Video Chats: Hiro Murai on Collaborating with Childish Gambino
Posted by Doug Klinger on January 15, 2014 in Interviews
Leading up to the release of his album Because the Internet, Childish Gambino shared three different Hiro Murai-directed video projects: a 25-minute short film called Clapping For The Wrong Reasons, an album trailer called yaphet kotto, and a music video for the song 3005. As someone who has spent time both writing and acting for television, its no surprise that an artist like Childish Gambino would take on more unique videos projects like this, and just like he was able to do with Earl Sweatshirt, Hiro once again proves the be the perfect partner for a hip hop artist who wants to do something outside the box that still represents them as an artist. We talked to Hiro about working with Childish on each of the projects, how they relate to each other, and whether or not DP Kevin Phillips is a robot.
Doug: How did your collaborations with Childish Gambino begin? Were each of the videos planned at once, or at least talked about at once, or did the projects come one by one?
Hiro: I met Donald around the beginning of summer last year. We talked about doing something for his album but nothing specific. Then he reached out to me a few weeks later about doing a short film as part of the album rollout. We started working together from there. The projects came one by one, but I think there's a natural continuity to all of the content weve made.
Doug: Did you guys come up with all of the concepts together? As someone with a significant film and TV background, is Childish significantly involved with the video side of things on these projects?
Hiro: I dont think I wrote a single pitch to him about any of the projects - which is really unusual. Weve sat around and tossed around ideas from scratch, but a lot of the times he would already have the basic idea of what he wanted. We would just build off of his initial seed of an idea. Ive never really worked this way with any artist before but it was a fun collaboration.
Doug: Is there a different approach to each project, since they're all technically different styles of video?
Hiro: Yes and no. Each project is really different in format (short film, album teaser, music video), but we approached all of them like its a continuous universe to give it a cohesive tone.
Doug: RapGenius has a screenplay for Clapping For The Wrong Reasons listed in their poetry section. Did you guys have an actual screenplay for that project, or was it more improvised?
Hiro: The script for Clapping was maybe a two page email that Donald sent me, plus some scenes that I pitched. And a lot of it was made up on the fly; dialogue, and sometimes entire scenes. It was funny to see the movie in a formal script format after the fact.
Doug: There is both a YouTube version of Clapping For The Wrong Reasons and a version that's on a continuous loop. Why did you guys decide to release the film in two places?
Hiro: The movie was always meant to be very loosely structured and tonal. I wanted it to feel almost like background music - not forcing the viewers attention on anything specific but just existing. So the idea of a looping live stream that you could jump into at any moment was really interesting to me. I think you get more out of the movie when you dont have expectations of a linear narrative - and I think the streaming version compliments that.
Theres also something troll-y about the movie. Its intentionally obtuse and absurd - almost baiting. So I liked the idea of putting it in a platform that was unique to the web. But of course we wanted another version so people can watch it / share it normally, hence YouTube.
Heres a picture of a turd to undercut the pretentiousness of the last two paragraphs.
Doug: Was "yaphet kotto" shot at the same house Clapping For The Wrong Reasons was shot at?
Hiro: The short film was shot at a mansion in the Palisades. The "yaphet kotto" album teaser was shot at Ludwig Goranssons house (who produced a bulk of the album with Donald).
Doug: It's been fun to go through the YouTube comments on "3005" and see people try to "figure out" what is going on. Is there a deeper metaphor behind the bear, the ferris wheel, and the action in this video, or was everything more influenced by visual and stylistic goals?
Hiro: The "3005" video, like every other video Ive done, is about the Illuminati. And 9/11.
Doug: How did you guys technically pull off "3005"? Was the bear actually a puppet? Does Kevin Phillips fly and have a torso that somehow rotates 360 degrees?
Hiro: The bear was a puppet, but we realized last minute that there was no way to fit a puppeteer in the carriage with Donald and the camera. So after considering a bunch of different options I just asked Donald to puppeteer it. So in the video, hes actually controlling the bear with his left hand while he performs. For some reason I assumed hed be really good at it, and he was.
Kevin Phillips is definitely a humanoid robot who can transform into a helicopter camera - heres a photo of him in action
but this time we used a remote controlled slider and head that we controlled from the ground level instead. It was almost as cool as Kevin.
3005, childish gambino, clapping for the wrong reasons, hiro murai, video chats, yaphet kotto
Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.
Posted by Caleb Jackson on January 30, 2016 in Interviews Contributor Post
Phil Mucci is a filmmaker who has made a name for himself directing visual effects and animation based music videos for bands such as Disturbed, Pig Destroyer, and Torche, among other metal acts in recent years. His work is astoundingly innovative, and really pushes the limits of what can be… Read More
Posted by Doug Klinger on February 9, 2015 in Interviews
Last week, director David Wilson gave us the first mind-blowing music video of 2015 with the release of Out Of The Black by Royal Blood, co-directed by Superjail! creator Christy Karacas. The half animated, half live action video is packed full of over the top violence that is equal parts fun… Read More
Posted by Doug Klinger on November 23, 2014 in Interviews
Inspired by our Art of Music Videos social media project, Music Video Walkthrough is a blog series where directors walk us through their music videos using several images. This time, director Derek Beck walks us through the sharply edited video for "Company" by Caddywhompus - a seven month long labor… Read More
Posted by Doug Klinger on September 18, 2014 in Interviews
Inspired by our Art of Music Videos social media project, Music Video Walkthrough is a blog series where directors walk us through their music videos using several still images. We begin this series with director Carlos Lopez Estrada and his video for "Inside Out" by Clipping, which features frontman Daveed Diggs headless and walking through downtown… Read More
- Jason Baum's Top 10 Music Videos of 2017
- Jason Baum's Top 10 Music Videos of 2016
- Caleb Jackson's Top Ten of 2016
- The Perez Brothers' Top 10 Music Videos of 2016
- John Merizalde's Top Music Videos of 2016
- Andrea Allen's Top 10 Music Videos of 2016
- BRTHR's VR Fantasy for "Diamonds" by Keith Ape ft. Jedi P
- UKMVAs Call For Entries
- Cool New Music Video: "Mad At You" by 3oh!3
- Cool New Music Video: Hunger by Pekko
- December 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- Behind the Scenes
- Cool New Music Videos
- Doms Sketch Cast
- Event Coverage
- Hall of Fame
- Interactive Music Videos
- Lost & Found
- Most Popular Music Videos
- Music Video Premieres
- Music Video Relapse
- New Releases
- Original Content
- Site News
- Taped Before A Live Studio Audience
- This Week in Music Videos
- Video Previews
- Videos I <3
Content on the IMVDb blog is ©2012-2018 IMVDb and FilmedInsert, LLC. All Rights Reserved.