We wrapped our shoot for “Call Me” on Monday, a music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones. It’s gonna be damn good. Not because of me, as I was only a small part. It is going to blow your face off because of the sheer amount of talent that we had on set that day… in front and behind of the camera. Every single person in that space did something spectacular contributing to what I hope will have been very worthy of their time and talents. All I know is that what I saw being captured on my little viewing monitor was pure magic.
Anyone familiar with the band members of StPBB know that they will inevitably explode into musical history. When I first approached their managers about the possibility of doing this video for them, I did so with pure respect of their talent and potential. I hoped that what we’d done in the past would be good enough to give us a shot. It was, and they did. This was in early January. I remember getting the “proceed” email before eating Mexican food with some girlfriends and calling James immediately to tell him what adventure we were about to go on next. He was on board, as he always is.
Next – who would we partner with to film this? James and I had found a recent friend in Tyler Jones of 1504 Pictures, who has created several music videos for The Civil Wars and most recently Duquette Johnston (which just won the MTVu music video contest for “Dancing Song”). Lucky for us, Tyler and his partners said yes with enthusiasm.
What about the concept? As soon as the label told us we’d be pitching for their first single “Call Me”, James and I immediately listened to the song and put our minds to the task. I am proud to say that the concept of “Call Me” wasn’t my own, it was a stroke of genius by James. It is perfect for their narrative video debut to the world and for the message of the song.
What followed this was no less than 1,000,000 decisions and asks to folks around Birmingham. This video is made by the city for these guys as a gift of love. I feel the desire to try and name each person and business this project touched, so I am going to give it a stab. But before I do – for those who don’t live in the area and just want to know when they can see it – we expect to have it completed by early April. There is still work left to do!
First and foremost – Janelle Issis. The story of “Call Me” wouldn’t have come to life without her choreography and performance. I knew this role was significant… so I let my mind dwell on it for some time before lightning struck. I wondered, has Birmingham ever had someone represent it on the show So You Think You Can Dance? And the answer was yes – Janelle. She is a complete badass too. She brought every ounce of talent she had to the table and shared it with us. We were so very fortunate to have her play the lead female role. Also, thanks to Jessica Bostany who helped Janelle in all areas.
Here are a few other major key players: Jim Roberson – lighting, special effects, editing, shooting… you name it, he is damn good at it. As a matter of a fact, it is in his hands as we speak! Mike Mazer – who let us use his gigantic warehouse in Avondale to build a larger than life set. So generous and supportive of the creative community. Jason Richardson of Richardson & Associates Construction – are you serious?? You built a 30 foot wide, 15 foot deep, 15 foot tall set…with a kind spirit and giving attitude. Damn bro. Andrea West Richardson of Nesting Interiors (yes, she is my 1st cousin!) – who designed the perfect setting for this video to play out. You will see, and it will take your breath away. Mark Slagle of 1504 Pictures – camera operator and all-around great dude. It was a pleasure to work with you! Steve from Soho Retro – who let us use some of his best vintage furniture. Scott Pyburn (and David Ytterberg) of Harrison Limited – who made the boys look dapper and dashing! Lily Li – always costume design extraordinaire! Lindsay Garrett of Show Pony Productions (shoutout to Maryjane) – makeup lead and dear friend. Shelby McDonald of Beauty Shock (with a BIG shoutout to Jonathan Fowler!) – lead hair and dear friend. Danny Ray Winter of Crestwood Coffee Company – for providing a delicious breakfast! My mom Jamie West – for making a lunch for 35 people that folks are still talking about!! And for countless other ways you support me. Woody Wiginton of FinerGrind Coffee Roasters – for fueling us ALL DAY LONG with The Dark Side blend! David Crump – for providing us with “The Princess”… a beautiful retro phone that belonged to his wife Sandy! Jeff Nixon – for being the guy that everyone wants to hang out with and for making sure StPBB were happy and comfortable. Jake Slaney – for driving all the way from ATL to do playback for us all day, and also letting us use some amazing lights!!! Michele Forman with the UAB Film Department – for letting us have the opportunity to work with Matthew Henton and for letting us utilize lights! Alison Hulsey – for being THE first person I reached out to about this idea and helping me get to the right people. Savannah Marie Aaron of Everybody’s Buying Vintage – for providing us the beautiful vintage red dress that will be on Janelle! Susan Held of Belk at the Summit – for always being there for clothing needs of any kind. Good People Brewing – for giving us beverages to toast with at the wrap! Angela Karen – for providing some stellar vintage back-up options. Don Lupo – for helping us find tables and chairs so we could do our work better. Paul Mckee – for always being there for us and being a fantastic grip. Daniel Ruiz – for helping in any way you could with a great attitude! And to Mandy of Hothouse Design Studio – for providing beautiful flower arrangements for the set! Other people who helped are Tracy Pharo, Ward Neely, David West (my dad), Dave West (my bro), John & Carmen Rigrish, Brandi Baker, Veronique Vanblaere (Photography!), Lauren Howard, Nick Michael, Chloe Collins, Josh Vasa, Joy Myers and my beautiful Aunt Betty! And big shoutout to the B Metro family.