RORY KRAMER sums it up best.
Photos: RORY KRAMER
"It was about 2:30pm on Tuesday when my friend Nathan (manager of Krewella) hit me up asking, “What’s your sched looking like later this week/weekend? We’re taking it back old school and shooting a guerrilla style Krewella video.” My immediate reply was “My schedule can be whatever you need lol.” He informed me his friend Laine was flying in tonight and they were gonna brainstorm.
After work Wednesday, I hopped in my 97 Rolla (Toyota Corolla for all you old folks that stumbled upon my blog and still haven’t seen my rap video I made about my car…YouTube 97 Rolla) and jetted to Nathan’s to brainstorm some ideas for their song Party Monster. Laine, super cool dude from Chicago who directed Krewella’s “Killin’ It” video, showed me some pictures of inspiration he had. After seeing just a few pictures, I could visualize the style, so we watched a bunch of music videos like Marilyn Manson “The Beautiful People” and other videos with that similar style.
The whole idea was to be as cheap as possible, so we snagged some lights and a pack of Sour Patch kids (gotta sweet tooth, get it from my Momma) from Home Depot located in the ghetto…seriously some dude was trying to hustle me by selling some “expensive” gold chain. Then we headed back to Nathan’s to shoot some insert shots. Kevin (director of Krewella’s “Enjoy The Ride”) showed up to be apart of the fun. Around 10pm we called it a night.
Thursday, same thing, went to Nathan’s after work. Laine showed us what he cut from the footy we got the night before. We were all stoked on it. That’s when Kevin shows up with his “friend” Garret. This dude comes in and show us a video of stunt drivers and skydivers and my mind puts the music video on hold because Im thinking how the heck do I even get a word in as he is rattling off epic locations, crazy stunt performers, and suggesting strippers he knows so I can go skydiving with him…after I realize the only word I’m gonna get in is SICK, I come back to the music video. Then he has to leave and Im sitting there like where did you find this guy who has this crazy network of friends…did I mention the guy wears an eye patch because he ex-wife hired a guy to kill him…no joke he got shot in the face, lost an eye and still kicks so much ass. Turns out this guy is a stunt/fight coordinator and has done movies such as Transformers, Avatar, Sin City, and Lincoln. Remember how I said we were going cheap ???? Well this guy just turned our cheap production into something that looked like a big budget production for $200 (that was for the rental of the pad at the airport so we could film drifting cars around Krewella…Ill get to that later). So we settle on some locations and head over to Jake’s (another manager of Krewella), there we met with their team including Krewella (Kris aka the Rain Man, Jahan, and Yasmine). We pitched ideas and everyone was on board.
Friday, we went to Griffith Park Zoo to film acrobats, slack liners, and ninjas in old animal cages. This shoot was insane…first shot I get is this glide cam shot of a rollerblader grinding this 50 ft rail. I mean we shot people hanging from their arm spinning like helicopter blades, if I tried that my arm woulda came off. Laine, Kevin, and I got so much good footy in the time we were there.
Next, we went to the Ford Theater parking lot to film Jahan and Yasmine’s cousin (sorry, I forgot your name…again, I really need to get better at that kinda stuff) doing her Emily Rose impression. This was pretty freaky but pretty freaking awesome. Knocked that out real quick so she could go to work. Then we hiked up this dirt trail (100% trespassing) to this 34 ft cross that shines over Hollywood. Here we were shooting performance shots of Jahan and Yasmine. This location was so epic and the shots we got were sooooo good. When I put my hands on a camera, I treat it like an instrument. Laine and I had the lens unattached from the camera creating magical shots (seriously, experiment with it). I never had that much fun shooting. Laine was directing, Kevin was creating sick lens flare with the lights and I was running glide cam while Jahan and Yasmine were bringing the heat. Watching some of these takes, it was like we were plugged into a power strip channeling the same energy. Jahan and Yasmine have this amazing stage presence that is gold on camera.
