Friday, May 25, 2007

Shweddy Balls

The drummer from Semisonic, Jacob Slichter, wrote a pretty cool book about his life as a “sort of” rock star. He has a self-depreciating wit and the kind of insiders perspective that I enjoy.

Slichter did a five minute piece for NPR on his band going through the process of making a video. The clip was from the 2001 movie “Summer Catch” starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and the pre-workout, pre-Jeter Jessica Biel. Check out the NPR piece, it is – like most things NPR – gently humorous.

It also made me think of a few things:

1. Remember soundtrack videos. Remember? They may never come this way again.

2. Wardrobe expenditures are crazy. The amount of money spent on clothes is nuts. On some clips (Christina Aguilera, Manson) the specific wardrobe is key but on a Semisonic clip? You know the $600 belt buckle ended up in the stylist’s private collection or she “returned” it for a bit of cash.

3. No one saw the video. When you meld properties – a movie, a soundtrack CD and a video – you magnify the potential reward AND the downside. In the glory days of soundtracks, the rising tide of synergy raised all boats. But if even one of the pieces goes wrong, it can damage all of them. Three helium balloons tied together help the whole float high, replace just one balloon with an anvil – and the two balloons are now decorations for the relentlessly earth-bound hunk of steel. Anvil, thy name is Freddie.

4. The silliness of the language in treatments and pitches is truly stunning. Slichter is right to be annoyed that he had to read the same buzz words over and over again – but he wasn’t in the meeting where the label people repeatedly jabbered those buzz words like Tourette’s ridden parrots to the directors and production cos which led to them being regurgitated right back to the label/band in the director’s concept. Aah, creativity.

5. Chris Applebaum has a funny voice.

The ‘other’ side of the process is always fascinating.

Please forward along a link to the video for Semisonics “Over My Head” if you find it. I had no luck.

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