Composed during the throes of romantic despair Jillian Lake’s Oliver asks how on earth do you move forward when your heart lays in tatters. Fortunately, the solution to near-fatal heartbreak turned out to be Vancouver-based Director Devon Mussett capturing a devastating round of sad girl karaoke in a single shot. Watch the healing begin below after which Mussett tells us how they pulled it off.

The initial concept for the video was inspired by Jillian’s description of disconnection and her personal experience of heartbreak in the lyrics of Oliver. She wanted to make a music video about doing sad girl karaoke, and after some brainstorming, we thought there’s nothing more beautifully devastating than a broken heart prancing around a bar singing to an empty room and a karaoke screen. We then upped the ante by deciding to capture/execute this devastating moment all in one take.

The most important thing was timing all of Jillian’s movement through the space.

We were quite limited in our budget for this video, so finding a location that fit our dingy dive bar aesthetic without spending any money on production design was critical. We also wanted a space that would allow for Jillian to move thru effortlessly from one end to another over the course of the four minute song. The Brick House located in Vancouver BC encapsulated the exact feel we were looking for and had everything we needed.

Once we were on set filming, the most important thing was timing all of Jillian’s movement through the space, her interactions with different cast members, the camera positioning and our lighting cues. Once our DOP Bryce Zimmerman had everything lit we ran a few rehearsals and then began doing takes. After each take I would tweak things with the cast, Jillian, and our operator Brock Newman, until I was happy. We ended up shooting 12 takes in total, with the last one being the one we chose.

The most crucial piece of equipment for the video was the Steadicam as it allowed us to achieve the video’s flow and constant movement for the full four minutes of the song that we needed. Having the audience go on the journey with Jillian emotionally and physically was imperative, and the Steadicam allowed this to happen.

Oliver is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.

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