Earlier this summer I had the privilege of working on a professional music video down in LA. A friend of mine had asked if I was interested and I squirmed at the idea. Music video? Los Angeles? Hell yeah! What kind of aspiring musician would I be to pass up an opportunity like that? So after a few weeks of planning, we packed our instruments and jumped into a Prius to begin our adventure down the coast.
There were a total of 3 of us: Dane, Kienan and myself. I knew Dane through mutual friends and had jammed with him on multiple occasions. I had never met Kienan before, however, so I could only hope that we’d get along well. Something about going on a road trip and being in the car for 18 hours with a stranger wasn’t the most appealing thing to me at the time.
Regardless, I stepped outside my comfort zone and opened up a bit. Luckily, we hit it off great! All 3 of us being musicians gave us plenty to talk about. Actually from Seattle to Portland, that was all we talked about. We took turns listening to each others music which I thought was pretty cool. I was also introduced to some rad new bands including Nothing More, Safetysuit, and Magic! Check em out.
Before I knew it we were already in Oregon. Since we had left pretty late in the day (came straight from work) it had already gotten dark and we needed to determine how far we wanted to go before sleeping. After some debate, we ultimately decided to just get a hotel in Portland and wake up really early for an all day trip the next day. That’s the fun thing about road trips- you get to improvise.
We hauled our gear inside and got ready for bed. After a good nights sleep(At least for me anyway) and some surprisingly delicious hotel breakfast food, we hit the road again. It turned out Kienan had went out the previous night to a bar with an old friend he hadn’t seen in years. Needless to say, he was passed out in the back of the car for the next few hours of the trip ha.
We drove almost the rest of the way to the California border in silence, just enjoying nature and its beautiful scenery. Well that’s not true entirely. Somewhere along the way we cranked the music up and rolled the windows down. It’s never an official road trip till you do that at least once. I definitely had one of those “Life is good,” moments; feeling like a dog with a fat smile, wind blowing into my face and happy as could be.
We finally stopped for a bite to eat and rested in Northern California. It felt like we had made tons of progress, but that was when I learned how long California actually was- we were barely over half way there! We still had a good 6+ hours till we reached Bakersfield. Fortunately Dane’s cousin Kevin was nice enough to let us stay at his place so we didn’t need to find a hotel in LA.
We hit the road again looking to make good time with some extra incentive from Kevin letting us know he’d have burgers ready when we arrive. The next couple hours consisted of us spontaneously shouting “burgers!” dreaming of the moment we could feast on them…
After the adrenaline died down we settled down and relaxed a bit. You’d think we would run out of things to talk about in an 18 hour drive, but that was hardly the case. We discussed religion, philosophy, politics, and space among tons of other ideas. It was really cool to talk about controversial subjects and hear the differences of opinion. Something about being in a car that long seems to spark conversation of that kind.
Finally, after 16 hours of driving we arrived at Kevin’s place. I got out of the car and took the biggest stretch of my life. Upon entering the house, not only did we smell the burgers cooking, but we saw a moonlit pool awaiting us. My god that pool was fantastic. That night was the definition of paradise after a grueling day of travel.
After some late night stargazing we finally hit the sack. We knew tomorrow was going to be an even longer day- we still needed to film an entire music video! The plan was to wake up early for breakfast, drive to LA and check in on set, then go check out Santa Monica. I couldn’t wait to get started.
After some early morning Starbucks and a killer homemade breakfast, we hit the road towards LA. My first impression as we arrived in the outskirts was smelly, unclean and humid. Not the kind of LA you think of when talking about Hollywood. Regardless, my excited levels were at it’s peak- we had reached our destination!
We arrived on set, checked in, and had a few hours to kill as planned. We headed out to explore the city and as we got closer towards the water, my impression of LA gradually improved and peaked when we reached Santa Monica. If it weren’t for the poor air quality in the entire LA area, Santa Monica may have won me over. It was a beautiful place with sandy beaches, interesting people and good food. Musicians filled the beaches with volleyball games going on on every half a mile. It’s definitely a place worth visiting in my opinion. Washington’s still number one in my book however, sorry California.
We headed back to the studio to start the production. I was extremely excited to get to work. When we arrived there was a good 15-20 crew members all working on set running around and getting things ready. I sat down in the corner dumbfounded by the craziness. It felt a little odd being one of the very few people not doing anything because I was an “actor.” I wanted to help, but I sat and watched.
The crew had set up a forest-like scenery with very realistic props including a fog machine and a crazy amount of lights. That’s when I got to meet Oriane, a beautiful French actress, who would be the star of the video. Shortly after greeting her the camera’s started rolling and she was incredible. Watching her made me realize how difficult acting actually was, and made me appreciate people who do it that much more. Acting is certainly not meant for everybody, and I found that the hard way when it was my turn for the camera.
20 people staring at you with the camera rolling and you needing to fake an emotion is extremely difficult. The scene was for me to be “falling in love” with the actress and to express that on film. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I gave it my best shot.
And finally after multiple tries of pretending to flirt with Oriane on camera, I finally got a decent take (at least in my mind ha). The crew also approved, we moved on, and I was relieved to be done with the difficult part.
All that was left was for the band to play together. We hit the set with our instruments and did what I knew how to do best, rock out. Before I knew it, it was 1am and we were leaving the set back to Bakersfield and eventually home. We were drained, hungry, grumpy and sleep deprived, but we were also happy. Definitely a strange feeling when you have all those emotions at once.
It was an incredible trip and definitely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Hopefully this was just the first of many to come. Wonder what’s next..