Adam WarRock quit his full-time job as a lawyer in June 2010 to pursue a career in music. You can read his YOMYOMF guest blog describing his experiences here.
Every year around the anniversary of leaving his job, he has a donation drive to raise funds to keep releasing tons of free content each year. This is the only time of the year he has a donate button, he’s never done a kickstarter or fundraiser, and funds everything associated with his indie music career out of pocket. Donate any amount, and get tons of exclusive content as a thank you. Donate here.
In celebration of this two year anniversary, he’s released his first official music video. Here’s some things he learned while doing it:
1. Everyone does indeed have a bad side. Edit around it. Staring at your face is like being at the barber shop, staring at yourself in the mirror for a while, noticing how OLD you suddenly look. After a while, you don’t even notice yourself, you’re just looking at some dude who you have to make look good as possible. It’s a very weird, existential exercise.
2. Lip synching is way harder than you think. Even when you can perfectly enunciate the lyrics, your mouth probably doesn’t move in a way that looks at all realistic on camera. So you’re having to overexaggerate everything. It’s more exhausting than you’d imagine.
3. I showed my mom an unfinished draft, and her only critique was “You need to have a pretty girl somewhere in it.” When we shot the last day, Joey, my photographer, had a friend stop by, marking the first girl that was anywhere near our shoots (not that we are a no girls allowed tree house, the most crew we had was 3 people total, including myself, and we just happened to be guys). I told her to just jump up and be in the video for a couple of seconds because my mom’s words rang in my ears. When I sent the video off to friends, almost every single person’s first comment was “Who’s the girl?” So what I’m saying is: always listen to your mother.
4. The best parts always come from total accidents or on-the-spot improvisations. We were supposed to shoot in a white space studio, but it didn’t work out. So we just drove to a park that had an outdoor stage with white walls and projected images on the wall. While on stage, we looked out at the grass and the street lamps in the distance, and we framed a really beautiful shot with the night backdrop. I had some index cards and wrote some words, and Joey just sat on the stage and shot out, with me against the nightlights. Those are my favorite shots in the video. They look way better than anything in a studio would’ve been.
5. Drive around with a camera shooting outside the car, strangers will dance in their cars for you.
6. Your gesticulations look really weird on camera. No, trust me. They do.
7. Little things become incredibly difficult. That last shot of me throwing the McDonald’s bag on the table? That took maybe about 18 takes to get right. I’m not even joking.
8. Keep the camera rolling. If even for some outtakes that we missed because we cut the camera off, I would’ve just liked to have those for posterity. But some of those candid shots in the video were from when we were probably waiting for something to be set up or just resetting a shot.
9. The extra effort is worth it. I must’ve had a final edit at least six times, and some nagging thing in the video kept bothering me. I thought i could live with it, but it drove me crazy. It was totally worth the time of editing and reprocessing the file to not be miserable every time I saw one thing that bothered me. There’s literally only one shot in the entire video that I’m at all unhappy with.
10. Smile. We worked hard to make the video a celebration of a lot of things: the power of music, two years of full-time music work, just the sheer accomplishment of us finishing this undertaking. And everyone has told me that the thing they like the most about the video is that it feels personal and joyful. Unless you make death thrash metal or whatever, levity connects over anything else. Also, you’re making a music video: isn’t it supposed to be fun?