The idea to create a music video for Vanguard began shortly after completing the Dragon video (mostly because I had a butt-load of fun!). After hearing Vanguard, Mitch (he also worked on the Dragon Video) asked if he could pitch an idea. He did, and it was awesome! During November and December, we discussed the concept in detail, making minor tweaks here and there, but the finished product really is Mitch’s vision. The original plan was to film it in December or early January, but due to the pandemic restrictions and a few other matters I had to push the shoot date back a few months.
The first scenes we filmed were in the snow. Because of the delay into spring the snow was quickly disappearing and finding an adequate location proved challenging. Even the few days between Rob and Mitch finding the spot and the day we shot resulted in most of the snow melting away. Also, on this day, due to some unfortunate turn of events, John (who played The Captive) couldn’t make it. We’d only found this out the day prior, and we still needed John for the other scenes later on. So, creating an alternative at the last minute became an unforeseen challenge. Rob ultimately decided the easiest way to move forward was that I body-double as The Captive. So, I put on John’s slightly too-small-for-me outfit, pulled a burlap sack over my head to hide my face, then got kicked and dragged around by Mitch. It was actually pretty fun! And aside from some minor bruising under my arms, not too uncomfortable.
The second filming day was a late night doing the office/apartment scene. This involved multiple takes of me just living in the space being frustrated, tired, and confused. They were long shots that went on for several minutes as Mitch directed me through the room, cueing me to try different things. I kicked pillows and threw books. It was a blast! We filmed until after midnight, then loaded all the equipment to be transported for the following day. I didn’t get home and in bed until 3am, only to wake up five hours later.
Day three was the rented Tesla day! I was so excited about this since I’d never driven one before. Those sumsabitches have some epic acceleration! We also filmed the prison sequences that day, with much being in front of a green screen. I got to fall on a concrete floor, get blasted in the face by a leaf blower, and molested by a bunch of hands in black latex gloves. You know. A typical Saturday. Late that night we packed everything up and moved it to the restaurant we’d film in the following day, then went to the warehouse to film the scene where The Villain (played by Mitch) drops me off. I played with the Tesla’s acceleration a little more, returned it, then went home to get maybe four hours of sleep.
The last day was the craziest of all. We had a limited time in the rented restaurant, and many different scenes to film, all of which had very unique lighting requirements. We also had the most extras on set that day.
As many of you know, I’ve been learning to act over the last few months, and I’ve met wonderful people and made great friends with fellow students. So, when it came time to plan the video I asked many of them if they were interested in volunteering as extras. Fortunately, six of them were available and showed up to look fancy in the restaurant, and then dress in all-black to beat me up in the hallway. There were other classmates who wanted to join, but unfortunately couldn’t make it due to their filming schedules or other prior commitments. But I’m truly grateful for everyone’s interest and willingness, even those that couldn’t make it in the end. But those who did (Alejandra, Shaira, Erik, Elizabeth, Susanna, and Alex) you helped make it a very special day.
The last morning started early, filming sequences of me approaching the restaurant outside. I thought we had earlier access to the restaurant so I didn’t arrive dressed in the suit, which meant I had to change in the streets, again (there seems to be a habit developing with me getting changed in public during video shoots. To those who drove by and saw, you’re welcome). Like with filming the Dragon video, Rob put a lot of effort into planning exact times for specific shots to maximize sunlight. Unfortunately, the weather changed for the worse that morning, and he had to adjust the restaurant scene. He had the crew establish additional lighting, repositioned the extras, and changed the angles he filmed from. It was pretty cool walking into that room with my fellow acting classmates giving me the evil eye, then approaching Shaira who played The Bartender.
Next, some of the extras donned black outfits, latex gloves, and pantyhose on their heads. We filmed the second part of the “Devon getting molested by the demons” scene, which honestly left me out of breath. We did several takes, and after dragging John through multiple people seriously trying to slow me down, I was exhausted.
After that we filmed other hallway scenes, switching perspectives and moving to different points in the storyline. Unlike the Dragon video, we did not film this one sequentially. To best make use of the location and time, we had to film scenes out of order (which is a common approach, actually). This meant I was in and out of makeup multiple times during the day. We had photos of the burnt hand and black eye from previous days and the makeup artist used these as references to help ensure continuity. By the end of the day my hair felt like rock from all the hair spray.
The last scene we filmed was the chess game, which Mitch and I totally got lost in at one point. Both of us are chess players so our focus unintentionally shifted more towards a real game for a bit. It was an interesting experience playing a very slow and casual game whilst John got his ass kicked next to us. I didn’t know that was going to happen until it did, so it was a complete surprise!
Rob and Mitch went above and beyond with this project and it turned out brilliantly. They’re a pleasure to work with and I’m very grateful for them.
Thanks for reading.
p.s. – There was no ear infection this time.