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Realistic Love Songs of the ‘80’s

October 6, 2009

Neil’s Blog Entry

Okay so I’ve already told you all that I love my job. But every once in a while I get to work on a project that so exceeds awesomeness that I have to share it here on the blog.

Working in video for the past ten years or so I’m no stranger to doing fake commercials or parodies of beloved icons. But it is very rare that I get to do both on the same project.

Several weeks ago at work, we were talking about all those cheesy love songs from the 80’s and 90’s and – if you actually paid attention to the words – how ridiculous they were. How they painted a picture of relationships and the world in general that was so very, very narcissistic. If we weren’t where we wanted to be with that certain boy or girl, we simply put on a Simply Red record and “WhamBamThankYouMaam!” If you get my meaning. The point being that we seldom meant any of those words we were singing, but in order to further our own goals in our relationships, we would sing them as often and with as much feeling as we possibly could.

Now I’ll admit this is ever so slightly jaded, but we thought how funny it would be if someone re-wrote those love songs with lyrics that were more truthful… more realistic. We also thought an album of such songs would probably be a best seller and so we decided we needed to make a commercial for “Realistic Love Songs of the 80’s.”

The Process
My friend Kyle and I wrote the script as the music guys got started re-writing love songs. Once the music was written, we shot our two singers – decked out in the finest 80’s gear – in a studio lit with candles and a big disco ball. As an interesting side note, we actually recorded the singers’ audio while recording them on video. It was a bit more work for the production team, but I liked the idea that I wouldn’t have to spend any time tweaking bad lip sync takes. Anyway, once the video was shot, it was given to me for motion graphics and post production.

One of the things I love about this type of project is that I can make stuff look as “bad” as I want… as if the people selling this wonderful product simply had no money, no time or no desires for good production values. So I began to familiarize myself with the finer points of TV commercials from K-Tel International and Time Life Music.

The 80’s were full of bad motion graphics and design and it was fun to take some of that and put it into the graphics. The logo for the album, you’ll see, is a great example of this. Plus, I love the fact that we use the same piece of stock footage over and over and over again. Not much was done to the live footage – it already looked great right from the camera. I put a bit of a soft glow to soften it up but that was about it.

Another thing I like about doing these fake commercials is all the teeny tiny text that appears at the bottom of the screen and the fast talking voice-over-guy, both of which inform buyers of side effects and hidden dangers should they actually attempt to use the product. SNL did a great parody of this type of thing years ago with Happy Fun Ball. Anyway, I love to put silly things like that in there – whether it’s done by voice-over or by on-screen text. Recently I’ve been fascinated by all those nebulous drug commercials. You know? The one you’re not sure what it’s for, but you’re pretty sure you need to be taking? So, on this particular piece, I put in a great line that eventually got cut from the final video. It read: “See your doctor if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours, because that’s way more time than you wanted to spend with her anyway.” I don’t care who you are, that’s funny. I replaced that line in the final – see if you can find it.

So that’s a lot to be said about making a fake commercial. But you can go watch it now. Hope you enjoy it.

Still with no pithy catchphrase,

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 7, 2009 8:38 am

    Love the 1-800-LIE-TO-ME. A little DM reference, perhaps?

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