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Death Cab for Cutie "I Will Possess Your Heart" Dirs: Aaron Stewart-Ahn & Shawn Kim

8 and a half minutes!

Youtube short version

MTV Overdrive

Performance Only Version (mp4)

...anyone got a quicktime?

mva, April 15, 2008 at 12:56:14 AM CEST

the disparity between the performance footage and narrative is too big, no?

progosk, April 15, 2008 at 7:06:09 AM CEST

well, perhaps so... nonetheless: had me travelling with her.

jesse.ewles, April 15, 2008 at 1:04:34 PM CEST

Fictional tourists always visit the same spots. :) I'm really digging the longer format stuff people are releasing these days. -j

boey, April 15, 2008 at 8:10:11 PM CEST

I agree MVA..I do like the performance location, wish more was happening around there instead.

bodysong, April 15, 2008 at 11:19:26 PM CEST

Aaron if you're gonna bring this girl around the globe, I'm hoping there was at least some romance linked to it. i know that might sound sexist, but if this isn't the most elaborate way to make a girl sleep with you I don't know what else is....

hiconcept, April 15, 2008 at 11:37:59 PM CEST

Thats a little rude previous commenter...unless its true.

Interesting, some really nice moments...Any semi-productive thoughts on how this relates to that awesome video with the South American girl traveling to see that nondescript Dutch band?

progosk, April 16, 2008 at 12:53:24 AM CEST

well, johan did strike pretty strongly, back then. oddly enough, aaron/otaku removed his own comments from the thread...

aaron stewart ahn, April 16, 2008 at 1:12:57 AM CEST

admittedly i liked that video at first but was very disheartened to find out the manipulation extended outside the piece itself, hence the removal of my comments, but recently i removed all my comments from antville.

for the record: i had been pitching this idea before the johan video. The original spark of this idea was for the song "transatlanticism" by this band. from 1993-2001 i lived outside the us and traveled solo a lot. but there was no budget in those days and i was a p.a. who'd never directed anything other than a five dollar video for ben gibbard's college solo project - featuring him on the london underground.

when i first saw that video i thought i'd have to kill my baby, especially given that for five years no one would ever say yes to it. but the band brought it back up when it came time to find a video for this single. and i felt my take on such a trip how i wanted to shoot it and doing it for real would produce something else entirely.

ultimately it's a very simple idea but it was reworked for this song - from something longing and romantic to possessive and obsessive - and where this band is now. integrating shawn as a codirector was planned from the start, hence the official release featuring both of our material.

given antville of late (just look above) i have decided i can't really take part any longer. too much counterproductive negativity.

if anything i was trying more to ripoff the recent bourne movies.

since the experience of my first video which was admittedly derivative, i have tried very consciously to make, for better or worse, videos that are unique - probably for the worse but it's important to me to try. so it's better for me not to even watch stuff that gets posted here to keep my head clear.

to spit, prog, najork, kevathens, and many others im forgetting and have learned a lot from and appreciated these past few years, adieu.

i'll put up a high quality quicktime later this week for antville only, will have to take it down after a day or two though if anyone wants.

progosk, April 16, 2008 at 1:47:06 AM CEST

though i don't necessarily agree the 'ville's any more snarkish these days than other times, and i actually find such so-longs to the bickering homestead somehow bittersweet - your voice'll be missed. (oh, and, for posterity: you were wrong to delete your comment-trail...) ciao (for now), aa.

spit, April 16, 2008 at 8:36:44 AM CEST

Awwww Aaron... Come on! I feel like most of the negativity on this site can be traced back to one simple misconception about the music industry/music video production industry. And here it is...*

During the 90's music videos became a huge deal. Budgets were through the roof, competition was crazy, and mv's were on the cutting edge of filmmaking. For a period of time, guys like Glazer, Jonze, and Gondry were able to take advantage of the huge budgets and create some really sophisticated, over-the-top, breakthrough work. The bar was raised to the point where a music video wasn't just a fun commercial for a song anymore, it was meant to be an epic visual event with never-before-seen concepts and effects. Heck, for a while MTV even included a 'breakthrough' award at the VMA's that honored videos that had broken new creative ground.

Unfortunately, the conditions that allowed for those types of videos have dissolved. Some large budgets still exist, but only for glossy pop videos, not for the ultra cool alternative videos we remember from the 90s. These days, the types of bands that would have commanded 300-500k budgets for Gondry or Jonze are more likely to garner around 25-50k if they're lucky. Budgets in that range are extremely difficult to work with. You can forget about multiple day shoots, complicated visual effects, or multiple locations.**

Unfortunately, the average music fan/MV aficionado/youtube commentar/antville troll doesn't know about any of these changes in the industry. They assume that nothing has changed since the golden age of music videos, and they can't understand why the new crop of alternative/indie videos aren't as thrilling as their favorite old Bjork video. To them, the bar is still set at the mid-90's level, and unfortunately, no matter how creative today's directors are, it's hard to compete against work that had five times the budget. They figure that incompetence, lack of creativity, or music industry shenanigans are at play, and unleash tirades online about how the video is a huge disappointment/giant rip-off/teenage wes anderson with a flaccid penis. The expectations of the audience simply don't match the realities of the industry anymore, and it amounts to a lot of 'negative' comments from people who are genuinely confused as to where the MV spectacles of the past have gone.***

As far as I can tell, this is the main reason for the negativity on this site.****

* Or at least what I can gather from stories that I've overheard, old jaded industry people I've talked to, and my own personal experiences.