Saturday, I showed up at Nathan’s a bit early because his roommate Quincy said he and Stephen were putting together a ping pong table…let’s just say no one was there and I started it by myself (Stephen don’t even say you helped because you said yourself you were the worst helper HAHA).
Anyways, we drove about an hour to this airport where we were going to film the drifting cars I spoke of earlier. Well we were waiting on the gate to get opened, so Stephen and I decided to go around the corner and take a leak. We start tinkling and this guy walks around and is like “You’re pissing on my hanger, not cool.” I pinched my little bit of manhood my parents gave me and jammed it in my pants. Here’s the problem, the hose was already full of water and once its in the chamber its not going back in. So once I took hand off, it finished emptying…yeah I peed my pants. There I am working with musicians whom I am a big fan off and I got pee all over my crotch and its not helping that Stephen is laughing extra loud. I decided to dump a bottle of water on my pants trying to clean it. Then I hear Jahan, “Rory, what happened?” I couldn’t believe this was happening. But her being super chill, simply goes, “Need a wet wipe?”
So we go out on this track, set up the Rain Man, Jahan, and Yasmine, Laine on glide cam, Kevin on a camera, GoPros on the cars, and me shooting on another camera. Garret does what he does best, directs everyone on what to do, and boom these 2 cars go spinning around Krewella blowing smoke all over the place. It was crazy. We did several takes and then I decide to jump in a car and get a shot. Holy crap, it was like a roller coaster on crack, my head was moving around like a bobble head. We were like a bunch of kids at a theme park.
Next we head to this tunnel to film another performance, torture scenes, and Yasmine painting “Get Wet” on the wall with an “adult” paint brush. Laine took care of the performance shots, then we both shot Rain Man getting tied up and punished by a bondage girl. Garret again, directs every action that can be thought of, I mean if the guy has worked with Spielberg then you know he knows what the heck he is doing. It was a great opportunity to learn and sharpen my own directing skills.
One of the things we were to film was Jahan forcing someone to drink. I offered to do this since I like to act and I wanted to make a cameo. THIS WAS THE BEST PART OF THE SHOOT FOR ME. Garret ties me up in a knot that I have never seen before and shows Jahan the actions she is supposed to do. He says kick him from behind like this…of course Im spaced out thinking to myself “Why didn’t I do my crunches today?” when he kicks me and straight up puts me on the ground. HAHA. Oh before I forget, he let us film his eye socket and he put his fake eye in this mouth !!! So now its time to roll camera and get the shot. I tell Jahan to get into it because it will just seem more realistic. Well she puts me in this choke hold then throws me forward and pulls the rope up on my arms like she was gonna rip my arms off then pulls me back only to kick the back of my knees dropping me to the ground. At this point, I think, I’m on the ground so lets flail all over making this look good, then Garret says grab him by the hair like he’s your bitch (sorry Mom but those were his exact words). Jahan gets a handful of my beautiful hair (Im sure you’ve pictured my hair on your head at least once or twice) and yanks me up and jams a Jameson bottle in my mouth and has me chug from it. We did a couple takes of this. I felt so alive, I was lost in the moment and loved how it came out. After that we got a few other shots and wrapped the video then went to dinner at Katsuya.
Getting to be a part of this video was something special for me. I was a big fan of Krewella since the first time I saw them at Dim Mak Tuesdays back in Feb 2012. So to be able to work with someone I liked and looked up to meant a lot to me. It proved once again that if you are willing to keep grinding good things can happen. Kris, Jahan, and Yasmine were very genuine people, which I find to be rare when it comes to this city. Krewella’s whole team was amazing. The shoot reminded me of being a kid and making videos with my friends just for the fun of it. For a long time, I have struggled with the term artist, I have never liked to call myself one because I thought it was kinda cliche and plus I never thought I was that good, but after this weekend I now consider myself to be an artist. Everything about this shoot happened organically, nothing was forced, no one had an ego, and everyone got to bring their talent to the table to create a piece of art or as Yasmine said “Some dope ass sh!t.”
Los Angeles, California (Jan. 22 - 25, 2014)"