(AND VIDEOS THAT ARE MUSICAL)
The Ramona Flowers "Strangers"
Goal: Take a classic film and re-edit it into a completely new story. The result...
"Planet of the Apes Party Fun Time"
After working with the Far East Movement on a few shoots for MTV, including a "live performance" music video of their song Go Ape, I came up with this concept where they'd be performing on the Planet of the Apes, comped into footage from the original film. While that music video never happened, I still couldn't get the idea out of my head so I decided to experiment with the concept anyway. The new idea was simply to see if I could re-edit the film into something new and fun and fully of awesomeness. Many hours later after combing through the film an insane amount of times, after experimenting with different techniques to "remix" the moments, as well as teaming up with the talented graphics artists Brian Walsh and Maryam Parwana to insert things like the glowsticks and discoballs and shiny discopants, the final result is what you see here. We had a big launch party for this two minute video with wine, cheese, and bananas.
Goal: I'm not really sure what the goal was. The result...
(Director, Cinematographer, VFX)
My hand, on other people's bodies, doing musical and dancey type of stuff. Here's one clip. More can be seen on www.thumbjaw.com.
Goal: While on vacation in Thailand, make a short film with minimal resources. The result...
Moby "Saints" (Official Music Video)
(Director, Cinematographer, Editor)
For an upcoming family trip to Thailand, I decided to come up with a small short film to create during this journey, eventually it all came together with the track "Saints" by Moby, and he released it as his official music video.
I nearly froze all of my toes and fingers off in New York, and then got to make a complete fool of myself while doing the water scenes in Thailand. Seeing a grown man in mask and snorkel in only 2 feet of water, GoPro on a stick in one hand, soggy wet rat in the other, while flopping around frantically, probably isn’t what the beach goers on vacation were expecting when they woke up that morning. I noticed they did their best to keep their children (and pets) away.
And for the trash can scene at the end (filmed with a prop trash can with “clean” garbage inside), people couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let them throw away THEIR waste in MY trash. Again, adding the rat puppet into the mix didn’t help either.
Straight No Chaser "That's What I Like" (Official Music Video)
My good friends Clayton Cogswell and Noel Carroll over at Good Cops Entertainment approached me with this project for Atlantic Records. They had an approved concept but a conflicting schedule, so I got to come in and execute. It was a fun challenge to take someone else's vision for a music video and bring it to life. We also had only five days from the moment it was green lit to the day of the shoot, so one of the solutions was to film everything at the New York Atlantic Records offices. This included turning the main conference room into a performance space. So if you've been there, these locations might look quite familiar to you!
Goal: Musical body parts! Boombox Man! He's alive! The result...
Scion A/V Presents: Zombie Nation "Level" (Official Music Video)
Scion A/V came to me for their sponsored music video project after seeing a clip I did for RJD2. For quite awhile I had the idea of a belly boombox man bopping around town while blasting his music, so I finally got to put that into action with this video.
We went through a series of tests to figure out if it should be done practically or with CG, and in the end went with practical (with a sprinkle here and there of post production to make the speaker move). When there is a visual element that is at the very center of the story, it's great to actually see and feel that on set, rather than just imagine it with tracking marks on someone's body. It came in very handy when we walked around the East Village looking for dancing partners, as people could immediately "get it" and join in.
Goal: Rethink an old fashion video concept into a music video. The result...
Homeboy Sandman "The Carpenter" (Official Music Video)
When I was working with United Colors of Benetton, I would create videos that would air in their stores. My concepts usually involved dancers or at least movement and quirky effects and looks. I originally had this idea for a fashion shoot, but when it wasn’t used for that I got to apply it a few years later. The effect was actually quite simple and straight forward (something I did very basically in Final Cut for post). First the artist fell over, then the cameraman fell over in the same direction, and then I picked them both up together in post.
Goal: Experiment with some in-camera bokeh puppet techniques. The result...
Gramatik "Solidified" (Official Music Video)
I stumbled upon the technique used in this video while directing another music video. It’s one of my favorites because it’s what I like best about experimenting with video. The first project involved filming b-roll of New York through little plastic baggies. It added this foggy look to everything, but still had a very organic feel that was different from the effect we would have achieved in post. At one moment when we were racked out of focus, the edge of the bag crossed the lens. The hard shape from the zip lock created a silhouette, but it ended up in every single “bokeh” of light. It was like it was projected out to each circle of light.
The DP and I sort of just stood there for a moment and went “whoaaaa, did you see… whoaaaaaa.” After doing more research, I found that others were using similar effects and that there were some kits to help create this, so we built upon this idea and made little paper puppets that had hinges and moved. The effect made it look like these little monsters were invading the city lights. So from there, the story took shape and we had our goblin invasion.
Goal: Make my wife happy by filming a music video for her latest single. The result...
Violette "All My Life" (Official Music Video)
(Director, Cinematographer, Editor)
We wanted to create a love story with puppets, and tried to figure out many ways to make this happen on a limited budget. The biggest difficulty was going to be with the "locations." It'd be too costly/time consuming for us to build these mini worlds. Close friend and collaborator Parin Sarasin brought up the idea of filming in front of our TV. Rear projection!
I'd walk around the neighborhood looking for locations for our script, like the pizza place, coffee shop, and park (didn't make the cut). I'd ask if I could film the location for about 10 minutes, then we'd come back and loop that footage onto the TV. I also did this during a trip to Paris (we filmed this slowly over a month, scene by scene when we would have time).
In front of the TV, we constructed foreground elements to match the backgrounds and simply filmed. When we had a scene that I couldn't find a background for, we'd purchase a stock photo or video clip and play that.
Goal: These dance shorts are like a jam session. Invite out a dancer, grab a camera, take a couple of minutes to figure out a concept, and then shoot it. Here's a couple of recent ones...
"Waiting for the Bus"
DP: Evan Jake Cohen, Featuring: Reggie Talley
(Director, Cinematographer, Editor)
Featuring: Reggie Talley, Music By: Dan Govier