Brown director Sean Wainsteim’s visual storytelling skills are tapped for a second time with a new music video for the Canadian dancepunk band, You Say Party’s new hit single, "Lonely’s Lunch". Sean is interviewed about his creative process and shooting on location in India below.
Q: How did you get involved in this project for You Say Party?
Q: Can you describe the creative concept for the video?
A: The conceptual genesis was two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to create a piece that reflected the discomfort associated when an armed police force casually (in some cases) occupies an urban center (found in London, Tel Aviv or my own Toronto during the recent G20 summit). Secondly, I wanted to collaborate with Shanker Raman, an Indian cinematographer I had worked with a decade ago and kept in touch with as he moved on to features. Since those police forces (and ensuing gradual erosion of civil liberties) often operate under the guise of working for the public good or are masked by religious doctrine, it made sense to transpose that scenario into another culture so it would stand out as foreign even more starkly. This gave way to India and the elephant headed masks. It all made sense.
Ultimately my goal was to create an engaging and driving visual that worked with the mood of the music, and to use that military presence as more of a backdrop than as a soapbox.
Q: What was it like shooting in India?
A: With an extremely tight budget, I set off … during the monsoon season.
Smart. I slept on floors (belonging to my gracious cameraman and some of his friends) and spent time exploring cities in between trying to figure out how to pull off this production and dealing with a touch of "Delhi Belly" - you know something is wrong when you’re shivering in India during the day and asking people if they feel cold too. I went to shoot in Pune, a few hours away from Mumbai, depending on traffic, where a local producer and his casting director wife worked tirelessly to accommodate the needs of a challenged production budget.
Steve Manale, another frequent creative collaborator joined me in India to help out with art department, second unit and many assorted other things that needed aid. He slept on a floor too.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the shoot?
A: The first day of shooting was on my birthday. There were issues (why weren’t the cameras rolling when the elephant went by? Why are you telling me now that Indians don’t like to run?) but by the time the sun set on the first day, production and language issues went away and the scotch tasted
mighty fine (it was my birthday… I deserved that scotch). We had two more days of shooting that went incredibly smooth - much of it not being possible in most countries (like taking over people’s kitchen’s to shoot out a window at a moments notice, or rope-tying an injured guy to the back of a motorized rickshaw so he could hang on to the guy holding the camera, promoting someone to AD so we’d have an AD -- y’know… fun stuff). I encountered so much friendliness and warmth. So much spirit of life and positivity under very, very adverse conditions.
Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of filming the music video in India?
A: Overwhelmed with kindness and hospitality, exhausted I left India. I learned how to eat with my hands but not how to wipe with my hands… and I was okay with that. Thanks to the incredibly generous help of my post-production team and scotch, the project was completed. I’m thrilled
with the edit, the colour correct, sound design and effects (some of which I did) - provided by friends who are damn good at what they do and damn kind to work with me (sometimes on multiple occasions).
It was one of the most challenging, yet also least stressful and most fun times I’ve had shooting. The band and label have been totally positive and encouraging throughout the process. I can’t thank them enough. It means a lot when you go all out on projects and have that kind of appreciation. That’s the best reward. That and not having Delhi Belly.
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