Yesterday, I have spoken to a music video director Danny Drysdale, known especially for working with The Killers (Directed and edited Human, The world we live in, Rut) and Echosmith (Directed and edited all videos for Lonely Generation album) as he agreed to be on my podcast Girl with a camera. The episode will be published in November as well as a video on my Youtube channel.
However, I had the need to write this blog because it was one of the, if not THE, most insightful interviews I have ever done. I had trouble containing my excitement and holding back my comments on all the videos he’s done because I wanted to let him speak, as I believe he’s got much more to say than me!
I want to point out some interesting/inspiring/point-of-view-changing things we talked about and give you a sneak peek of the episode before it’s out.
How much planning is required to plan a music video?
For the research, as well as my own interest, I have watched all the music videos Danny has directed and there were always some shots and moments that stood out for me. For instance, loving the shot in The World we live in by The Killers when Brandon Flowers steps with his boot on a sheet of music with the word Romance on it.
When I spoke to Danny about those videos, he did mention some of those shots out of the blue and said they were created in the moment. I would swear they were very well thought through and scripted and here we are!
That raises a question on how much do we constrain ourselves as filmmakers when we plan too much and don’t leave enough or ANY space for creating magic moments on set? The moment that happens only once in this universe.
Danny also told me that he sometimes gets ‘too much into it’ that’s why he lost some cameras during filming. Personally, I find this inspiring because it means he really gives heart and soul to whatever he’s creating.
Working with Echosmith
There is a specific shot that I remembered after watching one of the videos he’s done for Echosmith. I wanted to mention this in our conversation but I was waiting for the right moment. However, Danny started talking about it first!! Saying he felt emotionally driven to make this video in a very different way. I’m talking about I don’t wanna lose my love video.
Danny wanted to lose the crew and just take the camera and catch the emotions up close. He got into the water with Sydney Sierota (Lead singer) and the surfer (Sydney’s husband) to film emotionally powerful shots and tell the story from Sydney’s perspective.
The video is about losing someone you love under unfortunate circumstances. Seeing them for the last time, not knowing this is the last memory you will have of them. Every single thing related to this person gives you instant flashbacks of the past that you can’t ever bring back to the present.
Being through a very similar situation myself in real life I connected to this video instantly. Not only because of the story but all the camera angles, choices of shots, intimacy and emotion caught on camera gave me chills. That means I believed every single emotion in that video. The combination of Danny’s filmmaking approach and Sydney’s performance all together with a beautiful song made this a true experience to watch.
There was one shot that stuck in my mind the most. When Sydney comes to say goodbye to her love in the place where he died, she let go of the hat that he gave to her earlier in the video. And in that moment Danny follows the hat falling into the ocean with a camera, filming it floating, letting waves take it while it’s completely out of focus. Think about this metaphor for a moment…
I always believed that you have to do as you feel when filming but I am also a big fan of planning too. But how much planning is too much?
Danny and Echosmith filmed 12 videos in 6 days so it did require a lot of planning but I’m talking about moments that only happen once and they should happen organically. Those moments really touch people emotionally whether in the form of laughter or tears. Either way, it’s beautiful.