Hey well-wishers! Okay, so I made this video 2 weeks ago and forgot to post it up here! Justin Timberlake’s newest album, “The 20/20 Experience,” leaked a week early, so I made an album review for it! Check it out!
Hey well-wishers! Okay, so I made this video 2 weeks ago and forgot to post it up here! Justin Timberlake’s newest album, “The 20/20 Experience,” leaked a week early, so I made an album review for it! Check it out!
Just wanted to do a mini-announcement: I am (finally) in the process of writing songs for my long-talked-about album, “Organized Chaos!” It’s going to be an album of original songs (i.e. no parodies) and have beats that range in variety.
I don’t know too much other than that at the moment. What I do know is, since my last album, “The O-bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style,” a lot of things have happened in my life (both great and challenging) and within the past week I’ve been starting to get inspired to write new songs.
Up to this point, I haven’t really done a good job at promoting my original albums – I mean, the parody stuff sells itself thanks, in part, to the fact that the works I’m making fun of are pretty well-known – and I want to make sure people buy the songs on this one when it finally does come out.
Incidentally, this may be the last official album I put out – after this, I plan on releasing songs, but probably as just singles. We’re in an age now where singles tend to sell better than full albums, but one well-promoted single can sell MILLIONS. Just seems like a good direction to go in. However, I’ve had the idea of doing this particular album for YEARS now, so I want to get it out now while I still have motivation to do so.
As for when the album will come out? I’m taking my time with it. Right now I’m looking at sometime around July or August – I want to be able to record the songs and find creative ways to promote the album. Plus, if I talk about the album enough between now and when it’s released, I should be able to have a very good first day sales number. Fingers crossed, people!
So, I’m putting together some new things that will help me to earn some more money doing the things I like to do. While sitting here pondering some of my next ventures, a random thought came to my brain that I felt would be beneficial for me to share…
I live in Los Angeles now, where I make my bread and butter off music, video editing, producing and background extra work. And yet, what I’ve noticed is that all of the stuff I make money from are things I used to either do or give away for free.
Take, for example, my music. When I lived in Atlanta back in 2008 my goal was to give away a song a week for a whole year, for free. By the 6 month mark, though, I had people not only willing to pay me for my music, but also hiring me on for projects to create music for them.
And then, there’s my video editing. I was making videos for myself simply because I thought it would be a good platform with which to display my creativity and get my music out there. When I got to Los Angeles, people saw some of these videos and asked me to edit a few things for them here and there – for free. So I did; and, over time, I started getting paid for this skill, to the point where now it’s how I make most of my money.
And then, producing. As I upgraded my equipment I was able to learn how to make music and videos on quality equipment. A lot of up-and-coming entertainers I’d run into didn’t have the stuff I had to make a good-sounding album or video, but were willing to pay me to use my stuff. So I started charging people for it – and, lo and behold, people were actually willing to pay me the price I asked for!
And lastly, acting. Although I do mostly music stuff now, I went to school for a Fine and Performing Arts degree. That meant years and years of doing theater stage shows and NOT getting paid. And yet, all the skills I acquired during that time are ones that now help me when I’m creating content out here for myself and others. It’s also what’s allowed me to discover background acting here in L.A., where I can be on set and still enjoy acting as a “hobby” while getting paid something for it.
The point of all this is that if you want to be successful, you have to constantly be doing what you love, even when you’re not getting paid for it. You never know who’s watching you do what you do, and you never know who’s going to come to you one day and say: “Hey, I like what you’re doing and would love to give you some money for it.”
Now, most people want to get paid upfront for anything they do; however, unless you’ve been in an industry doing something for years and have a proven track record of excellence, you’re not going to start off getting paid that much. However, the irony of doing something you love regularly for free is, when people are able to see the high quality work you’re putting out when you’re NOT being paid anything, they will think to themselves: “Geez, I can only imagine how much better their stuff would be if they DID get paid…” and throw money at you.
Anyway… just thought I’d share that thought with you all. Best of luck in your journey towards success!
