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Video Shoots & Trespassing

Video clips for unsigned bands are difficult projects. A complete lack of money is of course the major stumbling block, so when the offer came along from a senior film student to not only film a clip for us, but to do everything else into the bargain, we jumped at the chance…

We spent a fun day filming in the countryside, trespassing on some private land so that we could use a beautiful and little-known run-down old building from the days of the nineteenth century settlers in Australia. When the location was scouted it was clearly perfect for what we had in mind, although as an amateur scouting for locations with just my dog, I found it was fairly easy to overlook the sort of logistical problems that – while not an issue for myself and my dog – can prove problematic when accompanied by seven other people, assorted guitar cases and drums, a smoke machine, bags full of clothes, camera flight cases, tripods, lighting and a diesel-powered generator. Like for example climbing over the edge of a bridge and clambering down a steep thirty-foot slope, crossing a river via stepping-stones before hacking your way through half a mile of dense bushland.

Also a handy tip – if you’re trespassing on someone else’s land, don’t bring a diesel-powered generator or a smoke machine, at least not if you have any designs on keeping your presence undetected. If it’s farmland, there will be a farmer, and if there be a farmer, there will be a gun. Still, it’s sometimes easier to seek forgiveness at the time than permission in advance, and our natural charm coupled with an obvious lack of financial assets saw us through. While the whole project cost only about a hundred dollars, we were let down rather by the senior film student getting a much more junior film student to do the final edit, which was a bit rubbish. Once more my steadfast refusal to recognise the unquestionable authority of the law of Thou Gets What Thou Pays For came back to haunt me!

Now that I think about it, this wasn’t the first video that involved an element of trespassing. Actually the words “an”, “element” and “of” are entirely redundant. We’d been looking for a large room with plain white walls to film in. A friend of Tom (the keyboard player) had said he could get us into a room at his university that fitted the bill, a room that they indeed often used for filming.

By “getting us in” I presumed he meant “arrange with the necessary authorities to borrow on the weekend”, but what he actually meant was “break in via a side door on the weekend and hope nobody spots us”. This approach actually worked up to a point – nobody did spot us, and we got some good footage. Unfortunately I put a slight spanner in the works when I walked backwards while filming a vocal shot, misjudged my whereabouts, and stuck my foot right through the wall, leaving a sizeable hole and some not unconvincing evidence that perhaps someone had maybe been using the room that day.

Despite my protestations that having broken into the room without being caught we couldn’t possibly be held responsible for the damage, Tom and his friend successfully guilt-tripped me into promising to repair the damage I had caused. Which meant on Sunday morning I had to pop down the hardware store, purchase some filler and some paint, gather up a not inconsiderable amount of newspaper to plug a hole the size of a size 11 shoe, and break in once again to the university to repair the damage of the initial breaking and entering. Of course plaster tends to take a while to dry, so not only did I have to break in and fill and plaster the hole, I then had to come back later and break in for a third time so that I could sand down the plaster when it had dried, and then paint it. I have to say, the security at the university was clearly in need of an overhaul.

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