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This week’s music video is for the song, “I’m Gonna Make It.”
INSIGHT INTO A SONG:
This was one of the last songs I recorded for the mixtape. Most of the songs I recorded had either already been written or recorded by me earlier on (as I tend to record quite a few songs on my downtime), but this one was written up about 2 days before I finished the mixtape (the absolute last track recorded was “Blow It All,” but even that one had been written for some time).
The beat used in the song is from the Mariah Carey song, “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time,” off her most recent album release, “E=MC^2.” It’s one of my favorite songs off the album, and I knew I wanted to use it for a song of some kind for the mixtape… I just had no idea what I wanted to write about.
Then, inspiration hit me in the weirdest way. I was on my way to work one day, and I was cutting it pretty close to the time the train might arrive at the station. I left my apartment later than expected, and only had about 45 minutes to get to work. Once I got closer to the station, I ran my butt off as fast as I could, hoping I could get there just in time to catch the train…
…but it was not meant to be. I got to the station and remembered that I had to recharge my MARTA breeze card for another week, and in the time it took me to tap my card, press the right buttons, pay the machine, charge through the gates and run down the stairs, the train closed its doors just as I made it to the platform and took off.
I yelled the above phrase, along with a few other words that won’t be typed here (sorry, Mom!). I was furious! I knew that if the next train didn’t come soon I’d get to work late, and there’s nothing managers and bosses like more than when an employee doesn’t arrive to work on time.
As I walked around worrying about when the next train would come, I started freestyling to myself: “I missed the train again; now my boss goin’ to complain again…”
From there, I kept on thinking of more and more lyrics. Luckily, my phone has voice recorder on it, so I recorded myself saying the rest of the first part of the verse.
Once I got to work (and thank God the next train only took 5 minutes to show up – I got to work right on time!), I started writing down some more lyrics; and later that evening when I got home, I figured out how the middle part of the song should go. Next thing you know, I had a hot song on my hands!
This is one of those “going through hardships but keeping up hope” songs. As I say in the last part of the song, I’ve been going at this music thing for 4 to 5 years now, and there are times when things aren’t going as well as I planned. Despite any minor setbacks, though, I’ve always had the belief that if I stuck to it long enough, I’d eventually make some real progress, gain fans, and be able to sell an album and/or go on tour. This song is the culmination of those things starting to happen, and I couldn’t be happier!
Some Interesting Song Tidbits:
1. Contrary to what I say in the song, my boss and managers are actually real nice people! I’m rarely late for work, but when I am I call ahead, and they are usually understanding. However, there are many people that have bosses and managers who aren’t so understanding, so for creative purposes the first few lines of the song are quite relatable.
2. The line, “5 days late, I ain’t got the rent/Addin’ on fees, and it’s got me bent” – was put in because, at the complex I live in, they charge a $35 late fee if you don’t pay your rent by the 5th. Needless to say, I’ve never been late on rent!
3. I haven’t had any neighbors cuss me out, but I have had a few yell things like “Hey, be quiet!” or bang on my wall while trying to record. I wish I had soundproof walls!
4. The line, “Don’t rap – you don’t even have the right look/You ain’t hard…” was put in because I’ve had a LOT of people tell me I don’t look like a rapper. I don’t wear doo-rags, don’t smoke, rarely drink, don’t have sex with hoards of women, talk like I’m from the hood… but that’s fine with me, ’cause Kanye West is outsellin’ ALL the rappers that “look like rappers,” ha ha ha!!
INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:
Once again, shooting the video was very easy, while editing it sucked monkey balls.
The concept for the video was “An Average Day in the Life of A.P.T., Job-worker and Super-stardom-Dreamer.” It shows me being late to work, then coming home and trying to record, cooking dinner, watching shows on my laptop, and finally finishing up a song before bed-time.
I shot the entire thing in one day, this past Friday. I got up at 7 in the morning for the “first wake-up” shot. Afterwards, I dressed up in some business-like clothes and walked to the MARTA station to take shots of the train as it left. I thought it would take a while for a train to actually come, so imagine my surprise when, as soon as I got there, a train was about to enter the station! I got my camera out and started recording from the top of the stairs, then ran down to give the appearance of me chasing the train.
