Behind the Scenes of my First Music Video!
I have been dreaming of making a music video for a while. Just after the first of the year, I was having a discussion with Chris, my producer from Rock Band Academy, about next steps for me and my music. There were a few days left of winter break and the idea of making a music video came up again. When I found out that I had the opportunity to film at an amazing location, we decided to jump on the opportunity and make it happen. Because of the generous donation of a gorgeous house to film at, I choose my song, Alice, for the music video since it fit the setting. I set out writing a storyboard and planning out what scenes to film to really bring this song to life. I enlisted a couple of friends to be actors in the video as well. After gathering props, planning out costumes and make-up, we were set to go.
Besides having the right setting for this music video, I really wanted to get into the symbolism of the song visually. My song, Alice, is clearly based on Alice and Wonderland, and takes a lot of symbolism from the traditional story. This song does have my own twist and relates Alice’s time in Wonderland to situations we all face. I have talked a little about the symbolism of this song in earlier posts, but with the addition of the music video, I wanted to explain further what it all means. I am playing the role of Alice. I go back in forth in the lyrics from first and third person to give the impression of telling the story about someone else, but also relating to that person as if I am them. Alice is dreaming during this song, so her experience down the rabbit hole does have a dream-like quality. Like all dreams, there is a piece of reality to it. Things really going on in Alice’s life are playing out in a fantasy setting. Alice faces the challenge of which path to take. She doesn’t know who her real friends are, and where she fits in. The Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter do not represent any specific people. Rather, they represent stereotypes.
The Queen of Hearts is a typical mean girl. She expects Alice to be one of the crowd. Around her Alice is expected to behave like a follower. It’s like the tall poppy syndrome. The queen wants to cut down the poppy that grows too tall because she is threatened by people who stand out. In one scene in the video, the queen mouths, “Off with her head!” (Just to be clear, my friend, Tess, who plays the queen, is a brilliant actor and is in no way a mean girl.)
The Mad Hatter represents more the situations we find ourselves mixed up in. The nonsensical tea party, the game of chess, and the game of cards represent mind games. Have you ever found yourself surrounded by “madness,” where you didn’t know what your next move should be? (I would like to thank Toby, one of the most considerate people on the planet, for humoring me and playing this role.) Alice also ponders Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. While not shown in the video, they are other characters in the madness of it all.
The spoken line, “I knew who I was this morning, but have changed a few times since then,” is an actual quote from the book. Alice recognizes that she has been changed by her time in the rabbit hole. In the end, Alice does find her own way. This is where we veer off from the traditional story a bit. As she runs down the stairs, the cards fall symbolizing, “let the chips fall where they may.” In other words, just allow things to happen without any worry or regret. Alice decides to stand up against the status quo and be the queen she is meant to be. Alice does get a bit dramatic when she rips the crown off the queen’s head. Keep in mind that she is dreaming, so this is more of a figurative gesture, and symbolizes that Alice is no longer held back by other people’s opinions. The overall theme and main point of this song is that, ”you reap what you sow.” Despite all the confusion Alice faces, this is the one thing that she knows. While this idea is originally Biblical, the point is that eventually we all have to face up to the consequences of our own actions.
There are a few props in the music video that are also noteworthy. My generous friend, Estelle, dropped a cute, bunny trinket dish from Anthropologie by my house the morning of filming to wish me luck! There is a quick shot of me holding this dish during the video.
The book on my lap when I am dozing by the tree was a Christmas gift from Tess. Since she was so kind to give her time and talent to be in this video, I was really excited to use the book as a prop.
The pastries in the tea party scene are from my favorite pastry shop, Andre’s!
The Mad Hatter is looking at a pocket watch in some scenes. This watch actually belonged to my great-great grandfather. I am wearing some meaningful jewelry in this video as well. The silver charm bracelet is a family tradition. All the girls in my family receive a charm bracelet on our seventh birthday. From then on we collect charms from trips or other meaningful events in our lives. I am also wearing a Claddagh ring. It is a traditional Irish ring featuring two hands clasping a heart and surmounted by a crown. These elements symbolize love, friendship, and loyalty. Additionally, I am wearing a heart locket to symbolize that Alice really did have her own heart all along.
Luckily, the costumes for this video came together pretty easily. We have a decent collection of costumes because my mom helps with costumes for musical theatre productions. I did have to find Alice’s blue dress, especially since it is mentioned in the lyrics. We stopped in Donna’s Dress Shop, which is a vintage shop, and found the perfect one! I did the hair and make-up for both myself and Tess.
Even though it seems that this song is complex with all of its symbolism, this was one of the easiest songs to write out of all the songs on my debut album, Just a Dreamy Idea. I wrote this song about a year and a half ago. I do think that my recorded voice sounds a little younger than I do now, but even so I think the music and concept are some of my best work.
Filming this video was a blast and definitely a high light of winter break for me! I really enjoyed the process of learning about editing video clips and what goes into making a music video. I want to thank Chris Bihuniak, and everyone else who contributed to the making of this video. So here it is- Alice, the music video! I hope you enjoy it!