Note: Frequent visitors to this website will recognize the name Matthew Ward. Matt is a friend of mine from college, who now works on amazing projects in Hollywood. When he isn’t working on VFX for Robert Zemeckis or DP’ing animated features, he directs & shoots music videos for his favorite bands. Case in point is this rockin’ production he created a few weeks ago.
Matt describes his work as “a serious production with limited tools,” and that uncompromising quality shows in all his work. Luckily for us, Matt was generous enough to share an exclusive Behind The Scenes look at the production of this video, just for CrewOfOne readers!
Matt, How did you get this fantastic assigment?
Back in 2010, I shot a music video for bay area musician Megan Slankard and her band. The video featured a crowded restaurant, so we thought it would be fun to fill the crowd with other bay area musicians, producers, and creative types working within the music industry around town. One of those people was musician Jeff Campbell, who was already making a big name for himself and his band, Pine & Battery, and he had also been touring and performing with Megan at solo acoustic shows, so I had heard him perform a few times before. After we met at Megan’s shoot, we bumped into each other from time to time and eventually he gave me a few of his albums. I put them through rotation at home and really got into his music. I wrote him and expressed an interest in working with him on a video whenever he was ready to share some new work. A few years later, he released his (current) EP, “In Spite of Everything” and he called me right up.
Turns out Jeff and Megan were dating, as well, which eventually had me land her in his video (she’s the gorgeous blonde peeking from behind him in several shots). They’re kind of blooming into the Carly Simon and James Taylor of the San Francisco Bay Area.
We landed somewhere in the middle, though I have a hard time not treating ANY project I do as “guerilla.” I just assume it’s a serious production with limited tools.
For “Save Me,” I used it as an opportunity to test out (and price out) a low-prod/low-budget shoot as I had been getting a few requests to fly with equipment to work with clients out of the area. To do that successfully, it required some planning, a budget, and some contacts in the area to help with it all. I had to get scouting shots sent to me, relay questions back and forth about existing light, the location, all without being able to be there prior to the shoot. And based on the concept, Jeff and I had agreed on a budget and as co-producers, we vetted everything that the budget was to help with. Though the budget wasn’t in the 6-digits, we treated it as a big budget shoot. And although we weren’t using the best equipment, we didn’t skimp on what we needed to do the shoot properly. With any project, I obsess with the pre-production planning. It’s the Eagle Scout in me… “Be Prepared.”
During these pre-production processes, Jeff and I built up some serious trust and I think we were impressed with each other’s insane work ethic. This only helped move us forward and better set us up for even more trust required on the day of the shoot.