After that, I took two shots of me, one of me frustrated at missing the train, and one of me calling my job to tell my boss that I’ll be late. He yells at me on the phone, which is why I push it away from me in the video. I was going to have a shot of me being yelled at by someone playing my boss… but seeing as I don’t get any help on these videos… ah, I’ve said enough about that already.
Next, I went home, set the clock on my radio to 8:27, and shot film of me racing out of bed once I realize my original wake-up time – 7 AM – passed by me 87 minutes ago!
After that, I waited until around 7 PM to finish filming. I wanted it to look like time had passed, and that I had been at work all day, which means I had to wait for the outside to look a bit more dusk-like. I basically shot everything in sequence as shown in the video; that’s why it looks progressively darker as the video goes on.
So, like I said, filming the actual video was easy. Then, I went to load the film onto my computer, and accidentally dropped my camera while it was loading. It didn’t break my camera, but somehow it corrupted the files to where they wouldn’t play via Windows Media Maker. This wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, since the footage would still play through the Realtime Player – but my editing software only edits WMV files, and I couldn’t transfer them back to work properly!
I ended up having to contact HP online support, and they sent me to a site where I could download software that would transfer my files back into WMV. Fortunately, the software worked. UNFORTUNATELY, though, the trial software would place a big thing in the middle of my media saying “This is the unregistered version.” In order for that message to NOT be there, I had to register the software… for $39!! I was so pissed off at the thought of having to actually PAY for one of my videos to be made, I almost said “screw it” and wasn’t going to put out a video this week.
But, I made a commitment to this whole project the first day I started it that I would do a video a week for a year. And, now that I have fans that expect one each Sunday, I wasn’t going to disappoint them.
So, I bought the software. Turns out, it ended up being a blessing in disguise! Not only did it transfer my files into WMV; it also allowed you to make some funky-looking edits to my footage prior to transfering it. This software is the reason I was able to add the fuzzy-looking footage, along with the footage surrounding my footage in the center of the video. This means I have even MORE options now when I edit these videos!
Some Interesting Video Tidbits:
1. People ask me if (a) I have a cameraman, or (b) how I’m able to take shots at different angles with no help. It’s called “creative camera placement.”
That shot of me walking to my apartment door? There’s a stair banister there, and the flat part is adjacent to my apartment door. That shot of me looking at my bills? I set my camera on an ironing board sitting up against my wall. That shot of me in the bathroom brushing my teeth? I have a bathroom cabinet. There are some other little tricks I do, too – the bottom line, though, is that whatever shot I want, I FIND a way to get it!
2. I filmed all the “morning shots” before 8 AM. I had to set the clock to different times.
3. In the opening of the video, when the clock strikes 7, the song you hear is a snippet of my song, “True Lyricist,” also off “The O-Bama Mixtape.”
4. In the center of the video, there is footage of me watching two things on my laptop. The first one is a clip of Bernie Mac from “The Original Kings of Comedy” movie; the second one is a clip of Chef from the show “South Park” – voiced by Issac Hayes – singing the “Suck on My Chocolate Salty Balls” song.
Both of these gentleman died last weekend, and I wanted to do a tribute to them in my own way without overstating it. I got the idea from a “Sex and the City” episode filmed right after the September 11th attacks – rather than make a whole show about tragedy and destruction, or making some big statement about how great New York was, they simply kept showing a snow globe with a statuette of the World Trade Center buildings inside. Simple, yet understood.
5. I recorded this song on my H2 Zoom mic. However, the mic you see in the video is my OFFICIAL STUDIO MIC that I’m using to record my album. My songs will sound MUCH better now!!
6. And yes, in case you were wondering: I really DID put my camera in my freezer to get my refrigerator shot. And yes, I can cook.
7. Estimated time for editing: 6 hours, most of which was spent transferring the footage back into WMV format. I NEED a Mac, people!
That’s all for now. Enjoy the video – “The A.P.T. LP” comes out next week! See ya Sunday!