Yeasayer reached out to us and gave us carte-blanche on the concept: we just had to tie in to their album cover, which consisted of sculptures commissioned from David Altmejd. Lots of 3D scanning: we scanned David's sculptures, scanned a live model, and I digitally sculpted the rest.
Turnaround was six weeks. I Am Chemistry picked up a Vimeo Staff Pick, played at SXSW, won a D&AD pencil, hooked us two Cannes YDA's, and garnered other awards at many film festivals worldwide. Seems like it's always playing somewhere.
I got the call from Chris (lead singer) while traveling across the country. My wife and I had just moved away from NYC and were camping across the US on the way to Oregon. I was writing a story about a lost cosmonaut, sketching it out on picnic tables and in hotel lobbies. Had this kind of obsession and all this initial content, so just slipped it right into the treatment.
Some initial concepts. We knew right off the bat we wanted it to reach out, grab your lapels and show you something totally unexpected. The song is a cold open so the video needed to match or exceed it.
Kicked out a hand-drawn animatic to sell to the band and figure out the timing. Always nice to do when you have the time. Of course, I guess we really didn't have the time, but just did it anyway.
Flew out to NYC, joined up with Ry and Abby, and we scanned David's scuptures. It was a delight to be in David's studio, he's an amazing talent. And yeah, that is a Donald Trump head in the video. Who knew, eh?
Stunningly, this actually worked: Abby and Ryan were in NYC, on set with Dante Brown (choreographer/dancer) who was in mocap suit: I Facetimed in on an iPad from Portland and co-directed from my living room. Dante crushed it. We kept telling him "more Brittany! Yes! More Brittany!"
Left: render of our 3D scan of David's sculpture of Chris. We pulled the clothes of the sculpture - the white a little hard to scan. And the raw foam looked awesome. I really dialed up the texture when I got ahold of it. Right: BTS shot of the sculptures for the album cover.
First screen test of the Alpha xenomorph. Was thinking a lot about Henry Moore, early Picasso sculpture.
First dance test with the sculpture of Chris.
Early Previs of the whole shebang.
Jason, the band's manager, had us whip this up for social. Hotline Bling had just dropped.
Still love this video. We delivered on January 3rd, I blew through Christmas in blur of all-nighters, Abby and Ryan as mission control in NYC, still tweaking the edit. Surprised I don't have a permanent eye-twitch from the experience. But you know, you watch your work, you pretty rapidly forget what it took. Just on to the next.