So, the last video I posted on here was for the 2 Chainz parody song “I’m Chrisitian (I’m Diffrent Spoof).” Since that time, I’ve been mulling over what I want my next step to be music-wise.
These days, though, I find that the majority of my bread and butter comes from creating stuff for other people. I’m in the process now of finalizing a deal with a popular knife maker to create parody songs and videos for their company, which will help to generate a lot of income, but also take up a lot of my time. Aside from that, I’ve also been doing video editing work for people here in H-wood, both for people on the come-up and bigger names. In looking back almost 5 years ago, I still find it hard to imagine that I’d go from being in a studio apartment in ATL creating stuff for myself to actually being a well-respected content creator in Los Angeles.
With that said, my desire for creating my own songs – like, not just parodies but original songs – is still something I want to do. I have an arsenal of original beats ready for me to create songs to, and I’ve been listening to them for the past few weeks. At the moment, though, I’m still trying to figure out what it is I want to say. I don’t want to re-hash the same kinds of concepts or ideas I was having back in my mid-20′s, but I still want to create stuff that is entertaining, a bit off-kilter and, in some cases, controversial (but not just to be controversial).
I’m also trying to figure out how I want to present them to the public. Part of me would love to go out and perform my songs live in front of an audience; and yet, another part of me loves being able to just stay home, create videos for my songs and present them that way. I’m very aware that putting together a GREAT performance takes lots of practice, coordination and time – things that, to be honest with you, I don’t care to make time for. I’d rather just be able to memorize the song, go on stage and perform it… but even that would require me to, at the very least, work out enough so that I could get used to performing these songs without running out of breath on stage. So far I’ve done okay for myself in terms of profiting off my videos (thanks, YouTube!) and iTunes (thanks, “Obama Milli Remix” and “Vote Obama Style!”), so I’d rather be able to get the money that way.
I also like the idea of creating songs and/or beats that could be used in realms outside of the performing arts. Many artists make good money selling their tunes for use in commercials, TV shows, movies, and other forms of media. This is the pathway I’d prefer to do. The crux of that, though, is that when I create songs I have to think of them from the angle of how they would best sell, and not always from the angle of expressing my inner thoughts as an artist. Eh, so what – if I want to do that, I can always blog on here, right?
Anyway… so, I’ll have new music coming at some point. In the meantime, I’m definitely down to collaborate with other artists on their albums – I find it’s a good way for me to practice my writing skills, while also giving me motivation to record my own stuff. Once I’ve started recording some new tracks I’ll be sure to announce an album date, but it will probably be in the latter part of this year. Stay tuned!
Happy new year! Okay, enough of that – today’s video insight is for my NEW parody song, a spoof of 2 Chainz’ “I’m Diffrent” called “I’m Christian!”
ONLY 99 CENTS FOR DOWNLOAD – CLICK HERE!
INSIGHT INTO A SONG
When I first heard 2 Chainz’ “I’m Diffrent” song, I immediately started trying to think of a parody for it. The song was just too darn catchy to NOT be a hit, and even though it came out back in August, the song continues to bump heavily now and is still climbing the charts.
Around October is when I first thought of the idea to make a parody of it called “I’m Christian.” Not necessarily because I wanted to do a religious parody (though it had been on my mind for a while), but because it just fit so perfectly, and I knew I’d have tons of subject matter to talk about. However, since it was the holidays I had also considered turning the song into a spoof called “It’s Christmas” to take advantage of the holiday momentum. Eventually, I realized that “It’s Christmas” would only have relevancy during the holidays, whereas “I’m Christian” could rock all year, and tons of kids who went to church AND listened to worldly music would get a kick out of it.
It took me until January (like 2 weeks ago) to finally write and record the song; however, I was coming up with words, phrases and ideas for the song in bits and pieces for a few weeks. I’d be on a film set (I do background work here in L.A.) thinking up song verses and sending them to myself, or I’d be walking home and suddenly – BAM! – another verse would pop into my head and I’d be on my phone texting it out.
