Thursday, December 08, 2005

Our first visit from the Mystery Artist

The photo here will represent our Mystery Artist - but rest assured the person in this story was not Elvis. Today, MA is a male - but next time it could be a female or even a group. Like the Hero With a Thousand Faces, MA is everywhere.

Back in the late 90s we were working on a concept for a video starring a big-time rapper who was also doing a lot of acting. This was one of the times where the artist had specific wants and the label said we were to help him conceptualize it however he wanted. Anyway, MA wanted the video to be about his journey home from LA to his native NYC to see his wife.

In and of itself this was not necessarily a bad idea,in my opinion, the song was relatively romantic so it seemed to fit. The deal was that MA wanted the journey to be about how he returned home with his car - a high-end Mercedes S600. Okay, you might be thinking, a cross country driving video, right?

No. MA wanted his precious car to be transported by every way other than driving. The video was supposed to star out with the Benzo in the back of a truck, which breaks down and then car ends up inside a freight train car and then is on a boat across the water into NYC where, then and only then, he drives it off the boat to go see his wife.

Okay, that seems a bit elaborate, but MA is paying after all. No one at the label wanted us to talk budgetary concerns with MA so as he would not be offended. We went ahead with this concept - writing the treatment and working out a budget with a multiple day shoot all across the country, renting an S600 and the details of shooting on a moving train, etc. The job has not been awarded yet, and no one has received any money, we are just working on this to see how much it would cost. But the whole time, no one can question the all-mighty MA about the possible expense of the idea so we keep going forward.

The label finally asks us to tell them (not MA) what the cost would be for this cross country jaunt and we come up with a budget over $1 million. The label understandably declines. They finally confront MA about this ridiculous idea and tell him it's not happening. At this moment MA reveals that he doesn't just want us to use any old rented S600 (renting picture cars is standard in videos) MA wants us to use his S600 - AND it is currently wrecked and the production needs to pay to have the pricey bodywork done before the shoot.

The label finally grasped how money-grubbing nuts MA was being and they suddenly stopped calling us. The job that had been a huge priority just up and disappeared. As far as I know, a video was never made for that song.

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