Making Cool Shit: The Music Videos of OK Go at LA Film Festival

Posted by Caleb Jackson on June 15, 2015 in Event Coverage

Contributor Post

Photo courtesy of WireImage and Film Independent

Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of seeing a showcase of most of OK GO’s elaborate and memorable music videos at LA Film Festival. If you’re at all familiar with their material, then you understand the the truly epic scale of their work, and why seeing it on the big screen would make for a unique experience. This event screened all but a few of their videos, starting with “A Million Ways,” which was an ode to music video genius Michel Gondry. Present at the event was frontman Damian Kulash, who spoke about the progression of that video - it wasn’t intended to be anything official, but it had more downloads than sold copies of that album so they figured it was worth pursuing further - so they called in some favors, including his sister, who was a professional ballet dancer, and made their first official video.

Damian also talked about how the more complex videos like “The Writing’s on the Wall” and “Needing/Getting” were produced, and how things got more difficult when more money came in to the picture. Since the band were riffing on the ideas themselves, and not a huge budget, they had to reign in a lot of free/cheap help, even putting up postings on Mindshare to recruit engineers (of which there were about 60 contributing on that one video!) However, Kulash lamented to the reality that things get less fun and creative when there is more money involved, claiming that “Needing/Getting” ran into problems because “Once you start succeeding at something, people don’t wanna not get paid."

He also delved into the other projects, and elaborated on the morale that exists on their projects, and how it is distinctly different from most “film projects” because most of them are one take, so nobody, “down to the guy sweeping” quits until it’s been done as best as possible, but when they nail it, everybody gets excited. He also talked about how much they love shooting in Japan, and gave up a little of their magic for “I Won’t Let You Down.” It was a drone, in case you we’re wondering.

Caleb Jackson is a Tucson native, Los Angeles based writer and director who spends his time pretending he lives in any decade besides this one. He tends to enjoy music videos with a little bit of narrative and a lot of bright colorful lights.

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