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Blog: Whatever It Is, That's What It Is

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As part of the preparations for my Exciting New Album I've been busily sorting out some MUSIC VIDEOS, like what Sting used to complain about on his MTV. The first one was done a little while ago using POWERPOINT, for a song which will, I am sure, finally end the use of AGILE as a project management methodology (I'd like to see Woody Guthrie achieve something like THAT) but this past week has seen me using MYSELF as the main focus for two (2) more videos.

The first was for the single "Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?" My original THORT was to do this as a re-enactment of the album cover, which (SPOILERS) is a picture of ME. I set myself up in what I thought was the correct position and filmed myself singing the song, accompanied by a few props, thinking it was going to be a bit like Sinead O'Connor in "Nothing Compares 2U".

Clearly, it was not really like that, but after a few goes I'd got the words pretty much almost right all the way through, so sat down to edit it. At this point I realised that I had NOT set myself up in the correct position and was in fact facing in entirely the wrong direction, and it was here that I codified the methodology I would employ for the rest of this process: Whatever It Is, That's What It Is. In other words, whatever I manage to actually DO, that's what I'm going to work with. This may seem BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS, but I found it IMMENSELY helpful as a way of not worrying too much before starting filming and instead trusting that SOMETHING fun would come out of it as long as I allowed it to do so.

For instance, once I'd set it up so that the album title appeared on screen alongside my HEAD I realised that the rest of the video then had a MASSIVE GAP where the words had been, and so I decided to make it into a LYRICS VIDEO as well. Did Sinead O'Connor do that? No, she did not, most likely because there was a team of 17,000 directors, assistant directors, camera persons and multiple posh teenagers getting coffee, and so she was unable to suggest exciting new ideas that could be enacted within the time booked for the SHOOT. Also, lyrics videos had not been invented yet, although that's probably purely because of the above mentioned process issues.

Once that decision was made the whole thing was finished off dead eaasily, leaving me all excited for my NEXT video shoot, which was booked to happen on Saturday. I say "Booked" because I had actually BOOKED somewhere to do it, as it involved me DANCING ABOUT in an open space which was neither available nor conducive to good neighbourly relations at home. I thus arranged myself a couple of hours in Theatre Deli, the organisation that takes over unused office space and turns it into rehearsal studios.

When I was making videos with Mr John Dredge we used Theatre Deli several times, as it was a really convenient way to get a nice clear SPACE to make stuff in, and which often included the PROPS we needed, like desks and chairs etc. It seemed to move to a different location nearly every time we did something, and it was in a different place AGANE this time, on Leadenhall Street in The City. This was very handy for me as it meant I could get the Elizabeth Line to Liverpool Street and then walk there, passing a GREGGS on the way where I bought a FANTASTIC Vegan Cheese And Ham Baguette. MAN ALIVE, I know there is a lot wrong with the world today, but it is also a world where such things as Vegan Cheese And Ham Baguettes are not only available, but available in GREGGS. It is a truly wonderful thing, I will be back for MORE!

It was REALLY REALLY HOT on Saturday, so I was a bit worried about how I'd SURVIVE a couple of hours of dancing around, but was relieved when I arrived to find that the air conditioning was very much ON. I went to my alloted room, got the camera set up, and then spent about forty minutes DANCING. This will all become clear when I UNLEASH the video, but the basic idea was to ACT OUT the story of "Kenny's Brother Alan's Stag Do" through the medium of INTERPRETIVE DANCE, performed by ME in various different t-shirts playing up to four characters at once. Yes, you are correct, it is a SHOE-IN for Awards Season.

I'd spent much of the past fortnight THINKING about how this would work, with the main thing being all four versions of me DANCING in SYNCHORNICITY during the choruses. When me and Mr S Hewitt did our Fringe shows I was always struck by the realisation that what people like most of all during live shows - more than ANYTHING else - is the simple joy of seeing two or more people moving in the same way at the same time. There's something about it that brings DELIGHT to the soul, and when I watched the finished thing later on I felt that same DELIGHT myself, even though i knew it was NOT different people, and even though I did not quite get it right all the way through.

For LO! the dictum that Whatever It Is, That's What It Is applied VERY MUCH here, as not only did I not get the dancing right (I went the wrong way a few times, and also forgot where I was in one bit) but also had not given a great deal of THORT to what I'd do in the verses. I'd originally planned to sing the WORDS, sharing them between characters, but the problem with this was that "Kenny's Brother Alan's Stag Do" is nearly five minutes long (by FAR the longest track on the album) and I had not really LEARNT it. Thus I was forced to IMPROVISE some vague dancing and ACTING which, again, I am sure will be rewarded both at this year's MTV Awards and the Smash Hits Pollwinners' Party.

I did five different versions of the story in five different t-shirts, all with the same camera position, and then decided that that was probably enough. The original plan was to do close-ups and all sorts, but something told me that I didn't need to, so I packed up nearly an hour early and went home to start EDITING. Often this is a COLOSSAL PAIN, but this time around it was farily peasy - there were four clips all playing at the same time (again, this will make sense when you see it!) and so some TRICKERY was needed to do to make it all work, but as I'd done each shot all the way through I didn't need to do much actual editing, and by the end of Sunday it was DONE.

This gives me a total of THREE (3) videos completed, with maybe a couple more to go. As you can probably tell, I've really enjoyed the process so far, I just hope that other people enjoy the results when they are finally UNLEASHED!

posted 15/8/2022 by MJ Hibbett

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