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28th June 2013
I’m not through
Title of film: Ok Go - I'm not through
Director: Nelson de Castro
Unsigned Nelson de Castro's first film since graduating picked up the Ok Go Saatchi music video award. 1.4 talks with the new director about making one-take magic on a teeny budget

When we googled your unusual name Nelson de Castro it came up with an American comic book artist. Not you? What have you been up to then – until winning the Ok Go music video award at the Saatchi New Directors?

That’s funny, I was actually a big fan of that other Nelson de Castro when I was growing up. I wrote to him once and he sent me some signed art!

Before the contest I worked in a few TV art departments, and did some documentary work. I devote a lot of my spare time to developing and testing ideas, but this is the first project I’ve directed since graduating college.

The idea is sublimely in keeping with Ok Go’s heritage of one-take choreographed music videos. The lead is never out of frame – are there really no cuts? How many takes did it take to get the final film?

Thanks, we were definitely conscious of that OK Go feel. It was all one take, and we ended up with fourteen to choose from. We actually shot the video outside, so once we had the choreography worked out, we ran off as many takes as possible before we ran out of light!

How did you work the timings out with the choreographed routines and the music?

I did a very detailed breakdown of the song, based on our storyboards and prop list. It was basically a second-by-second list, assigning props and actions to each of our 10 performers. When it came time to rehearse and shoot, we finessed a lot of those assignments. It was an amazing group effort, and a fun challenge to figure out the most efficient approach.

How and where did you find the lead? What was the criteria you were looking for? Did the potential cast have to jump through hoops at the audition?

The schedule was so tight that we didn’t have time for an audition. We struggled a lot finding our lead, and Edwin Eversole, a fellow director from USC Film School, came through for us at the last minute. We were looking for an unassuming, normal guy to balance the absurdity of his surroundings, and Edwin was a good fit.

Did anything seriously go wrong throughout the production and, if so, how did you resolve the problem?

One interesting problem we came across was poor visibility when wearing the green suits. This vision issue was exacerbated by the tightness of the masks, which sat uncomfortably close to the performers’ eyes. If you look closely, you’ll notice several actors are wearing glasses underneath their masks for protection. I thought that was a nice solution that added a funny aesthetic detail.

Did you produce the music video independently or were you with a production company?

This was an independent production, completely self-funded for about 800 dollars.

What part of the film making process did you like the most and why?

For this project, I really enjoyed the writing process. There’s nothing like the excitement of a new idea, and our basic premise allowed for lots of inventiveness. It was fun to play with green screen in ways I hadn’t seen before.

What are you working on now? And do you have any more wonderful ideas on your hard drive that you’d like to develop?

Nothing in production at the moment. I do have several ideas I’m very excited about, all in various stages of development. Looking forward to getting them out there.

Are you signed to a production company?

I’m currently unsigned but eager to find a partnership that would help get my projects into production and paired with other exciting musical artists.

Scroll through Related Content to see previs and production stills
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Director: Nelson de Castro
Producer: Jonathan Ahdout
AD: Michael Coursey
VFX Supervisor: Greg Thaler
VFX: Jackie Chang, Yuta Okamura
Post Supervisor: Dan Chen
Prop Master: Michael Englender
Art Asst: Alex Mosley
Production Asst: Cory Sanford
Choreography Consultant: Tyler Critelli
Edwin Eversole (Lead)
Kadhja Bonet
Jackie Chang
Dan Chen
Jeff Cohn
Justin Feldman
Daniel Fissmer
Tyler Garnett
Luke Kraman
Phyllis Sun