Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One More Time with Feeling

Let me tell you all a little something about Sophie Muller

Good performances come from the heart, and while I was working out in LA no director could pull passion from a performer quite like Sophie Muller.

I was able to work with Sophie on the set of Selena Gomez music video "Good for You". She sat in a laid back green recliner watching a monitor while Selena performed, and after a couple takes they would sit together and talk about her performance. Now "Good for You", as you can tell just from one listen, is a fairly complex song. It's an attempt to put into the words the pride and passion we feel when we want to look good for a person precious to us. It's a song that applies equally to both men and women, and it's a song that is hard to put a visual to. But Sophie did it, and she did a fantastic job.

Sophie's music video's are unique in that they encapsulate the very feeling that the artist seeks to convey through the song.

There's no story to be told here, but rather we are presented with a wealth of sensory information. The way Selena is lit makes us feel like we've just woken up next to her. Her sleepy way of singing and soporific expression conveys to us that we are in an intimate place here. The way she dresses, revealing in a way that only comfy morning clothes are. All of this is done to bring us into Selena's headspace, this is what SHE feels when she sings this song.

Just to further help me illustrate my point, take a look at a music video that she directed early on in her career.

That soft light that so delicate fell upon Selena is no where to be found here, instead Annie Lennox is blasted with a spotlight so bright that on that day she was probably visible from space. Annie doesn't pay any attention to the viewer, instead she cocks her head triumphantly to an invisible audience and gives a performance that it is far more theatrical in nature. We get an uneasy feeling from watching this, it's a satire of course, but presented in a way that seems all to familiar.

Both songs are about feeling, or at least wanting to feel beautiful Yet we can tell from the visuals that there is a distinct contextual difference.

Selena want's to be beautiful in a way that feels comfortable. We see her at her most vulnerable, and in that way we feel as though we've entered an intimate space.

Annie, is presented in a way that makes her look unobtainable, the camera never wants to get in too close. Her body language is closed off and she moves in way that only a jewelry box ballerina can.

Sophie does so much to communicate the emotional weight behind the artist's work, and I cannot think of a single director that can bring out a performance in the way she can!

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