Avatar
Official Artist
Vienna Teng
Composer , Musician , Singer
169,281 views| 32  Posts

a video for Gravity (or, “reasons why I love a life in music”)

Yes, it’s true—I’m finally going to have a video for an album trackFat Monster Films picked the song several months ago, developed the concept and shot half the footage before approaching me about being in it. A bit of a gamble, but it was a brilliant move; as soon as I saw their 30-second rough edit, I knew I had to be involved. They warned me that they were a small operation, so the shoot wouldn’t be a swanky affair, not much in the way of personal trailers or private hotel suites. Perfect, I said. Not-swanky is how I roll.I didn’t anticipate, however, that the weekend would turn out to be one of the best I’ve had in recent memory. And that’s saying a lot. The video shoot was a distillation of everything I’ve come to love about this life: the way music serves as a passport into worlds I’d never have access to otherwise, the warmth and communal spirit I encounter everywhere I go. From my Thursday night arrival on the island until I left for the ferry on Sunday, the whole thing felt like a celebration of all that’s good in human nature: creativity, generosity, assiduousness, wonder.****Dean Petrich greeted our arrival with an hour-long tour of his entire home, complete with trapdoors and secret tunnels, rooftop ladders, hot tubs and grotto pools. Over the next few days we’d chuckle at his nonchalant delivery for outlandish stories: “I’ve had parties with a couple hundred people sleeping here…” “When I started riding unicycles…” “Oh, here’s where we had the naked pie fight on my birthday…” But Dean’s life is as much hard work as it is whimsy: between piano moving and tuning, professional clowning, and several businesses selling eco-friendly products, he’s constantly on the phone and hopping in the truck. “I work for myself, and it keeps me very busy,” he said, matter-of-fact as always. “My calendar has days that I’ve marked as days off, and on those days I play.” I stand in awe of his endless supply of energy, his determination to create a good life on his own terms. The good men of Fat Monster Films, for their part, were the very epitome of teamwork and dedication. There was Scott Bullis, who wrangled heavy equipment and cooked scrumptious meals for twelve with equal aplomb; Steven Dempsey, the quiet artist behind the HD camera, beautifully fluent in lenses and lighting; Tim Hyten, the youngest of everyone and a preternaturally assured director, always ready to throw out storyboards in favor of happy accidents; actor Norm Sanders, a filmmaker himself, wisecracking between takes and subtly intense on camera; and Mark Johnson, the producer who coordinated the whole circus, and a former English major who quizzed me continuously on GRE words. (Now I know exactly what unctuous, sanguinary and truculence mean.)Colette Francel, Sandra Thomas and Allison Lux of Studio A accepted their last-minute assignments with grace and good humor, proving that a salon in south Whidbey can rival the best of L.A. or New York when it comes to hair & makeup for video shoots. How they got me to look pretty much exactly the same three days in a row is beyond me. And chatting with Colette on Sunday morning (at 8 a.m. on her day off), when she told me stories from her childhood, I was reminded vividly of how little we know of each others’ lives, how much courage might be tucked beneath the surface of the people you meet.Good souls kept appearing, almost by the hour. First there was Bob, the owner of the house at the end of the private road we needed, who not only gave us permission to come on his property but then lent power outlets, hex wrenches and photographic documentation besides. Dean’s friend Sharon appeared not long after and became the de facto P.A. for Friday afternoon, then cooked us all dinner after the shoot wrapped on Sunday. Tech nonprofit manager (and avid marathoner) Patrick Shaw, who replied to an email I sent to the Seattle list, showed up on Saturday and seemed quite happy fetching hair combs and windbreakers all day long.Special thanks also to Stacey Rayburn, the L.A. wardrobe stylist/designer who rustled up the dress and made the gloves in five days without ever meeting me in person, working from a hastily procured set of measurements; Stephanie June Johnson, Norm’s makeup artist; Jesse Wendel of the Group News Blog, for photos and a nice big umbrella; and all the kids who hung out with us over the weekend, especially Helen and Fiona, who play a mean game of Sardines.More coverage at the Fat Monster blog, Patrick’s blog and the DVX Forums.Please visit the scrapbook to see the pictures.

almost 12 years ago 0 likes  0 comment  0 shares

About

That's me in the middle of the Venn Diagram. http://viennateng.com/

Learn More

Location (City, Country)
Detroit
Member Since
April 30, 2007