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Video Chats: Carlos Lopez Estrada on "Kangaroo Short" by Capital Cities

Posted by Doug Klinger on February 7, 2014 in Interviews

Staff Post

carlos lopez estrada

Yesterday, Capital Cities and director Carlos Lopez Estrada released Kangaroo Short, the short film version of their music video “Kangaroo Court,” which was one of our favorites of last year. About two times the length of the music video, Kangaroo Short does not include any Capital Cities music, but instead features an original score from composer John W. Snyder that gives the film a much darker, more realistic feel. The length also lets the viewer spend more time with the characters, making the tragic ending that much more impactful. We talked to Carlos about how the short film version came together and how it compares to the music video.

Kangaroo Short

Doug: Why did you guys decided to release a short film version of the music video?

Carlos: The concept for the video was originally conceived by Ryan and Sebu as a narrative so we were all very interested in the possibility of turning the video into a lengthier short. I think the actual idea originally came from those College Humor "Music Videos Without Music" shorts, which are great. We thought we could do something similar but then thought we could probably even turn it into more of a "short" with a new score and some extra footage. Next thing you know, we're re-editing, re-coloring, scoring, and sound designing the video.

Doug: Despite not having any actual music by Capital Cities in the video, do you feel like the short film still serves as a way to promote the In A Tidal Wave of Mystery album?

Carlos: I'm not sure... I think people are probably mostly confused about what this exactly is, but hopefully a few people out there will appreciate it. I am just glad that the band and the label wanted to make this and didn't feel obligated to turn it into an album sampler. I never thought they would be okay without any Capital Cities music but they all loved John's work so we went for it. I think it's great of them to put it out there as promotional material even thought it is not necessarily going to promote their music.

Doug: Did all of the footage come from the original shoot, or did you have a pickup day for the short film version?

Carlos: All of it was shot back in July. We had two units shooting for two days and we ended up with more footage than we ever imagined. I am glad we were able to do this because James Lees (2nd unit director) and Todd Banhazl (2nd unit DP) shot such wonderful things that we weren't able to use on the original music video simply because of time restrictions.

Doug: The short film feels a lot darker without a pop song behind it, did you guys anticipate that would happen?

Carlos: I don't think we really knew what to expect from it. It sounded like a fun idea but it also felt like it could end up being a huge waste of time. I don't think I liked it until I heard the full score that John wrote for it. He is such a talented composer and he truly transported the project into another world. I actually think I like this cut better now. I saw the video again and for some reason it feels like a trailer for this longer version. No, I'm kidding, I like the video too.

Doug: What was the process of scoring the short film? Did John W. Snyder fly solo on that, or were you guys involved in the process? Did you guys capture any audio during the original shoot or was 100% of the audio done in post?

Carlos: We had a few meetings to talk about the general mood we were after, but John is fully responsible for creating all the music for the short. He not only wrote everything in a little under a week, but he also managed to put together a group of 15 musicians to perform the score live. Everything you hear on this version was played by local musicians in a studio in Santa Monica.


capital cities, carlos lopez estrada, kangaroo court, kangaroo short, video chats

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.



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