Halestorm-Familiar Taste of Poison

Director: Jeremy Alter

Video Noir.

Director Jeremy Alter crafts another classic movie video. It’s a “how dunnit.”

Though I guess the chorus gives it away.

Performances, writing, cinematography, art direction are all genial.

Its very difficult to tell complex stories in a music video.

There’s no dialogue other than the lyrics themselves. Unless you indulge in pre-video bullshit, which to my mind is breaking the discipline of the form itself, you are on a pre-determined train track determined by the song.  As a result you don’t have much opportunity to set up back story, or show complex motivation and emotion. Song structure, especially  the use of repeated chorus’s, further conflicts with complexities of narrative and character arc.

Directors are reduced to getting the performers to over-dramatize emotion though action to make up for this. Without intelligent writing you get a lot of:  picture ripping, face slapping, bag packing, vase chucking or generally smashing up the joint, door slamming, and cars leaving. Pantomime. Punch and Judy. It may have worked in Streetcar Named Desire. But thats Brando, and great dialogue.

Videos with  a “period movie” theme, are often able to sidestep these pitfalls.  I think it’s because actors, up ’till the 1940’s, instinctively still drew on  “silent movie” techniques, that were themselves drawn from mime. You can act it out without overacting.

Narrative music videos are very closely related to silent movies.  Method is hard to apply.

Halestorm band members play the lead roles with great confidence.

Lzzy was able to sing entire verses underwater and give a very chilling performance at the same time.  She has that “thing” with a camera, and also the intelligence to know what to do with it.

Anton Pardoe wrote and produced.

Ben Moody plays one of the cops, unfortunately you can barely see him as he had non-period facial hair.

Underwater greenscreen works surprisingly well. You would think spill would be an issue, bouncing off the bottom of the pool and all.

There are underwater playback speakers. Or you just use a plastic bag, wrapped tight.

The video was shot in Malibu, at that Italianate palazzo falling off the hill in front of the old Getty on PCH. It’s beautiful inside. A painstaking restoration is in progress. The owner is great, and very film friendly. Some of the neighbors, many of whom are in the film industry, perhaps not so much.

Credita are due:

Director: Jeremy “The Beast ” Alter

Producers: Meiert Avis, Anton Pardoe

DP: Charles Papert

Production Designer: Philip Duffin

Steady-cam.Various Canon DSLR’s . Zeiss Optics.




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