I wanted the song to be both funny AND enlightening. I placed a good amount of focus mentioning things that happen in the church that are funny (i.e. kids falling asleep, old ladies dancing, communion), but I also mention things like Jesus dying for our sins, having one’s spirit being happy, changing your life around, etc. All in all, I think I made a very well-balanced song – one that’s not too preachy and is funny, yet is respectful of God and what he can do for people’s lives!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. The easiest part of the song to write – which I thought would be the hardest – was the first part of the 2nd verse. In the original, 2 Chainz is rambling on about meeting girls at tellies and putting his stuff in her belly, but it’s the flow and his usage of words repeatedly I thought would be hard to duplicate. And then, when I was walking home one day, words just started coming to me, and I couldn’t type fast enough on my phone to put it in a text message and send it to myself. What I ended up writing just worked so well, and it only took about 5 minutes to come up with!
2. Like I said, the words of the song came together in bits and pieces, like a puzzle. I’d go a few days not even working on the song, then BOOM – I would have half a verse done in no time.
3. Trying to include as many church references as I could proved to be hard as I got close to completing the song. I wanted to mention the Bible, angels, preachers, kids falling asleep in church, and so much more, so fitting all that stuff in really became a matter of re-arranging ideas. The hardest one was trying to fit in communion, and the fact that most places use grape juice instead of wine. But I did, and it’s probably the funniest part of the song (at least to me).
4. Initially, I tried to imitate 2 Chainz’ voice. Turns out, my vocal range is slightly higher than his, so I just went for trying to say words like him instead.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT
All I knew was I wanted to film everything in front of the green screen. I recently moved to my own place where I have my green screen placed up in my living room, ready to use 24/7/365, and wanted to put it to good use.
What I didn’t know, though, was if I’d be able to get anyone else to be in the video with me (don’t I always say that?? LoL). Long story short, I got my friend Joe to be in it (’cause he’s in, like, almost ALL of my videos), plus some new women additions to the “A.P.T. Video Archives.”
In order to put the video together, I knew the backgrounds would be of utmost importance. I went on YouTube to see if anyone had background loops of church stuff I could use; it was a shot in the dark, but lo and behold: a media group called Muddy River Media (http://www.muddyrivermedia.org) had tons of free-usage backgrounds with spiritual content! I downloaded as many of them as I could to use in the video, along with pictures of things like churches, pews, seats, and other things for me and my guests to stand in front of.
And, of course, different backgrounds meant dressing up in different outfits! I must say, I got a LOT of new clothes over the holidays, so most of the stuff I’m wearing in the video isn’t stuff I’ve worn on camera before. I have about 4 or 5 outfits I wore for this video so there would be a variety in look.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! In a happy circumstance, I was able to get J. Anthony Brown – radio personality from “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” – to make a guest cameo in the video! He had called me to film something at his house, and was gracious enough to allow me to get some footage of him to use for my video. Appreciate the look!
Anyway… I can’t really say too much more about the video, other than I shot it as if I was doing a cable access show. So… check it out already!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. The girl in the black jacket – Destiny – looks like she’s wearing a church robe in the choir scene. But really, she’s just wearing her jacket backwards.
2. Also, none of the people in the choir scene were shot at the same time. I filmed each one individually because… well, they weren’t all here at the same time.
3. The original idea for the baptism scene was to through me in the pool. However, by the time we got ready to shoot the scene, it was nighttime, so the light wouldn’t have worked. Getting baptized in the kitchen also seemed like a funnier idea to me.
4. J. Anthony Brown’s scene is one of the few that doesn’t have a green screen background. However, the part of his house we filmed in front of – with a brown maroon curtain and a wall light candle – just happens to look like a wall a church may have!
5. Estimated editing time was… a LOT. I actually edited the flow of the backgrounds before I finished filming the video, so I was editing while filming. Let’s just estimate it at around 12 hours or so – at least that what it felt like!
That’s all for now! Enjoy the video, and be sure to get the song on iTunes!
The election is in two days! I’m already starting to see a spike in video views, song sales and blog traffic, so I figured I would put all my Obama-related stuff in ONE place for you guys to look at, buy, repost, retweet, email and share!
