Wednesday, June 08, 2011

How to Make a Music Video in Three Weeks or Less

How to Make a Music Video in Three Weeks or Less

We managed to do it (click here), but it was a fast and stressful ride.

OUR FIRST MUSIC VIDEO...done with no budget, a short deadline, very little resources, and in our spare time (we all have day jobs)... And it had to make us look like rockstars.

"There. We'll shoot on the 15th," Nak said as he pointed at the band's only calendar opening. At that point David Nakabayashi officially became the director of the video, and my blood pressure began its venture to hypertension.

My long time friend and former boss David "Nak" Nakabayashi was on board to direct. "In order to make our deadline everything has to be shot in camera, No VFX. It has to be a performance vid", Nak said. He had an idea to use GoPro cameras on the instruments and mic. Instead of wild visuals or super slow-mo you will see what the instruments see. He did a camera test with my mic and everyone felt like it hit the spot. "Cool, we have an dynamic look and great angles that are unique."

It was the 1st of May, and we had two weeks.

The goal was to have a music video for the band's record release on June 4 which meant it needed to be DONE by the 29th.

The first three days are a blur of locking down two locations, hiring a model and concepting the set and brainstorming simple/cheap costumes.

Location. That was tough. We needed a spot in which we had total control of light where we could crank ear-splitting metal all day. I contacted my buddy Scott at Kimo's Bar and Penthouse on Polk St. He has always been good to the band, and this was no exception. We had our shoot location for the 15th. At this point the idea became a cold reality. We were going to shoot a video for better or worse. BP 130/90.

Location No. 2. Technically, we may not have what one would call "permission." So I will just say that it took a security code and absolute stealth late on a Sunday night to shoot in a very short amount of time. We'll keep that between us.

Model. Nak had a very specific character in mind. We needed an elegant, confident, striking female lead... Who wasn't afraid to stand at a urinal like a man. I immediately hit Craigslist and Model Mayhem. The CL ad brought a cadre of, uhh, interesting "portfolios", and Model Mayhem, after requesting my IMdB credits and filmography, turned me down outright with no explanation. Double Ugh. Lucky for us we were able to find a friend of a friend, Tracy, who was absolutely stunning in her screen test and was willing to take a risk.

Set. Thankfully I had a buddy in the art dept at ILM, Thang Le, who was a great sounding board and a fountain of practical, and cheap, ideas. After brainstorming set dec ideas with Thang, keeping in mind that in Nak's camera test we see lots of ceiling (uh oh).

"A blacked out ceiling will get lost. We'll lose the depth and motion the GoPros give you. Its all about what's in the BG with those cameras." Nak said. So I mocked-up some quick sketches for our sets (and side notes on costumes):

Pic of Kimo's for set dec reference

Quick lighting sketch based on pic

Bathroom set floor plan w/measurments

Bathroom pic for set dec reference

Quick sketch to illustrate how our clean bathroom will look divey

The next ten days were filled with measuring walls, buying light fixtures, breaking fluorescent bulbs, spray painting, tagging, more measuring, renting lighting trusses, etc. In addition to practicing the "video edit" of our song, the band and I scrambled to make sure we had what we needed to transform Kimo's into our set:

Foamcore painted with black gloss spray paint and covered in stickers

Illness banner (converted to vector shapes for large-scale printing) to cover Kimo's ceiling (nearly bigger than my apt)

Light fixtures were spray-painted black so the bulbs would stand out as graphic shapes

Each bulb needed two acrylic sleeves to knock down its brightness and lend it color
(covered bulbs vs. uncovered bulbs)

The morning of the 15th I woke up well before my alarm was set to go off at 6:30am. We started by loading hundreds of pounds of gear up the steps to Kimo's Penthouse at 9am sharp. It took 10 of us just to cover the ceiling. By 11am we had decorated the set, without breaking any fluorescent bulbs, and we were ready to shoot.

The day of the shoot went flawlessly. We had a brilliant crew of people from the ILM art dept and friends who graciously volunteered their time, equipment and patience.

"I loved the energy of being on set. Everyone was really working well together," Thang said.

We had a band that poured its heart into every single performance over and over and over again, and we had a female lead who was on point and well-rehearsed. I won't lie to you and say that those 12hrs of shooting weren't grueling, and didn't test our patience at times, but it was all worth it.

I barely have a clue what Nak went through cutting the video together with the input of dozens of friends and critics. We had to have a cut that complemented the music: Something that was frenetic, high powered, and full of the energy the band was giving out. "I had never cut anything like this and it was really difficult at first, but things started to fall in place once we started experimenting" said Nak. Luckily he had friends in the industry to provide good feedback. And yes there are some simple VFX shots that enhanced the imagery of me singing.

The video has been online for barely a week now and has received nearly 600 hits. That may not sound like much, but for a small band like The Illness it's metal to our ears. BP 118/76

Thank you for your time, support and enthusiasm:

David Nakabayashi
Thang Le
Patrick Gagné
Harrison Parker
Marc Gabbana
Justin Ling
Tracy Espeleta
Max Coronado
Jennifer Coronado

and the band:
Chris Thalmann
Carlos Villarreal
Matt Zipkin
Cyrus Wong-Weissmann

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Illness Wallpaper!

17" PC Monitor (click above for download)
21" Cintiq (click above for full size)
15" Macbook Pro (click above for full size)
iPhone 4 (click above for full size)
iPhone 3G (click above for full size)
1920x1200 (PC) (click above for full size)
1920x1200 (Mac) (click above for full size)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vote Again Today

Just go here and cast ur vote! We're climbin' to the top... and I would be shocked/stoked if we get on the tour. AND it seem like there's a chance! hahahha

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Illness on the Vans Warped Tour

Click above to vote for us to tear up the Bay Area stage! It takes less than sixty seconds and is painless. Once you're signed-up, click below to vote for us!

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Illness Killed the Radio Star

Click above to hear our acoustic show which starts one hour into the recording. Have a listen and enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The OFFICIAL Illness website!

Click the above link to check it out!

Friday, February 19, 2010


It's been too long since I've done any personal work. So here's a quick sketch. What is it? No idea.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009


I am super stoked to announce my band's release of our EP is happening December 5th!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Confirmed case of the Illness

The Illness on Facebook

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ImagineFX Interview

Hey to anyone who has been checking out my blog. There will be updates soon. In the meantime, check out the article above that appears in ImagineFX Issue 41.

For the past six months I have been cranking away up at 2K on Bioshock 2. It's been a blast. And to see what I've been spending the majority of my spare time doing, follow this link:

And continue to melt faces!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

First Look: Josh Viers: Space Invader

The first image from a script I am working on with a friend of mine.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dragon Book Sneak Peak

Here's the first page I created for a book on which I am currently busting my ass. The book will hit stores in Spring of 2008 (if it doesn't kill me first).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007


Hot Rod 1

Hot Rod 2

Good luck, Farmer Ted.

Hot Rod 3

Abstract Portrait

I don't know what I do anymore.

Monday, April 30, 2007


I act like a revolutionary, but I'm not.