I have always been a passionate believer that art forms are at their best when intertwined with complimentary art forms. A beautiful piece of music paired with graceful choreography, mixed mediums in visual arts and, of course, music + film.
The marriage of music + film is strong for me and it aids me in my composition in a powerful way. My music has always had a cinematic quality because there is always a movie in my head when I am writing.
But now I want to take my head-movies and make them a reality.
Prom Queen: Midnight Veil will be a full-length album-film. I will be making 12 videos for each of the 12 songs and they will be strung together and woven into a film, or rather an interconnected series of short-films.
The film will feature some of my favorite artists in Seattle, people who inspire me on a daily basis to create. The cast includes burlesque performers, dancers, designers, other musicians, visual artists, actors, models and friends! I hope for it to timelessly capture the magic that exists in the amazing community of performers we have here in Seattle. This is not just my film, it's a film for all the amazing people that I hope to feature within it. I see it as a community project, my love letter to Seattle and the ultimate way I wish for my music to be shared.
Questions? Yes! You in the back?
Great question! I get a chill up my spine when a great piece of music is set behind an engaging piece of video. Some of my favorite scenes in movies are "when that song comes in". Here's a few of my previous music videos!
Since I have been working in video production for over 15 years, I have the tools and resources necessary to embark on this ambitious production. I know how to produce, write, storyboard, shoot, direct and edit. Pre-production and production is already underway for several of the videos, casting, locations and wardrobe have been secured and approved for the first few productions and I have wonderful cohorts working with me to ensure that these visions are fully realized, because I certainly can't do it alone!
Anyone else? You! In the green shirt...
"Why not just release an album on bandcamp, print some CDs and merch, go on tour, do the thing that people do?"
I'm glad you asked! As much as I enjoy our live shows (which we will continue doing) and as accessible as a Spotify stream is, I long for a different experience for the listener: something more immersive. When people go to a club, it's a distracting atmosphere and sometimes hard to soak it all in with everything going on around you. I've seen artists ask their fans to turn off their cell phones at their shows. I understand this sentiment but then I remembered that there is a place where people regularly go, pay tickets, turn off their cell phones like it's ritual, sit in a dark room and take in art: it's called a movie theater. And I would love that kind of immersive experience for the listeners/viewers of Midnight Veil.
My hope is to get this film into some festivals that take non-narrative shorter pieces and maybe some independent movie houses around the world. So people can go, buy a ticket and watch this album. Somehow, that experience seems like a richer and truer Prom Queen experience than someone seeing us on a festival stage.
"What about the music? Can you tell us more about that?"
Indeed! Midnight Veil is a collection of 12 songs that are deeply inspired by mid-century Middle Eastern and tahitian exotica, Hanna Barbera cartoon soundtracks, 60s psychedelic rock and of course classic 50s prom music. It's a diverse and colorful collection of feels and rhythms that are evocative, nostalgic, fun and stirring. The recordings feature my band: Ben Von Wildenhaus, Tom Meyers, Jason Goessel as well as a few guest musicians, so the sound has a wider sonic span than my first album, while keeping the same quality and authenticity.
Who else? You back there in the "BIG FUN" t-shirt!
"Back to the film, $12,000 is a lotta cheddar! How do we know you're not going to blow that money on tiki drinks, chihuahua parties and Yogurtland?"
Tempting! But no - I understand your suspicion, given that price tag. Allow me to explain. Simply put, $12,000 is $1K per video, which is not a lot of money for a video, but also some of them might not cost anything, and some of them will cost WAY more than $1K. For example, my animation budget needs to be about 3K+ right now, which is obviously more than $1k but that's a realistic quote for animation, if you want it to be good! In addition, as I state in my challenges below, paying talent is key to the success of this project as well as paying the crew and setting some money aside for locations, props, distribution, promotion and marketing for the release. $12K will be a great aid but it is in no way the entire budget for this project. I plan on spending my own money for much of this, too.
That said, if you don't have any money to contribute, I'll take your tiki drinks, chihuahuas and yogurts.
"Will you be posting updates along the way?"
YES! Now that production is underway, I plan on sharing the behind-the-scenes experience as we go, so you can be in on what we are doing throughout this process! I'll post videos to this page and my You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/promqueenofficial
Here's a few stills from what we have already shot, which is the video to track #4 "Can't Seem To Cry"
I will also be releasing a single with video mid-way through the process to give people a taste of the work! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for to-the-minute updates on this process!
If you'd like a sneak peek into the look and feel of all the videos/films, check out my Pinterest boards for each track here:
Risks and challenges
Challenge # 1: Time-Period Accuracy
The biggest challenge I face is to get the right look for what will be a period piece (the 1960s) I will need to scout and procure time-accurate locations, vehicles, props and costumes. The look is extremely important and in order to guarantee that everything looks just right, a comfortably-sized budget is necessary to get the things we need for each shoot.
The best thing about this challenge is the amount of resources I already have from great people who are as obsessed with mid-century as I am! People have come forward with wardrobe, cars, homes, restaurants/bars, etc. People's generosity thus far bodes well for this project!
Challenge # 3: Time is Money
I am overwhelmed with people's enthusiasm to join in this project but the fact is: people's time is very valuable - especially performers, some of which will be spending hours choreographing and rehearsing for their parts. I believe in fair compensation for artists and I also want to be able to secure and ensure their involvement as they are all very important to me. Being able to pay talent is essential to the success of this film, but since it's 12 films and since I am trying to keep the schedule tight so we don't take a year to do this, the amount of money I would want to pay talent is over my head and therefore will be the main reason I am asking for help.
Challenge # 3: Distribution
When this work is completed, the challenge will be distribution. I have a firm belief that this film will have all the makings of a cult classic if only it could be seen by enough people! My goal is to hopefully distribute the film digitally, as well as the audio. To get on sites such as Netflix and Hulu for the film and iTunes and Spotify with the audio. For the physical DVD, I hope to get distribution in indie record shops and other indie retail outlets. Distribution will cost a good amount of money, especially if I opt to go the route of a service like Distribber or any pay-to-distribute service.
Publicity and promotion ties into this expense as well. Getting the word out is always a tricky obstacle, so I want to ensure I have a little bit of scratch to get me over that mountain.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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