First off, all my current Obama songs can be found on my NEW album, “The O-Bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style!” Here’s the full track list:
You can download this album or the individual songs from a plethora of online retailers – here are the links to all of them:
But wait! If you’d like to get the 99 cent “Vote Obama Style” ringtone, you can either go to the online link and get it (click HERE) or text VOTEOBAMASTYLE 1 to 69937!
Now, check out the videos for some of the album cuts below!
VOTE OBAMA STYLE!! (GANGNAM STYLE PARODY)
I’M NEVER EVER GONNA VOTE FOR ROMNEY (WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER PARODY)
OBAMA MILLI REMIX 2012 (A MILLI PARODY)
BLACK PRESIDENT (RACK CITY PARODY)
CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (NI**AS IN PARIS PARODY)
Thanks for all the views and shares, and don’t forget to VOTE OBAMA STYLE on Tuesday, November 6th!
Today’s insights are for my NEW music video, “I’m Never EVER Gonna Vote for Romney,” a spoofing of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together!”
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
After “Vote Obama Style” took off, I knew it would be smart of me to release an album soon after. I had a ton of songs from my previous mixtape, “Justin Beeber Must Die!!” that I knew I could use for purposes of the new album (since, admittedly, the album hadn’t been downloaded by hardly anybody). However, I also knew I needed to record a couple more Obama parodies in order to increase the chances of the album actually selling.
I already had “Vote Obama Style,” and back in January I had recorded “Black President (Rack City Parody).” Aside from an original song I had recorded called “The Next Black President” (from the “The Next Black President” mixtape) I had NO other Obama songs recorded.
So, I went to work. I updated my very first parody, “Obama Milli Remix,” into a 2012 version that mentioned Mitt Romney. However, I still wanted to record at least ONE more parody of a song that was most current. So, I went to Billboard.com to look up the Hot 100 songs in the country, and – at the time (waaaaay back a month and a half ago) – the number 1 song in the land was Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
The song is catchy as heck and it’s one of the FEW songs of hers that I like. However, what was even MORE appealing about parodying the song was the logistics and timing with which I could use the song to my advantage. The way I saw it, the album the song was on – “Red” – was going to drop on October 22. This meant I had time to give some more breathing room to the life of “Vote Obama Style,” drop a video for “Obama Milli Remix,” and then release the video for MY version of Taylor’s song on or around the release date of her new album. Genius!
And so, I decided on a title – “I’m Never Ever Gonna Vote for Romney” – and then… nothing.
At least for a little while. I knew I wanted to mention reasons why I wasn’t going to vote for Mitt, but I didn’t want it to just be me saying mean stuff about him for no reason. I don’t hate the man personally, I just don’t want him as my President, and that needed to be said in a way where even people who want to vote for him would be like, “Well, at least he gave a decent reason for not choosing him!”
As the release date for my album neared, it was becoming a bit harder than I though to write something for the song. And then, as luck would have it, I saw a video on YouTube where someone had placed together numerous video clips of Mitt Romney being a “flip-flopper,” i.e. someone who changed his views and/or positions on issues based upon what was best for his campaign. Abortion, raising taxes, amnesty – all issues that, at one point (or more!) Romney had changed his mind about.
And that’s when I realized what my reasoning in the song should be: he’s always changing his mind to appease voters, so he can’t really be trusted. PERFECT!
This was the last song I recorded for the album and, admittedly, due to the time constraint I had I recorded it pretty quickly. Once I knew what angle to come from, writing the song took about 20 minutes, then I started recording it right away. The funnest part for me was having to harmonize with myself – this was the first country parody I’ve ever done, and since I rarely sing these days it’s fun when I have to use different octaves of my voice (especially on the “Meeee-EE!” part where one version of me had to sing in a high falsetto).
Once it was finished, I KNEW I had a hit. I was able to put it on the album, which I am definitely happy about…
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. All of the things mentioned in the song are true – everything from Romney saying he wouldn’t raise the tax then turning around and saying he might, to him being for a woman’s right to choose then reversing the position have been captured on video and placed on YouTube. Look it up!
