In preparation for creating a video for the title track of my new CD Here Right Now, I practiced playing and singing along with the audio track. I wanted it to look like an organic performance. I tried on clothes. I bought a pair of funky leggings that I thought would look good with my tight black skirt. I considered wearing boots with heels. (I always wear flats.) I gathered images that I believed served the song. I even packed a hand puppet. I didn’t know if he would make the cut, but I could imagine it...
As soon as I stepped out of my car, Marc greeted me – literally had not closed my car door yet – and he asked how long I needed to get ready, because the light was perfect and he didn’t know how long it would last. I wasn’t planning on shooting at all that day. It was late in the afternoon, I had been driving for hours, and that night was supposed to be about preproduction. I had packed several clothing choices and was hoping I could wake up the next morning and create a better hair day. But I thought, why not? Let’s play!
None of my carefully planned outfits worked, due to their colors, and the unexpected use of a “green screen.” Marc said my traveling clothes were fine – my baggy favorite black shirt and a pair of dark jeans, so I put on some lipstick and eyeliner, strapped on a red electric guitar, and had some rock and roll fun! The sun was bright in my eyes, so we did a few takes with sunglasses – I am still not sure if they were Marc’s or his wife Nancy’s.
It unexpectedly rained the whole next day – the day we were going to shoot in Woodstock. If we had not done the green screen work the night before, we would have been shooting in the rain, or would have had to rethink indoor sets. It was as if the stars were aligning to support us.
I wasn’t happy with some of how I looked in the shots we had. In trying to rectify that, and appease my vanity, Marc found an effect that we both fell in love with. A problem had led to magic.
The lesson was to push through the discomfort and dissonance to a place that was creatively satisfying. To always say it when I had a strong feeling about something, for better or worse, and to trust that it would come together in the end. I also had to trust Marc’s process, which I do. I think he is creatively brilliant, and I am grateful to work with him. We kept trying things until we “found the butter” that cooked it all together in a tasty way.
Sometimes, I have to scrap a creative process and start again. There were many songs that didn’t make it onto the CD, and others that were recorded more than once to get it to the place that felt right. I am still learning when to push through to the magic, and when to start from scratch. I am learning more and more to trust my instincts and to get out of the way.
We couldn’t have planned it the way it turned out, and it is great. The use of the green screen meant that we could put anything behind me in the video, which was intimidating at first. It was like the menu at Gullifty’s – too many options! I had brought some things from home that I knew I wanted included. We used them and brainstormed the rest. We ended up using some unexpected effects and images, and the result tells the story of the song. (I am even tastefully naked in a bathtub for a couple seconds.)
I need to remember that unexpected roadblocks can lead to places beyond my imagination. Note to self: Have a plan, be prepared, move forward, and get out of the way.