The Making of Red Rover

I can't put into words how excited I am that Grace's new song and video has now been shared with the world! She released it yesterday after having kept it mostly "secret" for months. Red Rover is the name of the song, and it will be part of an E.P. coming soon! If you haven't seen the music video yet, watch it below:

You might notice a familiar face in the video . . . it's true, Grace convinced me to play a role in the video and to be honest it was so much fun. I was very hesitant initially but what made it so comfortable and easy was that literally every person involved in this song and video--from recording the song, to storyboarding the music video, to filming, to editing, to hair and makeup--is one of our dear friends. Grace and I are lucky to have such talented and generous friends here in LA, and working with them on this music video was a dream! Here is a rundown of the people involved in this project:

Original song written and performed by Grace Baldridge

Music recorded at our friends Jack and Zack's studio, Big Bad Sound

Video directed by Irina Nichita 

Produced by Amir Nikoui (he is also the executive producer for Grace's shows on TYT!)

Filmed and Edited by Mary Ignatova 

Hair and Makeup (and general cheerleader on set) by Tina Tozzi

 and finally, Craft Services and "Acting" by yours truly.

 About to start filming in downtown West Hollywood

About to start filming in downtown West Hollywood

If you're like me, you know nothing about producing any kind of professional-level video, but thankfully these people are in the business and pulled it off seamlessly. I am still in awe of what they were able to create, and I thought it would be fun to share a little behind-the-scenes today! Also, we did take a road trip with Willie while filming, so this was a very on-brand music video shoot for Have Dog, Will Drive.

Believe it or not, this entire video was shot in two (very long) days. Because our "crew" was only 6 people including Grace and me, it was all hands on deck at all times! We all helped with things like setting up lighting and arranging props. Fun fact, I found myself in the middle of the desert digging a hole for a fire pit at one point:

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But backing up, here's how the weekend went:

On Saturday morning, the crew showed up at my apartment to film the bedroom scene as well as the final scene where I close the spell book. Seeing lighting equipment, huge cameras, and monitors in my apartment was pretty wild! Irina talked to Tina about what kind of "look" she wanted for this scene, and Tina did Grace's and my hair and makeup based on that.

We used a metal C-stand to create the look of a sheet-fort over the bed. While filming this scene, Amir was about 2 feet away from us holding a fan to create some movement, haha! We were all in very close quarters. Also, the weekend we shot the video was the hottest of the whole summer--about 100 degrees. We were totally wiped out by the end of it from the heat, and staying hydrated was a big priority throughout the shoots.

Next we shot the scene where I throw the roses at Grace. Willie was nearby the whole time acting very mischievous and distracting us! A fun fact from this scene was that we only had one bouquet of roses and I threw them about 10 times until we got the perfect shot. I guess we could have gone and bought more roses, but we were working on kind of a tight schedule. So each time after I threw the roses, we would carefully collect them from the ground, pick out any crushed petals, and reassemble the bouquet so that I could throw it again.

After that, we headed to downtown West Hollywood to film the scene with the teddy bear. We wanted to wait until dusk, so we killed some time by all getting frozen yogurt at Yogurt Stop--if you haven't been, it's an amazing gay-themed fro-yo place in West Hollywood. 

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 Tina and me goofing around in front of the rainbow wall at Yogurt Stop

Tina and me goofing around in front of the rainbow wall at Yogurt Stop

Filming the scene where Grace gives me the teddy bear was probably the time where I had to "act" the most, because it had to look like I was actually surprised by the bear but also laughing at how cheesy it was. In the end, almost none of that made it into the video, but it was a fun/interesting exercise. Also, Mary came prepared with about 5 different bears in case we needed to swap them out (particularly when we burned them later in the desert fire), which she referred to as "doppelbears."