2. So, after I released the song, the debates began, and Romney kept saying stuff that was “meme-worthy.” In the second debate, he said that, when trying to look for women to fill positions in his cabinet, he had people bringing him “Binders full of women.” I KNEW that line needed to be used in the video version of my song, so I had to go back and re-record part of it. However, that line is NOT in the iTunes version of the song. Sorry
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT
Initially, I wanted to shoot a video for “Never” that was just as populated with people as “Vote Obama Style” had been. However, whereas “Obama” seem to just come together in terms of people’s schedules working out, it wasn’t the same way with this video.
I knew I needed to get the video out by October 22 for it to be effective since it was the same day of Taylor’s “Red” album coming out AND the date of the last Presidential election. Then, while watching the second Presidential debate last week, which was a town hall meeting styled debate where undecided voters asked both men questions, it hit me: I could take footage from this debate and green screen myself in as one of the questioners!
And so, once the debate was over, I downloaded it from YouTube and started piecing together the parts I could use where Romney was in the shot with empty space in front of him. Next, I decided on what “people” I wanted to sing in front of him. I decided to go with four: A.P.T. (myself); a blond girl who may or may not be Taylor Swift; Mario, and a pink bunny (the last two of which I just happen to have costumes for – don’t ask why, I just do).
To be the blond girl, I had to actually buy a wig! I went to the swap meet and bought a wig for $28… and let me tell you, putting that wig on was the hardest part of the shoot! I had NO idea why girls made such a big deal about their hair, but now I do – just trying to get it on took 20 minutes, and the hair kept falling in my face and wouldn’t stay in it’s place for longer than 5 seconds… I probably would have had more shots of me with it on in the video, but it just got more and more annoying!
Anyway… to make it consistent with the Romney footage I had chosen, I had to film each character facing to the right, then to the left, so that it would look cohesive when the angles of where Romney was standing changed. About 9 takes in all. By the time I was done filming everything, I only had about 3 hours to edit before the debate began. I imported all the footage, keyed out the green screen from each clip and placed them in front of the pre-chosen out Romney backdrops, exported them, imported them back in, then figured out which parts went where. I was still editing when the debate began, but I was on a mission to finish the video and post it up before the debate ended – which I was able to do about 12 minutes before it did!
In a way, making this video was bitter sweet. It’s the final Obama parody I plan on making – after the election, regardless of who wins, the importance of making any Obama-related songs will go down significantly – and I’m glad to have been part of doing things that have helped get the word out about Obama and voting for him. I’ve been making parodies about random topics for years, but to be able to make songs about a more focused topic has been very fun – AND beneficial to my career thus far!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits
1. Okay, costumes in the video: the first one – as myself – is the same outfit I wore in the “Vote Obama Style” video. The second one – me as a blond – was supposed to be me as Taylor Swift. However, I still have a thing about dressing completely in drag, so I wore my “Vote Obama Style” T-shirt and khaki pants instead (it looked like something a voter registrar would wear). The third one – me as Mario – I got that costume last Halloween, and have been making use of it ever since! And the fourth – me as a pink bunny – is a costume I got when I did a project for this website called “Very Smart Brothas.” Their site is excellent, btw, you should check it out!
2. When filming the video, I hadn’t recorded the “binders full of women” line yet, but knew I wanted to include it in the final video. So, I made sure to have each character say it, not knowing which one I would ultimately use. Then, while filming as Mario, I thought it would be funny to have him hold up a binder with a “Binder full of women, Vol. 1″ cover on it. And so, that’s how he got chosen to be the character that says it!
3. While filming as the blond girl, my roommate stopped by from work to pick something up. The look on her face seeing me in a blond wig: priceless.
4. Initially, I was going to have “Taylor” playing the guitar. However, when I looked at the video again, I realized that she does not, at any time, play any kind of instrument in the video. However, there WAS a party scene where a bunch of guys dressed like different animals were playing instruments. I didn’t have a guitar, but I DID have a tennis racket that could be played by a pink bunny, so that’s what I went with!
