little pandemic thing we’re going through, putting something together that would have been fairly elaborate (even if we could have shot it in one weekend – which I think we could have) was just going to be too difficult.
Double-unfortunately… I didn’t realize this until we were about a week out from the video’s release.
Naturally, and much like I did with “The Art of Tactful Procrastination“‘s video… I got a bit panicky. I had no idea what I was going to do or if I would even have the time I needed to do it.
All I knew was that – based on the time I had available and when the video would be due – whatever I did had to be one or two shots (preferably something that could go from beginning to end without a cut) and would have to still convey something about time, or could even imply something of the intended double-meaning of “weight” and “wait” in the song’s title.
I enlisted my wife to help me come up with some ideas. And, to her credit, she came up with some good ones right off the bat.
One was a split-screen that I could do in one take, where one half of the screen would be the lower half of my body – perhaps even just my feet – while one would be the top half. The concept was based around things that could “weigh” me down – again, family responsibilities and obligations… life in general etc – and get in the way of my ability to reach my dream goals. I thought about flipping the screens so that my feet were on the top and my head on the bottom, somehow conveying that I was weighing myself down with these things and getting in my own way. While the initial concept was good, we couldn’t really figure out what to present that would get the point across as it was all a little too abstract. So we shelved this idea.
I had an idea whereby I would be sitting in a nice chair, in a robe, by a fireplace, reading a book that contained the lyrics from the song… as if I was reading a bed time story or hosting Masterpiece Theater. That one didn’t get far – all it took was a look from my wife and it got bagged. She was right – it wouldn’t have worked.
I thought of doing a two-piece, where I would film me performing/singing the song to the camera, and then in a second setup, project that performance on a background while intermittently popping up in front of it to perform/sing another set of words… like there was a dual personality thing going on. But I couldn’t really figure out how to make that one work for three-and-a-half minutes, so we scrapped that too.
Among the many concepts my wife came up with, one involved a series of images or clips conveying regular life things – either home movies or royalty-free clips… something that would give off a sense of – again – responsibility and obligation. The things that get in the way of your dreams. These clips and images would be interrupted by me in my hooded Façade get-up, singing parts of the song that really felt the most sinister, and having those cuts come through like interruptions in the satellite signal. I suggested to my wife that I felt this was already done with a lot of what U2 did on ZooTV in the early 90s, but she insisted it wasn’t really supposed to be like switching channels, it was supposed to be like you’re trying to watch one thing but this other “demonic” signal keeps breaking through.
I liked this, and filming it wouldn’t be hard. I could do two or three takes of me singing into the camera (so that there would be enough to cut apart and break up) and I already had a ton of home movies of our kids etc. I decided, then, that this was the concept.
That night, and in record time, I filmed the performance pieces – the “demonic” interruptions that would cut into the shots.
The next day, I started gathering a whole bunch of our home clips.
The day after that, I started cutting them all together.
And found it didn’t work.
The reason it didn’t work was that – at least to me – there was nothing in the home videos I was presenting that conveyed responsibility and obligation… they were just home videos. They didn’t say enough about “real life”, and they didn’t really dig into the things that the singer actually wanted – success, more or less.
I panicked (again) and scrapped the home video sequence.
But this meant I still had plenty of gaping holes left in the video. I needed to fill them with something.
I liked the idea of the juxtaposition of two frames of mind. I thought that having my “demonic” self interrupt something was the right way to go, but what would that something be?
Running out of time and having to think of something fast, I considered the feel of the song – it’s very synth pop or synth wave. The original idea was to do something very Knight Rider. But as I wasn’t going to go that specific direction, I needed to do something else with cars, or maybe even with 80s imagery.
So I got on Pixabay and started grabbing as many 80s-looking visuals as I could.
Then I looked for weird things that maybe looked sinister or evil, and I found and downloaded plenty of those too.
Once I had all of that in front of me, I decided that perhaps what the video could be – from a visual standpoint – was a desperate attempt to lock oneself into something nostalgic. Sort of wishing for long-ago, better, more innocent times. Those “times” would fit best with the music (much like “Wait of The World” itself is a bright, dancy song that hides a sneaking sinister message and voice) while the sinister stuff would try and break through – not unlike the last concept my wife and I settled on.
Only, instead of these interruptions coming from a break in the signal – satellite or otherwise – I felt it made more sense for them to come through as if we were watching a ruined VHS. I felt that furthered the idea of nostalgia and it fit really well with that 80s sound that is synonymous with the song.
Satisfied with that concept, I spent two nights putting the whole thing together.
And, while it’s not the video I had really wanted to make, I’m still rather proud of it.
Yes, it still feels a bit like what I was doing in “The Art of Tactful Procrastination”, and in some ways I don’t know if it sets itself apart from it enough… but at the end of the day I was able to get something together last minute, and it wasn’t crap. So I’m happy about that.
As I’ve learned over the years, I can’t let “great” be the enemy of “good”.
Plus I’ve found that I tend to really work well in the clutch. When I’ve got no time left and I’m forced to come up with something and get it done, more often than not I can do it.
Though… I admit had I just done the thing to begin with I wouldn’t have gotten myself into this mess.
That said, I was able to see when I didn’t have much time left, and had virtually no concept to work from. I realized that if I was going to get something done (and I had to – that’s the job) I had to get logical, practical and pragmatic. I had to acknowledge that time was a fast-dwindling resource, meaning that no matter what I did next, it had to fit within the limitations I was now presented with.
That’s why I looked for concepts that would be one, maybe two takes. It wasn’t just because I wanted to film things quickly, it’s because fewer takes also meant fewer cuts, and therefore less editing. (The absolute final cut didn’t go the route of little editing, but that was the intention).
With that in mind, the next time you find yourself with very little time, very few other resources, and virtually no concept or plan to work from – don’t give up! Think logically, practically and pragmatically. How can you create something with the resources you have at your disposal and still make it all work? I guarantee you if really think about that time factor and don’t let yourself get carried away by something overly creative and elaborate (something that probably would have been really good with more time) you’ll come up with something, and you’ll get the task done.
No, it may not be the best thing you could have ever done. But, look, this is how creativity and logistics work together sometimes. In the end, finding yourself in these situations and not giving up on them is how you train yourself to do amazing things later down the line.
That, in the end, may very well be the real “Wait of The World”.