I recently had two opportunities to shoot with the band The Neon Trees. I have always prided myself on treating people equal from a first time production assistant to a Celebrity Icon, and this was no exception.
The first time we filmed the band was at an LA recording studio. The best part about this band is the fact they didn’t take themselves to seriously, but they did (like most people) take direction on what we needed to get the shot. As we were getting ready to roll I casually asked where the name came from. Tyler (the lead singer), somewhat embarrassed, said – you know how In-n-Out Burger uses neon palm trees on their stores – as if it was stupid. Being a Southern California native, I thought it was totally cool, and I can no longer go to In-N-Out with out thinking of them the Neon Trees.
The second encounter was at a benefit concert at a high school in Murrieta. I thought out loud during a pre-production meeting, “watch, we’ll probably end up shooting in a band room or something”. Sure enough, there we were, in a instrument cluttered, quintessential band room (which I never personally spent much time in in HS for the record), but it looked just like it should. I had only 20 minutes with them prior to the concert and needed to have a 4 person interview. We ended up stealing a run down couch from the room next door and set it up facing backwards, because, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, having someone sit takes the energy out of any interview/testimonial. The band came in, and I had them sit/lean in the edge of the back of the couch 1,2,3 and 4. What ensued was a 20 minute question and answer that was interesting to watch, but also proved to me, once again, that even rock stars are just people, and when you get 4 friends together and make them comfortable, you can’t help but get good video!
And I learned an important thing about interviewing four people, in a band room, on an old run down couch…it’s not the environment as much as it is the content – and they are just good people ~ KH