5. I don’t normally do “full shots” of myself when using green screen. I record most green screen videos in my bedroom, where the space isn’t wide enough to get a full body shot. However, when I DO need full body shots (like in this video for A.P.T. and the pink bunny) I will move the green screen out to the living room and place my camera in the hallway so I can get a full shot. The hardest part? Getting the wrinkles out of the part of the green screen that’s on the floor – if you don’t, you end up getting black shadows that show up later (check my feet as A.P.T. in the later part of the video – those black parts aren’t feet shadows, they’re the parts where wrinkles caused the green to shadow so I couldn’t remove it!).
And that’s it! Hope you enjoy the video, and be sure to get the song or my album from the links above!
As far as I know, the songs from my NEW album, “The O-Bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style” are selling! I won’t know until next month what the sales are for September (all monies I make off my songs are reported 45 days out – grrrr!), but I DO know that people are buying my stuff. It’s a GREAT time to have anything election-related out, especially as it pertains to Obama, and I already know that election week is going to be HUGE for me in terms of music sales and video views.
With that said, I do have ONE more Obama-themed parody I have to put out. It’s the last song I recorded for the album, and one I feel will be a perfect note to end on in terms of me doing any more Obama-related songs. Call it my last hurrah if you will (unless, of course, I think of a new song some time between Monday and the election). It’s a spoofing of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” called “I’m Never Ever Gonna Vote for Romney!”
I had a few ideas for how I wanted to do the video, but in the end I decided to keep it fairly simple. It’s going to be me, in front of a green screen, acting silly while singing the song. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, trust me when I say this is FAR from a detailed explanation of what I’m going to do for the video. TRUST, the video will be hilarious, up-t0-date, and share-worthy!
After that, I have a couple more songs I need to do for songs that have proven to be popular from the album – one for “Your Mama is So Ugly” and one for “I Wanna Do Nicki Minaj.” Plus, I’ll be re-releasing “Christmas in Paris (Jay-Z/Kanye Parody)” on November 1 to get everyone ready for the holidays!
That’s all for now – see you guys on Monday with my NEW video!!
Today’s song insights are for the video “Obama Milli Remix 2012 (A Milli Parody)!” (Directed by Joe Hollywood)
AVAILABLE ON “THE O-BAMA MIXTAPE II: VOTE OBAMA STYLE,” available on iTunes – to preview/download, click HERE!
INSIGHTS INTO A SONG:
Well… okay, if you’ve been to this site enough times, I’ve already talked about how HUGE of an impact my original “Obama Milli Remix” had, not just on the election, but on my life as well. When I made the first song 4 years ago I was living in Atlanta trying to get into the entertainment industry so I could make music and/or do behind the scenes work. Thanks, in part, to the song, I’m now living in California working as a video editor/creative consultant and still making music. Yes, dreams really DO come true…
Anyway, during these last 4 years I’ve received one question from countless fans of the song: “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO A REMIX FOR THIS ELECTION?”
Initially I didn’t feel the need to do one. And, to be honest, I still don’t think it’s necessary. The song I did was a parody of a Lil’ Wayne song called “A Milli,” which was at the height of its popularity back in 2008 when I made my version. The thing about parodies is that they are normally only so popular for so long, and with the people of the generation that were around when the song came out. It’s 4 years later, so even though “A Milli” is still a great song, it’s nowhere near as popular as it once was.
Subsequently, me doing a re-remix of my parody would not necessarily have the same impact as a newer parody song about Obama would. For example, my newer parody about Obama – “Vote Obama Style” – became successful because the song it parodies, “Gangnam Style,” is the “it” song of the moment. As for “A Milli,” there may be some kids today (yes, 4 years later) who haven’t even heard the song before.
So, why do an update?
For one, it was fan-requested. The original song got well over 15 million spins on YouTube and continues to get re-posted every so often. I try to stay humble about how big the song was, but people really DID gravitate to it and continue to play it, so I figured this would be like a “thank you” to all who enjoyed my song the first time around.
