filmmaker

Blog

I really don’t consider myself a writer.

2018 In Review (Part 1: Music Video)

How is it almost 2019.

Hope’s self-titled EP

Hope’s self-titled EP

I’m assuming if you’re reading this you already know who I am and if you don’t, hop over to the about section and read that brief paragraph. I’ve never considered myself a writer, but I do enjoy getting these thoughts out of my head in the hopes that it resonates with someone or it proves helpful to other creatives.

2018 for me was an interesting year. It started out great. I had just come off a really successful wedding season from 2017 where I admittedly, earned a lot of money, and bought a lot of gear. So I was eager to put it to good use towards a new project. Up until this point the only, truly creative piece I had worked on was a short film called Let’s Pretend II in high school. I was ready for something new, as I had learned so much throughout the past three years. One of the things I had been itching to do for a while was a music video. So far I hadn’t met an artist I was comfortable working with, or a story that I felt fit my style.

An artist named Hope Waidley first caught my attention back in high school after we ended up following each other on twitter from one of those #TrackNation follow trains. She would periodically release music, and every now and then there would be a song that I would listen to and be like, “Dang, ok. I could make a music video for this.” A few years later, around October of 2017, she had released an EP and the music was all over my timeline, and I was surprised with how good a coupe of the tracks were. The music was refreshing and sounded like work from a veteran singer.

 
Still frame from the film of Hannah, the main character, looking through old photos.

Still frame from the film of Hannah, the main character, looking through old photos.

One morning I remember before class, I decided to listen to one of the songs from the EP again, Temporary Lover, mostly because the beat had caught my attention. I remember listening to that song maybe 4 or 5 times that morning, and at some point the beat started to really fade away, and I was left with this really deep story, a story I resonated with. I kept thinking and thinking, and all of a sudden the visuals started to flow through my head and I imagined how this story would play out on screen.

I stopped myself, thought, there’s no way in the world this can happen. I don’t even know who this person is. I don’t know where they live. They’re gonna think I’m a creep lol. I don’t even think I’m that good enough to pull something like this off. So I let it rest, and moved on with the day. A couple days later I sent her a message asking to do a music video for the song and in April 2018, the project was finished. 

The “goodbye” shot, as Grayson, the love interest must move away because of school.

The “goodbye” shot, as Grayson, the love interest must move away because of school.

This project was monumental for me for a couple of reasons. One, it was the first project since senior year of high school where I had assembled a team of people to help me see a film through. And second, although I very much felt I wasn’t ready for something of this scale, I forced myself to do it anyway and got out of my comfort zone. I think that’s what I gained most out of this experience. If I wait for everything to fall into place before I embark on a project, I’ll never do it. It’s about adapting and using the resources you have. 

A brief moment of serenity between the two.

A brief moment of serenity between the two.

I really enjoyed collaborating with Hope on this. She lives in Michigan, so we obviously couldn’t get her down here to Alabama for a shoot. That made the project unique but also freeing in a way. My team and I had a few conversations with her about the origin of the song and the true story behind it, in an effort to make this an inspired creation.

She loved it. The people in her hometown loved it. My friends and family loved it. Random people neither of us knew loved it. I didn’t love it at first, but as of now, present day, December 2018 haha, I can finally look back on it and be 100% proud of what I did. I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt that way about anything I’ve made. Sure, there are some things I wish I would’ve done better, but overall, I’m happy with how well the team worked together to pull this off. And my entire goal for everything I do is to make sure my work resonates with just ONE person out there. Just one. As long as I do that, I’ve done my job. Everyone else is icing on the cake. 

This was taken during our first night of shooting. This was at an AirBnB location in Huntsville, and we were shooting the first scene between Hannah and Grayson.

This was taken during our first night of shooting. This was at an AirBnB location in Huntsville, and we were shooting the first scene between Hannah and Grayson.

Half of the extras had left by this point but I never get a group picture on the projects I work on so we had to rectify that.

Half of the extras had left by this point but I never get a group picture on the projects I work on so we had to rectify that.

IMG_0791.JPG
We shot a couple of scenes at Waffle House. And then we grubbed.

We shot a couple of scenes at Waffle House. And then we grubbed.

Then came wedding season…

More on that in Part 2.

Joseph Morris