It all started in the spring of 2017.
Emily Chambers approached me about a collaborating on a cool series called #VanJams. #VanJams is a collective project featuring talented musicians from Vancouver jamming out in a 1983 Dodge camper van named Bessie Blue. We had a pretty aggressive capture schedule with the intended goal of releasing new episodes each Thursday through out the summer of 2017.
I was in.
Immediately we began brainstorming on concepts, looking for inspiration online, and from our daily lives moving around British Columbia. Em shared her vision for the music video, but I needed to get up to speed. I truly believe the best collaborations are rooted in intuitive communication, trust and feedback. In order to get on the same page where we could trade ideas from a similar foundation, I needed a better understanding of the song, it's obvious and subliminal meanings, as well the inspiration for writing it to begin with.
I asked Emily to describe the song to me and here's what she said:
"This song is basically "Freedom" herself talking to you, telling you she has "a rose for you, see how it shines bright blue, smelling of sweet peas and honey doo, watch how it stays forever new". The rose symbolizes hope, that it is always available for you to tap into. The second verse is about how it can be scary to allow yourself to be free "wandering towards me you forwardly meet my stare, where should we go now" i picture as oneself tentatively and cautiously allowing themselves to walk up to that diving board so to speak and then have to dive off..
The second verse is more about remembering we deserve freedom and hope even if we don't feel we necessarily are worthy "telling me tales of a privileged youth, searching for sweet teas and better views" is that sort of "why should I want more, I have it good already" guilt that can stop us from reaching our higher purpose."
The discovery phase is the perfect time to fully vet every aspect in such a major project ensuring that everyone is in the best position to be successful. With a beautifully filled pot of inspiration to pull from, the visual storytelling took shape quickly.
We wanted to keep the production modest in scope, focusing on the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and concentrate on Emily's on-camera performance. She occupies almost every scene and frame of the video. We set up a shared folder on Google Drive and began building a digital scrapbook of images, links to inspirational videos and anything else that seemed to fit. Emily shared what she wanted while I translated the creative consciousness into technical processes and focused on the execution of the piece. Having a visual storyboard to work from and refer to was a great aid. I tend to hold storyboard in my head, but Emily went one step better and illustrated the video, scene by scene.
Over the course of two days we captured scenes leaving Vancouver and heading north, up the Sea To Sky Highway with stops in both Squamish and Pemberton.
From the start Emily wanted to feature water, the isolation of a singular being in a field, and the flowing aspects of a road trip along a scenic route.
A large portion of the filming was set against Lilooet Lake and the surrounding camp grounds.
We had the benefit of great weather (sunny days with diffused clouds), and cool, clear nights. Emily needed to wade into lake water so we chose the warmest part of the day to capture those scenes. Several scenes needed to be captured at dusk, and at night as well.
We had a fantastic team supporting this project and we really couldn't have done it without them.
I'm extremely happy and proud of this project and cannot wait to share it with the world.
My mindset is to create deep, meaningful work. I made a commitment to myself to excellence.
Simplify, plan, execute at a high level and celebrate the success.