The second reason: I have better equipment now than I did 4 years ago. Back then I had an HP laptop, a radio mic and PC’s sound recorder program to record on. The song came out good, but some of the vocals weren’t that crisp and I didn’t know about things like reverb, pitch, or other audio-editing things. With the updated version, I finally have a version of the song that sounds professional, and could be played over a sound system at a club without too many audio problems.
And the third reason? I needed one more parody song for my mixtape, and couldn’t think of any other parodies to record outside of the ones I had already recorded. Heck, I still get monthly sales off the first one, so why not make an updated one and get even MORE sales?
The updated version keeps in about 75% of the original version’s lyrics. The only things I had to change in the song were the parts where I talked about Obama’s 2008 opponent, John McCain. All of those got changed to Mitt Romney references. Other than that, it’s basically the same song – different introduction (Michelle Obama introducing him at the DNC Convention instead of Al Gore) and a few “2012″ mentions, but basically the same song.
Some Interesting Song Tidbits
1. The last 4 lines of the first verse had to be changed. In the original one, I talked about him beating Hilary in the primaries. Obviously, Obama didn’t have to face any other opponents this year from his own party, so I had to change them up with lines about Romney instead.
2. I debated on whether or not to keep the line in about how I’d “hit” (i.e. get freaky with) Michelle Obama. I did it in the first version because I was mocking Lil’ Wayne, and figured it was a line he would say. However, some people were bothered by it (including my Mom) and viewed it as me being disrespectful towards the first lady. In the end, though, I decided to keep the line in for this one, adding in “I’d STILL hit.” It still sounds like something Lil’ Wayne would say, and I still find it to be a funny way to end the second verse.
3. I also changed up the lines about Oprah supporting him. I wanted something there that sounded more updated, so I threw in a couple lines about him being the reason we found and killed Osama Bin Laden.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
Aside from updating the sound quality of the original, I also wanted to do a slightly better video. The one I made 4 years ago was me in front of a blanket I hung up in my studio apartment, along with 3 “Vote for Obama” pictures I printed off in my printer, dressing up in 3 different outfits and doing the song. I filmed it on a Kodak picture camera that just happened to have 6MB video quality, and edited the whole thing on an HP laptop that wasn’t built for video editing – and on Windows Move Maker, no less!
Oh, how times have changed.
Now, I have access to HD cameras, 2 Macs (laptop and a desktop), Final Cut Pro X for video editing, a green screen, and I live in Cali, where there are tons of backdrops to choose from when filming.
Bottom line: I wanted to make a video version of this song that was more colorful, had more flavor to it and looked crystal clear. And so that’s what I did – me, along with my friend/director Joe Hollywood, found a couple of places around town that had nice, colorful backdrops where I could recite the words of the song and dance around. Even though we were updating the video, I still wanted to keep it relatively simple. “Vote Obama Style” was shot in so many places, but sometimes I just want 2 or 3 shots I can use and jumble up into something that still looks nice.
Once we filmed my parts, I still had to go online and find various media clips and pictures to place in the video. The funnest part for me, though, was the color correction: I wanted each shot to have its own style to it, so when put together they all look dynamic despite their simplicity. That’s why I did some really tricked out stuff, like making myself look green during my “on the wall” shots or fuzzing out the screen in the shots where I’m in front of the “Obama 2012″ banner.
Now that the video is done… it’s kind of bittersweet, ’cause it feels like I’ve come full circle in terms of my journey with this particular song. I’ll have more songs and videos and successes in the future, but this will always be the song I remember as the one that started off everything for me. I’m glad I got to film a version of it that cements this sentiment for me!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits
1. The opening of the video – I tried to get this thing finished before the debates last night, but couldn’t. So, I watched the debates, during which Mitt Romney made a comment about cutting funding for PBS and Sesame Street. Instantly, there were memes and pictures online of Big Bird being in dire straights about the whole thing. Because of this, I thought it would be cool to include a “Special Message” from Big Bird at the beginning to open up the video.
