This week’s song/music video is for the song, “Back to the Future.”
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INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
I’ve actually had the idea for this song for almost two years now. I came up with the chorus when I was showering one day, and it stuck with me from them up until now.
I’ve also gone through many free-styled versions of the song, but never seemed to have a microphone around when I did. Despite this small setback, I knew the chorus was catchy enough to eventually sit down and write a song to it.
Then came this previous week. I was going to do a video for a song I had already recorded, but sometimes life comes into play and makes you want to write about emotions you’re feeling right there at that moment. And so it was with this song.
The song is called “Back to the Future” because, in the song, there is a conversation that takes place between my present self – i.e. “previous me” – and my future self – i.e. “future me.” Previous me is pissed off because his life situation isn’t as glamorous as he’d like it to be, and the people around him – friends, girls, etc. – aren’t as reliable as he’d like them to be. He calls up future me to vent and ask if he ever succeeded in his goals.
Future me, meanwhile, acts as a sounding board for previous me in the first act, then reassures his former self that, with a little patience and hard work, he will eventually reach his dreams.
I was prompted to write this song after various events that happened to me this week. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say, there were parts of this past week where people were either unreliable, didn’t stick to what they said they would do, or just blew me off completely without any explanation. It happens quite often, actually, as I’m sure it has to all the other people who were ignored or mistreated by others prior to becoming famous. Oh well – makes fodder for good song material!
I had another beat in mind for the song, one that I would have had to create myself. Unfortunately, it involved a sample from a Nintendo game, and the company is not known for making it easy to get a sampling license. Luckily, I found this beat online a while back, courtesy of FreQ BeatZ, and it sounded bouncy enough to get people’s heads bobbin, while at the same time allowing a sense of hope to be felt on the track.
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. The original version of this song had a LOT more cussing in it than this version does. However, now that I have family members checking out my page, I figured I should probably keep the cussing to a minimum, and only use it as a last resort (i.e. if the word I’d try to use to replace it would just sound silly).
2. The addition of the “phone voice” was added in last minute. I was trying to figure out a way I could make a distinction in the two voices when they were on the phone with each other aside from changing the octave of my voice, but couldn’t figure out how to call myself. It didn’t dawn on me until AFTER I had finished recording it that my phone had voice recorder on it! I was considering doing the entire second verse in phone voice, but I would have had to re-record the ENTIRE song, and plus it would sound annoying hearing that for a full 16 bars!
3. In making a song, I have to make the scenarios relatable to everybody, not just me. Therefore, some of the things mentioned out of anger by the “character” in the song – hating the job, clothes being a mess, friends laughing at me – are only partially true. I like my job most of the time, I do have a few clothes that look decent, and my friends don’t laugh at me for following my dreams (helping me out, however, is a different story). However, all these things DO happen to other people, so they are mentioned.
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
I could type about this all day, but I’ll try to make it short. The video shoot took 2 days. In the first part of the video, you’ll see me at this restaurant called “Willy’s” which is right down the street from where I live. Because I had to get three time-periods (day, dusk, and night), I had to go back to the restaurant 3 times and be able to sit at the same exact table each time to film.
Amazingly, each time I went, the table I used was the ONLY table not being used! Thank you, God!
The next day, I filmed the scenes for “future me” at a nearby parking lot. I did it during the day time because I wanted there to be a contrast between “future me” – who’s career and dream outlook is sunny – and “previous me,” who’s scenes were done at night to contrast with his feelings of dispair. Yes, people, I really put a LOT of thought into this stuff!
I was going to film the nighttime scene that very same evening after I got home from work, but I think I got tired or something, and went to sleep. I woke up at 5:15 Saturday morning, and thought to myself: “I do NOT want to be filming this Saturday night, and then trying to edit this whole thing by Sunday morning!”
I only had about an hour-and-a-half before daylight would start to hit, so I ran downstairs and filmed the “coming home from the restaurant at night” scene, even though it was taped in the morning
The hardest part of this entire video was the editing. I went to Starbucks and spent 3 hours editing it, only to have my Windows Movie Maker program crash the program! I had to start from scratch, and when I did, THAT program crashed also! None of the programs would play after I saved them, and I got so mad, I had to quit and leave the coffee shop for some R&R.
I detoured to Target to see about buying another editing program, but they costs a LOT of money! Finally, I said “screw it,” and figured I would just post up another video that I’d already done. Imagine my surprise, then, when, upon getting home, the program decided to up and work (almost) perfectly for the remainder of the evening.
Still, I WANT A MAC!!
Some Interesting Video Shoot Tidbits:
1. I originally had another opening for this video, consisting of me preparing for my date. This was in the original edit before my program crashed, and after looking over it again, I realized that, although I liked the opening, it took way too long to get to the song. YouTube people tend to have short attention spans, so I shortened the opening (which included the clips you see now at the beginning).
2. I usually like to include other pics and/or shots of me doing stuff within the song. However, I really wanted this to look like a conversation between two people, and felt like adding all those other elements would distract from it. The only outside bits of film in the video are the train and the scene where I’m asking the girl out – everything else is just me and myself!
3. You may be asking, “what’s with the look of the ‘future me’ clips?” Well, the artsy way of answering it would be, since most people only have an idea of what they THINK their future will look like, I figured giving the “future me” clips an outline look would symbolize the incompleteness of thought this successful future has. After all, we don’t know what cars, buildings, or other surroundings will look like, but the outline of future progress is always looming.
But really, I just like the way it looked
4. The car in the video is NOT my car, nor did I vandalize someone’s property. Atlanta has a ZipCar program which allows people like me to sign up for usage of cars stationed throughout the city. Since I am part of the program, I was able to use the car as a prop without getting in trouble. This is called “creative strategy,” people!
5. Lastly, it’s a bit ironic that I mention in the song how friends won’t help me. My friend, Michele, was more than happy not only to send me a “rejection” text message (at the EXACT time I asked for it, no less!), but to call and leave a “no-show” message for me to use! It’s also ironic that she’s playing the part of the “unreliable girl,” since she’s always been very reliable to me. Thanks, Michele!
So, there’s your insights for this week’s song/video. Enjoy, and I’ll see you next week!