Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we had the opportunity to shoot a pair of music videos for the insanely talented band Ghostkeeper (or at least to start shooting them).
Though this is the first time I've directed a music video, I’ve worked on a few and I always find it to be a funny experience. The merging of music and film really brings out the differences in the two art forms. Nothing sheds light on the neuroses of a filmmaker like pairing them with a free-spirited musician.
Photos by Connor Couzens
Film requires so many moving parts; teams of different people with unique skills and experience and philosophies towards what they do. There is a systematic technicality that must be present on a film set, no matter how formless or dreamy the final product. I’m not saying there’s less technicality in making music (I’m really terrible at it, so I truly wouldn’t know). I just don’t think musicians often have to hire someone to figure out location permits or generators or lenses or costumes or bathrooms every time they write a song.
One of the biggest challenges on any film set is to strike a balance between being prepared and creating an environment that fosters improvisation, creativity and new ideas.
I've been hesitant about shooting a music video for a while. There's a lot of pressure in finding a way to complement the work of another artist while still making something that feels like your own.
What I’m getting at is I wouldn’t have done this with just anyone.
Sarah Houle and Shane Ghostkeeper of Ghostkeeper have quickly become frequent collaborators and friends. I am lucky to have found other artists who not only share our interest in experimentation but also a laid back approach to creation and collaboration. They created and performed the score for our last short film The Mother, which I am still absolutely floored by.
The music videos are for an upcoming release and each is inspired by the different landscapes that have shaped the band’s music and lives. Grassy Plains is an upbeat but mournful tune about longing and tradition on the rolling foothills. The Trees is a sweet but sardonic ballad about escaping this busy modern life inspired by the northern Peace River. My aim is to visually capture the independent spirit of Ghostkeeper and the earthy core of these songs.
To do this, I spent the day with our small, hard-working crew on the Lowry's (Sarah’s family) beautiful piece of land. Sarah rode a horse for the first time in over a decade, while we chased her around, dangling a camera out the back of a pickup truck. We found cool skulls, learned non-stop animal facts from Shane and Sarah’s son, experienced the true depth of Lowry hospitality and shared an amazing thanksgiving feast.
More often than not, my art and my life have me feeling as though I’m being pulled in a million different directions so there’s something indescribable about feeling like I am in the right place. It was fitting that we shot this over Thanksgiving because as we stood watching the sun dance across the horizon and spill over the mountains, my heart filled with so much gratitude.
I'm thankful to all those who have given a piece of themselves to my projects through their time, knowledge and creative spirit. I'm thankful to all those whose hard work, lessons and sacrifices have allowed me to chase this crazy dream of a life. I'm thankful to those whose stewardship of this land has preserved its magnificence so that we could capture it.
Special Thanks to our crew
To the Lowrys for their hospitality
And the biggest extra special thanks to
Justin Skrundz for always making everything look amazing