The Making Of The Press Play Video Clip

Have you ever felt so low that you just can’t think of what will make it better? The darkness seems to be clouding any options, and there are many, but you just can’t see them. It feels too scary to take a step in any direction, but you just need to put one foot in front of the other. I feel that. One of the things that has always helped me is music. It can change my mood in an instant. It draws me into a place where I can forget the pain and be helped into a place of peace and joy.

This is how Press Play came about. I was thinking about the things that have shaped me as a person and music is one of the biggest. Particularly through our teenage years, music is our dearest friend. It moulds us. It shows us that the things we’re feeling are universal. We feel seen and heard, just by the lyrics and melodies and harmony and beats from another. It is powerful. And it goes on to soundtrack our lives. It keeps us company, it lifts us up, it holds our excitement, it helps us let go, it grieves with us, it calls us out, it soothes us, it inspires us, it helps us. Press Play is about connecting with music to heal ourselves.

This song started as a ballad and ended up as a disco, dance floor anthem. An ‘I Will Survive’ for our times if you will. I knew I had to dance in this clip. I knew I had to show the surrender of ‘dancing like no one is watching’, though someone always seems to be watching now.

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I danced in a formal way. To be honest it had been a while since I’d danced at all. I love dancing. I love movement and creativity and moving to the beat. I have always been rhythmic, found myself creating rhythms around rhythms, moving when I sing and write and play. It is my medicine. I feel completed by it. It just makes sense to me. Mathematics of humanity. So I decided now was the time to reconnect to the dancing side of that. I enlisted the help of Canberra based choreographer Isaac Bisa, a young up and coming dancer who instantly got the style I needed to produce for the clip. Two months out we commenced rehearsals. I went every Sunday to his studio, and then spent the next week refining the choreography. I got up at 5am and practiced, I practiced mentally throughout the day, running it in my head, I re-watched videos of him and I, constantly tweaking, constantly  striving. Do it again, do it again, do it again. It was hard. It pushed me in new ways. My body hurt. I felt muscles I didn’t know existed. But I started to get hooked. I liked striving for something.

My artistic collaborator and the director of the clip Darren Percival had come up with the brilliant concept of staging the dance in a car park, filmed from many angles, capturing it all like security footage. I loved this! I wanted to show the freedom of dancing with complete abandon, combined with a little knowledge that someone is always watching.

We set the shoot date, enlisted Jack Downie and his camera to take some of the footage, and Darren organised Zoom cameras to capture the rest. I kept practicing. Added in dancing in heels. Felt myself come alive a little bit more each time. I can’t really explain it, but there was immense satisfaction each time I did it. Like my body was made to do this.

Finally, two months later, we were ready.

At 9pm one Monday evening, we descended into the carpark. Darren arrived early and set up. I spent my time stepping into my unitard, masking up, getting ready. This was a moment I had been waiting my whole life to be in. Truly. You see, we all have this in us. A desire to be our best self. A calling to our ultimate way of life without fear, without hiding, without comparison. Liberation. Freedom. Hard work. We shot the sequence many times from many angles. Darren set up multiple cameras at once, capturing me from hidden vantage points all over the car park. Jack filmed some close up shots in 4K. We wanted some precision amongst the security camera footage.

I felt alive. I have always loved being on set. I love creation. Discovery. Collaboration. There was a wonderful calm flow to this. As though the making of the clip was a divine dance itself. We laughed, played, got serious, analysed. Committed to the cause. We finished at 1am, spent but still a bit giddy with the feelings of achieving something we had planned so meticulously to execute.

We knew that the real work for this clip was in the editing and there was only one man for the job, Jeremy Gilroy (who I have previously worked with on all my clips). He had the great task of going through all the footage and putting together the story I wanted to tell. This clip is about courage. It’s about self love and acknowledging all the great things about ourselves. Celebrating what we create, being free! We left it with him. It would of course take some time. He came back with a little teaser that had us all thirsty for more. Then a week or so later it landed in my inbox. Such a glorious final edit. Jeremy sees the vision of the artist so clearly, and brings the story to life. It is truly magical! He completely understood the concept, giving it a Matrix-like green tinge in the grading, and showing me a determination in my eyes I didn’t know I had. Powerful.

Transparency will always be my currency.  The lies of facades and masks only detach us from each other as we try to work out the ins and outs of this crazy world. That’s why I bring you inside my process. I am here to share. It’s not a secret. I want you to get lost in the world of Press Play like I want you to get lost in the music and rediscover who you are! It is there for you if you are willing to take those first few, scary steps. You will need to go outside your comfort zone as I have (and continue to do), for all the great rewards lie there.

 

With love,

Marét  x