Thanks buddy. And thanks everyone else too!
Boots Riley's Magic Clap started picking up momentum, especially in Europe (also ads wanted to feature it...etc.), so the label's asking for him to push it again, to prep for maybe a run on the radio stations. Boots didn't want to do another music video, but he was thinking about getting somebody he knew to endorse the song. He had a few fans in high places - Patton Oswalt being one of them. Patton was more than down to do some thing for Boots, though at first they just thought Patton would just record something off his webcam or something. He did something really weird and silly for Wholpin once.
I assumed that was what they were working on. A few months later, while chatting about other projects, Boots brought up that they were still trying to come up with an idea. I asked him if I could be in on it. He said sure, and asked me on the spot what I wanted to do. I said fighting, he said no.
then in April, Boots asked me again if I could do it and what I had in mind. I wanted to do it more than anything, but to cook up an idea that would be quick, goofy, non-location specific, and still allowed Patton to do his thing and, most of all, free- was really hard. I pulled my muscle one evening producing a shoot. It was a stupid way to go too - I lifted something extremely heavy just to show the crew guys that I was one of the guys. The next day my back gave out completely and I was in a lot of stupid pain for the next three days. Then there was a date change, and I had a huge rent-paying shoot that would coincide with Patton's new availability. I panicked, and tried backing out of my first-committed project. My buddy freaked and said I would be throwing him under the bus.
That night I had two backstage passes to The Lumineers, who're old friends - and it'd be one evening this year where I would be the coolest guy in the world to whoever my date was going to be. I couldn't move and had to let the passes go to waste (similar thing would happen to an Aesop Rock show two nights later). I was just in bed, sweating, knowing that if I were to ask Patton to change his schedule, I better have a pretty good fucking reason - like a good idea or something.
Patton's surrounded by very talented and funny people, and it was the week where he wrote the Boston bomber response and improvised that mesmerizing monologue on Parks and Rec, I knew he could've gotten any of them Funny or Die guys to do something way funnier and cooler than anything I could come up with. I knew he liked my first Magic Clap video and he trusted Boots, but aside from that, I still needed to deliver.
Then it just kinda came together - I sent him and Boots an email, citing viral videos Hyperactive
and this Natalie Imbruglia video where a guy did a good mime dance
. I came up with many of my ideas - I'm not kidding - while taking a piss. A lot of the times I would have a thought on the tip of my tongue, and then I would take a piss and it would articulate itself. Then I crossed my fingers.
A very long night went by where my buddy was thinking about not working with me again, and finally in the morning, I got an email from Patton that just said "THIS one I like!" and it was a huge relief. I then asked Patton to move his date, he quickly agreed. Now I was able to shoot both projects, though by the time I flew back up after Patton and drove three hours from the airport to begin a 14-hour shoot immediately (with one hour of sleep in a hotel room), my body was in so much pain. It became the most physically punishing shoot I'd ever been on, but that's the price you pay when you wanna meet Patton and make rent at the same time.
Lots of logistics had to be figured out. I wanted to find a place in LA, but couldn't depend on the label or some of my film acquaintances, because I didn't want people I didn't know to come in and schmooze on our very limited schedule. Eventually my favorite porn star (whom I've became friends with) is married to a guy who recommended a little comedy studio to me. Hot House Comedy - and the producer's got this loft that would satisfy all my requirements (quiet, even lighting, access to props and equipment, away from "film people"). We drove down to LA, did the LA thing that night (kinda famous people sitting around and trading stories about REALLY famous people), went to bed at 3, woke up at 6. Patton was already there, an hour before call time.
He was really cool. He sent me funny texts, I was running late, and he didn't seem to care. He had to be out by 6pm, so I blocked out 11 hours to shoot this with him. We were all exhausted just an hour in, from all of our collective lack of sleep.
One thing I noticed was that, on set, nobody was laughing outloud. We would giggle - but really it was just a matter of fact running down of the list. We had however many words we had to get through, and we just did that one at a time. Sometimes we would argue over how to best act out the words (for example, I wanted to break up "last kiss martin ever gave to coretta", but Patton insisted that we would lose the audience if he came off as disrespectful to them, which would betray the spirit of the song. He was right. We didn't have the photos, so held up two empty frames, and digitally inserted the photos later.) That became a little bit of a crutch too - knowing that if we had nothing, we could depend on CGI to help us. We all made suggestions to each interpretation, and Patton would decide ultimately what he would do. I was actually just nervously trying to keep everything in order at the time, and my AD/art director - this goofy girl from Portland who recently got into art direction full time - was somehow just very funny and charming and developed a rapport, which made everyone at ease. I don't know, for me it was a blur. We were funny and happy, but all very, very tired.
The whole thing only took 3 hours though, in the end. 8 hours before the estimated schedule.
I know that's not the most exciting story, but that's kinda what happened. I find it really hard for me to be funny in front of professional funnies. I became much more self-conscious. We kept in touch during the post process though, and Patton just can't be a nicer guy. He's supported the project the entire way through, and was excited by everything I've shown him. I hope I get to work with him again.
got two more music videos getting released. not sure how I'd ever top this one again. ha.
Oh my god. That's so funny! I'm gonna have to pause it like a million times to get all the wordplay jokes. Did you write it and the coup and Patton gave you input on it or were they just down with the idea?? AND HOW THE FUCK DID YOU GET PATTON OSWALT!?!?!?!? Incredible. It looks like the funnest thing to shoot ever. Great job man, I thought it really elevated the song even though your original video was AWESOME too. I like how simple yet intricate the visual style is, putting the song in a lighter context that I honestly can't say I've seen in many artist approved hip hop videos ( a good example would be Zach Galifianakis' hilarious version of 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' by Kanye West). I hope this gets you a lot of attention to do more stuff with artists you admire, I'm sure it will because it shows real talent. I'd love to know a little more about how this came together and what kind of hijinks you got into with Patton. Ahhh what a great dude.
I caught the magic clap from Ricky Jay once