For the pitch, I made this as a proof-of-concept:
After I got the greenlight, I considered sharing updates as I was making it. But as it got crazier and crazier, I got nervous the band might want to dial it back – so I I didn’t share anything until I had completed the entire video. And so in a lot of ways the video was as much of a shock to them as anyone else.
No restrictions on your imagination for sure, was this entirely an exercise in getting around the other restrictions in place?
I think so. More than anything, I was free to brainstorm the most unflattering, most unfilmable “pitch” I could think of. It wouldn’t be as funny if it was simply an animatic for an expensive (but legitimately awesome) music video. Thank God Duck Sauce gets the joke!
It’s easy to recall your earlier work with Duck Sauce, in particular the hilarious live-action Big Bad Wolf. So what were your initial conversations like with Duck Sauce? Were there any restraints at all?
There really were none. I was nervous someone in legal would freak out about the stock footage, the celebrities, or the torrented movies (or even the websites or software). The backup plan was that they would reject it, and I would release it myself, and they would claim it was an unauthorized pitch by a weirdo director they completely disowned.
How did you direct it – you surely didn’t do it all by yourself.
…but I did?
Just freeze-framing as much of the action as possible has taken all night, and actually that revealed a totally plausible storybook of subtitles. Did you write it specifically for Mesmerize or is this an adaptation?
No this is all new. I did previously write treatments involving CGI celebrities; and the asshole sequence was a figment of a concept that never went anywhere. And I’ve worked with stock footage and CGI characters before. So it’s a bit of a garbage bin of ideas.
Shutter Stock and Getty Images must have been gleeful over the promotional material?
Don’t forget pond5!
What was the most challenging part of creating the film?
Oddly enough, the wikipedia sequence was really challenging to direct. It took me several full attempts before I was able to put something together that was halfway coherent.
Creating the CGI heads for the band was tough too; I hadn’t worked in Maya in almost 10 years. But it was sort of fun to return to the post work I used back when I was starting out.
Are you going to take a break now, sit and breath, or are you already cracking on with the next project? What would that be?
I’m doing a mayonnaise commercial next!