When Victoria reached out to me about creating a film, her thoughts were scattered and all over the place. There was so much she wanted to say and communicate. The common thread though was drive and passion for her music and the connection it has with others around her. Together we put together a script that reflected her message and resonated with not just her but her audience.
We mapped out locations that would enhance this story. From something simple to something a bit more complex. Scenes in the city were simple. Manhattan is easy to film. SO much going on. Put a woman in a red dress and film her amongst the chaos of the crowd and boom.. its beautiful. But it had to be done with intention.
Production and Filming
I wanted to showcase her musical talent not just with her singing but also with her piano playing. To keep it really focused on her, we cleared out her apartment and filmed just her and the piano. Also filmed a closely framed shot of her talking to once again keep the focus on her and her words and not be distracted by the location.
More complicated areas for filming were The Met and the French Embassy Center for the Arts. Let’s start with The Met. We had to get there before it opened. All we wanted was a shot of her walking up the iconic steps without a crowd. It had to show determination. You know New York is pretty much ALWAYS crowded. Luckily though we were there early enough before it got too busy but there was also this really dramatic shadow over the steps. It was so perfect and so powerful. Really… we got lucky.
The French Embassy Center for the Arts was the perfect canvas to paint this picture of Victoria singing opera. What made it hard was simply time. I wish we could have spent all day in there. We started with her singing the song all the way through, then singing it with a little more dramatic expression. Then just doing some emotional expression while the music was playing.
Filming in the City
As mentioned earlier, Manhattan is easy to film. There is just so much going on. Given that I had filmed Victoria singing and her voice over already, I went with my gut on what to film.
I really wanted to tie in music as being connected to everyone. So filming street performers and artists doing what they love and showing their passion.
Then simply filming the city being the city. I wanted to give a sense of where Victoria lives in a not so normal way Manhattan is shown.
I wanted to really make something unique here. As I started culling through footage, I realized I had too much content. Not the worst problem to have but still a problem.
The story tone I wanted to have a bit of tension. You see Victoria at the French Embassy and you hear her talking and you are just waiting to hear her sing. That tension and build up brings the viewer in. The music is a bit all over the place along with the chaotic feel of the city and still moments of Victoria and her calming voice.
Then, silence. She starts singing. The modern music intertwines with her singing and goes together uniting tradition with modern art. Pairing the song with her singing was difficult and a very very long task.
I wanted to go sort of old school and color with Film Convert. It has been a very long time since i’ve colored with it and I was pretty happy with it. RED footage is pretty flexible so you can really push the image.
Here are a few “stories” from my instagram as I was filming this project.