Saturday, October 20, 2012

(I'm from) Western Mass: shooting the video- day 1

What up y'all!  Sorry for the lapse in blogging.  Suffice it to say, my summer on Block Island led me astray from most worldly duties.  Man!  That is a great place to hide out for a summer.  I HIGHLY recommend!

So now I'm back and I've just released the follow up to the "413" music video.  All in all, I couldn't be happier with the way "(I'm from) Western Mass" came out.  We had a great time putting it together and I think we put to rest the controversy surrounding the fact that we didn't venture far enough away from the greater Springfield area in the first video.

We shot "(I'm from) Western Mass" over the course of three days.  Rhode Island-based videographer Trevor Holden was behind the lens once again for the first two consecutive days of filming which began on Wednesday September 26th.   The forecast looked iffy so we were a bit concerned as we stopped off at my friend Dave's house to pick up the General Lee.

Dave and I have been friends since I was 13 years old.  A lifelong Dukes of Hazzard fan, he bought the 69' Dodge Charger you see in the video in 1987.  With a little TLC, the car was up and running. At the time it was painted a deep maroon and was our passport to ditch many a boring day at Agawam High School and drive to Lake Mark or Misquamicut.  I haven't been in the car since the early 90's so when I first sat in the car after so many years, my olfactories triggered an amazing sense-memory experience.  Trippy man.

After filming the opening sequence where the car pulls out of the garage, we bee lined it for Stockbridge.  Luckily, the weather held out and we got the very nice footage you see around town.  I spotted an older couple standing underneath a tree.  As the gentleman stood waiting to have his picture taken, he bent down picked up a hand full of leaves and tossed them in the air as his wife snapped away with the camera.  I asked if he minded if I stole his idea.  Thus the "I don't even care cuz' it's the Berkshires" shot.

We banged out Tanglewood, Kripalu Yoga, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Red Lion and Alice's Restaurant pretty quickly.  Back down through Beckett to get Jacob's Pillow and we were off to the Channel 22 to shoot a cameo with the infamous Sy Becker.

Sy was as warm and gracious as you could imagine.  Talk about a W. Mass icon.  When I was a kid, you didn't go see a movie unless Sy said it was ok.  His famous tagline, "I'm Sy Becker and this is another llllllllllllllllllllllllllooooook at the movies!" is up there with Bob Barker's "Please help control the pet population.  Have your pets spayed or neutered" in the pantheon of on-air sign offs.  Got a great cameo with Sy giving us his best.  Unfortunately TV 22's parent company didn't think the idea was so great and in the end we weren't allowed to include it in the video much to our (and Sy's) disappointment.  But we pressed on...

The Big E parade was next.  We pulled in and met up with DJ Hot Mess who was ready to take the wheel.  As we pulled on to the parade route I was amazed at how many people were shouting to me.  "Hey!  We LOVE your video!" or "Hey!  413!" or "Hey!  You're the 413 guy!".  When someone would yell out "Dr. Westchesterson", I made sure to throw them some extra love for knowing my name.  Couldn't believe it when Trevor showed me the footage.  Especially cool was the fact that he was in perfect position as we passed the Army reserve members who saluted us as we rolled by.  Love that shot.  At the end of the parade a guy walked up in a blue, crushed velvet sports jacket and sporting a pipe.  He introduced himself as Eric.  He had come to represent.  My first super-fan.  Obviously he made it into the video.

After stopping by to chat with Dave Madsen and Shannon Hegy (meow!) at the TV 40 news tent, we made our way to the Big Mamou for some major Cajun food.  I'd been in touch with Chef Wayne a couple of weeks earlier to ask if it was ok to include his restaurant in the video.  Apparently he had no clue about the "413" video and it seemed his only concern was that I wasn't trying to hustle him into buying advertising.  After I explained my mission and emailed him a link to "413", he said it was cool to shoot there.  When I told him I wanted him to be in the video his response was, "I'll be there".  I tried to reach Wayne a few times leading up to the video but couldn't get in touch.  When we showed up, the staff couldn't have cared less about what we were doing- which is a good thing.

Unfortunately I forgot that it's BYOB at the Big Mamou so I walked up the block to the nearest package store to grab a bottle of cheap wine.  Upon emerging unscathed from the underpass near the Hippodrome I ran smack into Teresa, owner of Teresa's Soul Food Kitchen standing outside of her joint.  Teresa made her first appearance in the "413" video after a chance encounter.  Awkwardness ensued...

"Hey Dr. what are you doin' round' here?!"
"Oh hey Teresa!  What's up girl?  I'm grabbin' a bottle of wine.  Having dinner at Wayne's place."
"Oh yeah?  You puttin' him in one of your videos?"
"Uh...yeah.  That's what we're doing."
"When you gonna come back and put me in a video?"
"Well- you were in the first one, remember?"
"Yeah- but that was only for a second.  Where's the love?"

What could I do?  I promised to come back and do something else at Teresa's Soul Food Kitchen.  So I guess as a man of my word, at some point- the general public can expect something from the Dr. involving Teresa's restaurant.  Not sure when...but a promise is a promise.

When I got back to the Big Mamou, I called Wayne to see if he was coming down.  After a couple of rings he picked up.

"Hey Wayne.  It's Dr. Westchesterson."
"The guy who's been talking to you about shooting a music video at your place."
- momentary silence-
"Oh yeah!  Hey what's up man?"
"Not much, we're here now and I'm wondering if you're planning on coming down."
"Aw shit man, I'm out gettin' my mack on."
"OK-'re not coming down?"
"Naw man- like I said, I'm out."
"OK- is it still cool if we shoot here?"
"Yeah man, that's cool."

Luckily, Chef Wayne bottles his own hot sauce the label for which has his picture on it.  So Wayne made the video after all.

After a fabulous meal we went back to the safe house and crashed.   Day two of shooting was only 12 hours away...

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