** Personally, nothing is more frustrating than receiving a brief from a major label that asks for a video that looks like a feature film and has a 'memorable visual twist' for 20k. For 20k we can barely afford one of those demands. Sheesh...

*** Not to say that really great music videos aren't made anymore. Or that small budgets never amount to anything noteworthy. Some of my favorite music videos from the past 5 years have been made on relatively small budgets.

**** Also, take into consideration that the anonymity+audience equation makes any site with unmoderated comments a breeding ground for frustrated people saying bitter, ugly things. Anytime I start to feel like humanity might be pretty good, a quick scan of ANY video on youtube with more than 5 comments will immediately bring me back to reality.

commissionergordan, April 16, 2008 at 1:32:18 PM CEST

Well said.

matei-alexandru mocanu, April 16, 2008 at 2:57:24 PM CEST

at first i was ready to dismiss it as yet another 'lonely planet' kind of travelogue. however, once i started watching it, not only have i realized i was able to sit thru it, but also that i was enjoying it a lot. at 8 minutes it seems neither too long nor too boring. it keeps my interest levels up - hell, my attention span for all things online is no longer than 1-2 mins - and it conveys so powerful a sense of wanderlust that it makes me wanna start backpacking.

well, kind of. bottom line: i like it

hassinator, April 16, 2008 at 7:15:59 PM CEST

hey spit

i had to chip in here: your post is spot on but we should though celebrate that the industry is more accessibe than ever and some of my favourite videos didn't cost the earth.

in fact with 'praise you' spike gave us half our budget back.

there is a first (and last) time for everything


captainmarc22, April 16, 2008 at 8:05:51 PM CEST

hmmmm not sure how this post turned into 'the state of music videos' but thought i'd chime in.

I actually think there are WAY more talented directors out now than there were 10-15 years ago. The whole DIY post production and cheap cameras have really lowered the entrance barrier for a lot of directors. Think of how many celebrated directors have popped up based on a slick looking no-budget spec video. Budgets aren't as big as they used to be, but we are seeing a lot more great little videos.

Seriously, have you watched your average 90s video not directed by Jonze/Gonry/Glazer? 95% of them are booooooring. Performance footage and cut to stock footage. Strobey shots of the band walking around. Nowadays, NOBODY does crap that bad.

Yeah, it's too bad budgets are down, but so many great ideas can transcend that.

My thoughts on the video: I really dug it. It's unique. Less boring 8 minutes than a lot of 3 minute clips. I do wish there was some explanation or conclusion for her story, but that's just me. And was she bored or melancholy? I would be smiling if I was in India! Definitely has the Lost in Translation vibe going on.

aaron stewart ahn, April 17, 2008 at 2:25:15 AM CEST

quicktime here, only for a few days.

clearfilms, April 17, 2008 at 3:44:20 AM CEST

I enjoyed the video.

As per the music video state discussion... I'm new to the game and from what I've been gathering over the past few months is a little disheartening. Whenever I have an idea about a video I get so stressed out that someone somewhere thought of something similar and my video will get shot down with a barrage of negativity. Nevertheless we all do our thing. Can't really let people get to ya!

najork, April 17, 2008 at 8:12:27 AM CEST

Nice work. Very well paced/shot. Was it just a gang of 3 on the road?

I might change my mind if I was directing, but I tend to think total indifference is the most disheartening response to get. It's good to reach viewers, even if a certain percentage is going to be tactless.

shatner, April 17, 2008 at 7:50:19 PM CEST

Couldn't agree more with spit's comment. It's tough out there.

The expectations of the audience do push you though. The bar is so high that coming up with an idea can, quite frankly, be like climbing a mountain. Exhausting but ultimately pays off.

The bigger challenge facing video makers today is: how does one pay for ones food?

captainbob, April 18, 2008 at 1:51:41 AM CEST

some interesting things are being said. There is no formula for what makes a great video. My favorite videos tend to be ones that aren't solely based on a visual gimmick, even if they do have one in there. But sometimes a visual gimmick is so fresh and awesome that it rises above, and can inspire the viewer and bring a smile to their soul. what is very dissapointing is to see 10 people do the exact same gimmick, without any other themes or additions to their videos. That's what I find frusterating on here most of the time. But then there is the other side of it, how everyone is so afraid to repeat something, that they start coming up with worse ideas just because they haven't been done before. "uh let's seee, nobody has done stopmotion with pubes yet, lets do that." But really if a video is inspired and well crafted, then the fact that a few of the effects have been used before doesn't matter at all.

hewphewp, April 30, 2008 at 8:26:11 PM CEST

omg you director's have it sooooo hard. try getting a real fucking job you pansies.


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