The next day, Sunday, was desert day! First we went to Tina's house to get our hair and makeup done. We then drove out to the Lucerne Valley Desert, about 2 hours Northeast of LA, to shoot the desert scenes. Grace and I listened to Red Rover in the car on the way there to get into the right "vibe" for the shoot :)

 En route to the filming location

En route to the filming location

 Our base camp for the desert shoot

Our base camp for the desert shoot

We were out in the desert for several hours, and it was HOT. The only time I was in a scene was right at sunset, so leading up to that I was in charge of keeping everyone fed and hydrated (which I lovingly called my Craft Services job). I also was the celebrity dog handler, keeping Willie and Mia (Amir and Irina's adorable Frenchie) safe in the shade and drinking plenty of water.

 My Craft Services lunch spread for our crew

My Craft Services lunch spread for our crew

 Willie and Mia keeping cool in the shade under the trailer

Willie and Mia keeping cool in the shade under the trailer

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As the sun started to sink lower, we worked on the more "dramatic" desert scenes. We had to dig a pit for the fire ring and collect rocks to set it up. We really did burn all of the objects (rest in peace teddy bear), which made me really nervous because I didn't want to start a wildfire! Just to clarify, we made the fire in an area where we were allowed to do so, and other than it being hot, there weren't any conditions that would make it unsafe to have a fire. We weren't irresponsible about it. But that said, it was still a little nerve-wrecking to be burning all of the items from the video. Especially because we only got one take for each! 

When it came time for my scene in the white dress, we only had about 5 minutes of sunset to work with. Amir was using a leaf blower to create the effect of wind. And with every step I was wincing in pain because I was stepping on thorny sand spurs! Ouch. I think I complained to Grace about it the whole drive home. Ultimately, I don't think those things showed through in the video, so it all turned out fine. Also, for anyone who's curious, Amir created the effect where I disappear by putting a pink scarf over the end of the leaf blower and then letting go so that the scarf flew in front of the camera. Mary then edited the video so that I wasn't standing there anymore once the scarf flew by.

Here are some more behind-the-scenes glimpses:

 Grace with our glamorous director, Irina

Grace with our glamorous director, Irina

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 Grace freestyling in between takes

Grace freestyling in between takes

 Touching up hair and makeup before filming my scene

Touching up hair and makeup before filming my scene

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Some more trivia and stories from filming:

I purchased both the nightgown from the bedroom scene and the white dress from the desert scene the day before shooting. The nightgown was $4.99 at Goodwill, and the white dress was also inexpensive, from Forever 21. I tried on a few long white dresses in the store and texted photos to Tina, Grace, and Irina, and they unanimously agreed on the one I ended up wearing. All of the other clothes I wore in the video were things I already had. You'll notice that I exclusively wear white or light colors in the video, while Grace wears black. That's a pretty good representation of our real-life wardrobes, too, so it wasn't hard!

The spellbook is actually a personal family heirloom of mine. You might notice in the video that the title of the book is "Mrs. Beeton's Savouries and Hors D'Oeuvres." Beeton isn't my last name, but one side of my family is the Beeton Family, and my family on both sides is from England through and through. "Mrs. Beeton's" was a series of English books on household management and cooking, and most of the women in my family have a copy of these now out-of-print books. My godmother gave me my copy. Grace and the crew thought it had the perfect "look" of a spellbook, because it's authentically very old and well-loved. If any of my family is reading this, don't worry--we took great care of the book during filming!

On the drive home from the desert, Grace and I were craving ice cream or milkshakes and said out loud how perfect it would be if we passed a Sonic. I have never seen a Sonic in California (I know they exist but they aren't common where we live). Well lo and behold, about 30 minutes into our drive we passed a Sonic and started screaming and pulled over. However when we drove up to where you order, there was a huge sign saying they were out of ice cream and milkshakes! It was a cruel twist of fate. (If you're worried, we ended up stopping somewhere else for shakes about 15 minutes later, haha!)

Ever since we wrapped filming, I have been so excited to see what Mary would create through the process of editing all of the raw footage from the weekend. I couldn't be happier with the result. I'm so proud of Grace and of our friends. Keep an eye out for the full E.P. soon!

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