Anatomy of a video shoot

By melissa

"Do you want to be in the new KILLERS video? Call this casting agency - they're looking for people. And give them my name, too, okay?"
omgvideo! Thus began my second excursion into the world of the music video (we'll not mention the fiasco that was The Bluetones 'Fast Boy', okay?). So I rang up the number my friend Nina gave me, and discovered the shoot was happening on Monday, around the corner on Brick Lane, and that I was in the right age group they wanted. I was told to arrive at 1pm and to wear what I would to a gig, but wear neutral colours ONLY. I mean, we don't want to show up the band in a purple catsuit or anything...

So the day rolls around and Nina and I eventually find the shoot location (funny that car parks don't really match up with actual street addresses), where about 40 assorted indie kids are sitting around a tourbus and a portable office. I was told over the phone that there were only going to be about 15 of us, but at this point I'm feeling a bit nervous so having a bunch of other kids there lessens the blow a bit. So we fill out some consent forms and then the band and the director come over and explain that the video is going to be an upbeat and Group Binspiring number, with the band walking down Brick Lane in a jovial mood. Our job is to join the band, one by one, greet them like we're best friends, and then carry on clapping and smiling behind them. "You'll all get screentime, so you've got to do a bit of acting here, people!"

Immediately we're thrust back to grade school playground, though, as he lines us all up, and picks out people, one by one, to join "The A Group". I see people walk off, greet friends with relieved faces in Group A, and eventually, Nina goes, too. I'm stuck in Group B, aka The Social Leper Group. Assymetrical haircuts, not quite right clothes, bad posture, check. Suddenly this doesn't seem as fun anymore, as I watch Group A saunter off to the street to start shooting. Us Bs are told we'll have to wait around the back lot for "about an hour" while the other group does its part of the shooting first, and then we'll join them.

I'll not detail the next 3 hours, sitting around the picnic tables, shredding paper cups and discovering the rest of the lepers are far, far younger than me and have yet to pick up any of the jaded cynicism around the dirty music industry. It's rather endearing, and they are all genuinely nice people, but I video in motion! couldn't help think that this was going to be a waste of an afternoon. I'd forgotten all the stories I've heard from film extras, that filming is generally 90% waiting and only 10% excitement.

Finally, we're brought out and paired off and given our spots about 5 feet apart on the street. They haven't closed off the road, so we've got to stop traffic to actually shoot, meaning we had a lot of angry drivers when they actually were allowed to pass through. The shooting itself goes really quickly - the big group of the band, gospel choir, and the other extras head towards us down the street, then the pairs in front of us greet Brandon by shaking hands, a quick peck on the cheek, or a big hug. I did a little something different each time, but the take that made it to the final cut ended up being one where I just skirted around the side and greeted one of the other band members. Typical. We did a few different shots of us looking directly into the camera like it was Brandon, but as it turned out, none of these were used at all.

The shooting took about an hour, and after finally reuniting with Nina, I realised exactly how grateful I was to be in the B Group. Whereas we just sat around for 3 hours, the As had to walk around with fake plastic grins, clapping and cheering the entire time - and well, I'll take being bored over being exhausted any day.

Fast-forward to last Friday. A video tape arrives in our office. THE video. Up until this point, I wasn't sure I'd even be in it, a victim of the cutting room floor. But I ended up having a good 2-3 seconds of screentime, and even though my "greeting" was cut (I blame my partner for wearing a bright red - obviously not neutral - vest), Nina's was, too, which made us even. And in the world of film, you've got to be pleased if you make it on screen at all.


WATCH THE VIDEO: LO - MED - HI (Look for me at about 3 minutes in, on the left side with the pink badge)

The Killers Official Site
'All These Things That I've Done' is out 30 August and conveniently, the video is on the cd.