- Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010
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Consider this a testament to social networking's prowess. It had been more than a decade since Samantha Hart and Rob Jacobs had been in touch, dating back to their days together at Geffen Records. In fact, Hart, who was director of the graphics department at Geffen, helped bring advertising/merchandising artisan Jacobs into the company fold.
Fast forward to early 2009 when Hart and Jacobs reconnected via Facebook, the catalyst being a Geffen 10-year reunion.
Hart, now president of Foundation Content, and Jacobs, senior director of marketing at Universal Music Enterprises, started talking again like old times. Their chats led to Jacobs sending Hart music from several Universal Music artists for possible use in soundtracks for commercials produced by Foundation. Among those artists was Elizabeth & The Catapult, a band on the Verve Forecast label (part of the Universal family).
The band caught the ear and eye of Hart who began lobbying in March '09 for a music video to gain greater exposure for the performers (Elizabeth & The Catapult consists of Elizabeth Ziman, Pete Woodman Lalish and Dan Molad). Though it took several months to get the ball rolling, the video "Race You" came to fruition and debuted this week on Yahoo Music.
SHOOT caught up with Hart and Jacobs to get further backstory and insights into their collaboration.
SHOOT: What happened between March '09 when you started pushing for an Elizabeth & The Catapult Video and January when the video finally debuted?
Hart: At first not much and then a lot. The "not much" was my "hounding" Rob. I wasn't sure what song they would even consider doing. But something like five months later, Rob Facebooked me, asking, "What do you think of Race You?"
A day later I sent him a script which was a starting point for a huge collaboration with Rob, the band, the band's management--I also think most everyone at Foundation touched the project in one way or another.
Several of our directors wound up directing it, our designer Jennifer Moody was the art director. It was a total team effort on a limited budget and a tight turnaround time, shot primarily on Foundation's stage in Chicago. We had three weeks to make it all work. The project entailed live action, effects, 2D and 3D work. We didn't have a lot of time with the band because they were touring. We got Rob the final piece in November and they loved it.
SHOOT: You mentioned the tight turnaround time and finishing it in November. Why didn't it debut until January?
Jacobs: We loved the video so much we didn't want it to get lost and caught up against big releases in December. We felt it would have a better chance for exposure in January. The whole motivation is to give the band the best shot possible at connecting with people. Samantha remembers this from the Geffen days--you just know when you have a special artist. And we both feel that this band is special. We want to give them every opportunity possible.
SHOOT: Sometimes video concepts can be elusive or non-existent. In this case, though, there's a theme. I wanted to make sure our interpretation was what you intended. It appears to be a story of the band members as adults being lost in a maze yet ultimately they're guided along the right path by children. I assume those children represent the band's performers when they were young.
Hart: Yes, that's the concept. But it evolved quite a bit along the way. We were making things up as we went along, sometimes out of necessity. We wound up having limited time with the band. With so little footage of the band, we needed some coverage. So we wrote a little girl into the script. And then the two boys--who are my young twins.
There's a scene where the little girl blows on a dandelion, spraying what look like darts. But ultimately throughout the piece you see those darts were arrows--and arrows are part of the theme, directing Elizabeth & The Catapult on the right path.
Jacobs: It was a very collaborative effort every step of the way. Everyone contributed. Sometimes you can't remember who contributed what. For that matter when Samantha and I got reacquainted via Facebook, I don't remember who friended whom first. I do remember, however, that Geffen was a very special place and it's great to once again work with Samantha who gave me my start there.