2. The Obama mural I’m dancing in front of was painted at a high school near downtown L.A. 3 years ago. Joe found it online and thought it would be good for us to use for the video. We went to the school on a Saturday, found the painting… and the rest is history!
3. The wall I’m dancing on top of was located behind a Subway restaurant off La Brea and… crap, I forget the cross street!
4. I went online to find another mural to dance in front of. It was a painting of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and President Obama, and had a red backdrop. However, we were dismayed to find that the painting had been painted over by another mural – one with the Presidents of Mount Rushmore! However, I liked the colors used in the painting, and it had a picture of Lincoln, who Obama is a fan of. Plus, I didn’t feel like going around town looking for other Obama murals that may or may not be there were we to go.
5. HAMPTON UNIVERSITY SHOUT-OUT!! When I made the first version, I had wanted to perform the song later that year at Homecoming. However, despite the popularity of the song on my former Home By The Sea, no one knew that the person who made the song had gone to the school! So, I wore my HU Alumni shirt in this version just in case someone from the school sees this video and wants to put me on the performance list for homecoming this year….
6. There’s a 2-second scene in this video where the DNC donkey is jumping on the RNC elephant. That lil’ scene took me almost an hour to put together. I had to go online and find a picture of a donkey, an elephant, a stage, and a podium, then maneuver the donkey to look like he was jumping up and down. I mention this because people always ask me why I charge $35 an hour for editing, and it’s because the creative aspects of putting together a video really DO take a whole lot of time. Even with the color schemes I picked out for each shot, I spent at least 30 minutes each getting the colors I wanted right.
7. The blue striped shirt and black pants are the very same ones I wore in the first video – consider it an homage if you will. The only other thing borrowed from the first video is the picture of Barack Obama with a bucket of KFC chicken in front of him.
8. At one point, I do the hammer back-and-forth dance on top of the wall. Joe requested this, and it was easy to do, but I still felt like I might fall off at any minute!
And that’s it! Hope u enjoy, and I’ll see y’all on the next video!
NEW ALBUM, “The O-bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style” now on iTunes! Click HERE to preview/buy it today!
First of all, I don’t know why I’m still shocked that people actually stop by my webpage and read stuff. I’m definitely thankful, but considering I don’t advertise my website nearly as much as I probably should, it’s cool to be getting an average of 20 to 30 readers a day looking to see if I made any updates.
Well, readers, here’s some stuff to tide you over for a while!
For starters, the “Vote Obama Style” video is doing very well. On average it’s getting somewhere between 6000-9000 views a day, and even that number is starting to rise. Between all the channels I have the video on (my two youtube channels, plus some guy who downloaded the video and posted it up on his page – don’t worry, I made sure he provided the iTunes link so I could still get sales off his viewers), the video’s currently up to 150,00 views in less than 3 weeks! Best of all, I’ve had a couple celebrities re-tweet my video – Brandon T. Jackson and Vivica A. Fox – both of which definitely helped boost my video views. So… yay!!!
I also got some more good news this week… um… dang… but I don’t want to jinx it until it actually happens. What I can say is, I’m doing another video shoot that I will insert into the current video, one that will result in me being able to get even more exposure for the song and video. Yeah, that’s a good way to word it for now!
Lastly, now that the album – “The O-bama Mixtape II: Vote Obama Style (Gangnam Style Parody)” – is up on iTunes, I still have a few more videos I need to do to make sure I get good sales within the next month. I’m realistic in my understanding that there may be a dip in sales for Obama-related stuff once the election is over, so any Obama songs I have need to be out with videos before November. To that end, I have 2 more of those types of videos coming up – one for my Taylor Swift parody, “I’m Never Ever Gonna Vote for Romney;” and, a video for a song people have been asking me to do since 2008: a remix to my “Obama Milli Remix” song (I guess that would make it a re-remix? Would that be a double negative? LoL!). That’s right, there’s a 2012 version of “Obama Milli Remix,” which means I had to make a video for it. That one will be released on October 3, the same day as the first debates, so be on the look out for it!
That’s all for now, peeps! Be sure to get the album, on sale at iTunes now – just click HERE to preview/buy it today!