|saving the world with song, video and commentary|
|copyright 2016 janice leber / chopped liver productions|
|chopped liver productions|
I already knew this: Whenever the TV is on, I require access to the TV remote (specifically the precious MUTE button) because if I hear a commercial jingle it will play and replay in my mind for at least the rest of the day, and it drives me nuts. However, things getting stuck in my mind can result in something completely different and potentially wonderful. I got a fairly cool song out of a partial jingle that lodged itself in my brain (that was September's song). A podcast of Rachel Maddow subconsciously provoked me to start humming "Scratch My Back" (April's entry). A friend's comment about January's song prompted the song for February. On and on it goes.
So here's a confession. I've been putting these songs on my ipod as they were created. The songs randomly plopped onto the device in alphabetical order, and thus the last one I would hear when I listened to the "album" of 2014 songs was February's "The Wind," a song I really like, but I didn't want my ultimate 2014 "album" to end with that song. So I was trying to come up with an idea that would be later in the alphabet but tie it all together. I remembered that "U" comes after "T" and immediately came up with the word, "Unsung."
With that one word, the chorus popped into my mind right away, no problem. The verses took a little more work, but I knew where I wanted to go with them before I started so it wasn't too difficult.
Then there's the bridge. This song did not have a bridge at all, but I had all kinds of bits and pieces. One nasty little bit I kept coming back to couldn't possibly be part of this song. The melody and tone were so completely different, and the words were not useable so I figured I'd never actually use it for anything. And then, as I was trying to put "Unsung" together as a real song, this previously unworkable section inserted itself quite organically. I love when that happens! I completely rewrote the lyrics ("it keeps on knocking on the door ...") to fit this song, and to my happy surprise, I think it works fairly well.
The ironic thing about the bridge is that these words needed serious reworking. They did not "fall out of the sky."
making the video
I really tried to tone down the tricky-slicky video effects, truly I did. I wasn't too successful, but I tried.
The original idea was to combine live action with animation. ("That will be easy," she said with the naivete of ignorance.) Just putting the live action portion together was a wild adventure because of all the new effects I had to play with. I've always believed that too many special effects is a sure sign of an amateur at work, and yet here we are. I'm prepared to let the chips fall where they may with this one.
All these little video clips ate up my computer's memory like I used to eat Cheetos. Halfway through a file export I'd run out of application memory -- and I have a pretty powerful machine here. There's always a speed bump.
The video "shoots," such as they were, were done in my living room in front of the window where, just a short month earlier, beautiful vines shaded the view. The leaves were disappearing with winter's cold even as I shot the video. You may detect the yellow leaves of a once-lustrous wisteria plant through the window in some shots. By the time I did the last shoot, there was not one leaf left on that thing.
The main video effect that I employed, aside from terrible lighting, was a motion effect that created multicolored smoke when it detected motion in front of the camera. It was fun figuring out how to make it look like smoke was coming out of my mouth all the time. That was done in two chunks, and the second one made us late to my friend Eugene's house because I thought, "Gee, while my hair is clean, I think I'll do one more take."
So yeah, we didn't get lost on our way over to your house for lunch, Eugene. I was shooting a music video. Now you know.
... and now what?
So I'll be doing something, and I'll be doing it here at chopped liver productions dot com. I heard somewhere that my song will not be unsung.