Monday, 29 March 2010

Shave my monkey, paint it blue, and let me grab my camcorder....

I have seen a load of pretty amazing video work lately, whereby the craft, and quality of visuals have been both innovative, and well executed. Recent offerings by the Black Eyed Peas (Meet Me Halfway), Lady GAGA (Bad Romance) and Jay-Z(On to the Next One), had very strong elements of high fashion shoots, and of interesting styling, set design, and computer graphics.

So what’s my point?

The reason why this is even worth mentioning, the decline in music sales in the last decade, meant a steady decrease in promotional budgets. This had a knock on effect on the budgets on music videos. Basically, budgets dropped, a lot, and the previous decadent, innovative and lavish music videos, with a cast of thousands of shaved monkeys painted blue, eating 24 carat gold bananas is sadly, no more.

The high concept video seemed to go out the video, and suddenly videos shot infront of a white or black screen, with an eye on small Screen Youtube hit numbers, and not the ‘wow’ factor of television, became the boring norm. The whole art of video making declined till the point where you have shoddily filmed, and lit low budget video’s like Pitbull-I Know You Want Me getting 112million hits.

Knowing that Kelis is about to drop an album, was exciting enough, but then she went ahead and dropped this video, and some of my lost faith in humanity was restored.

This is an amazing looking piece of art, it includes stunning lighting, and visuals, imaginative set design, and some beautiful make up, and is about to put a seismic dent in the game!

Where Kelis goes, others are bound to follow, and between her and GAGA, there are about to start being some amazing looking videos, and songs dropping from other female artists in the near future.

Good fucking show!!

Low budget film making is a tricky field do do well in.

I'm not necessarily talking about being successful in the field, with the right branding, a low budget film can potentially do very well at the box office. However, doing well in terms of making a great film, with little-to-no money for good camera equipment, and professional actors, also good locations can be a nightmare, and ultimately lead to a poorly shot, acted and executed film.

I'm always blown away therefore, when one is not only well acted, written and effectively shot, but it also so emotionally charged, that in can bring a tear to my eye.

Watching 'Chop Shop' is like getting kicked in the stomach by reality, it's both uplifting to the soul, and heartbreaking in equal measure, and honestly made me want to blub like a baby.

Alejandro is a Latino orphan in New York city who is precariously balanced on the thin line of legal, and illegal on his mission to hustle P's, survive, and to look after his older sister Isamar. This kid has brass balls, is both very tough, and street smart and the film focuses on his struggle to set him, and his sister up with a small business, which will mean they don't have to swim in the sewer-like streets of NYC. He struggles to keep his sister on the straight and narrow, a roof over their heads, and through the difficult transition from boyhood into manhood.

The film fills you with a sense of pride for the kid, even the most desperate steps Alle is forced to take, your there with him, willing him to succeed, and to get away without getting arrested.

This film is well shot, beautifully acted by a non-professional cast on location, for a breathtakingly low budget, and although it's been out for a few years now (it was released in 2008), it's well worth copping a copy from, or downloading it.

I personally found it a couple of years back on one of those film streaming websites, but thought it to be such an amazing film, that I ordered a copy of the DVD.

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