On February 25, 2017 we shot a video for Sweet Desperation at Lake Nokomis.
I went down to Nokomis a week prior to scout the location. I’d been to the beach before. A good portion of the video would be filmed there. It was the bookends. The question was: what else was around the lake that would be great to film? What did the landscape offer? Ok. There were a number of things up in the air. I cruised around the lake, noticed the bridges crossing the creek. Then I saw the hill and the lifeguard stand. I didn’t even get out of my car. I just made another loop around the lake. It was enough to know how we could use the landscape in the video. Seeing the location also helped define the idea of the video and gave us an idea of what shots we’d need to grab (which is a great idea when shooting a video).
We shot a video with Tyler 2 years ago for Annie’s Piano and we went into it with minimal planning. Tyler was great. He showed up with his buddy and a couple cameras and we made it up as we went. Corey scouted a location and we had a white sheet. As a side note, we did knock on the door of the house with the weeping willow at the end of that video. For our next video, we wanted to have more of a plan.
The idea was a low budget/no budget production. We had the thought of going to a snow covered beach, throwing down our beach towels and genuinely trying to enjoy a bitterly cold situation. The imagery fit the song. We would add in clips of the band walking both forwards and backwards that seem to, maybe, get nowhere. And obviously we would be trudging through a foot of snow. I think we succeeded in many ways. We just couldn’t get it to snow.
The week leading up to the shoot there wasn’t much snow on the ground. Lake Nokomis was still mainly frozen over. It was smack in the middle of an unusually mild February in Minnesota and the weather personas were calling for 6-12 inches by Friday, the day before the shoot. All week I listened as the forecasts ebbed and flowed. Snow would have been great for the video. That’s a big reason we wanted to shoot the video in February. We thought there was a good chance there would be snow on the ground. Well, Saturday rolled around and not a flake. In fact, the sky was a vibrant blue the morning we met up to shoot the video. Dead brown grass was clumped to the frozen earth. But no snow. It was cold, however, and that would have to do.
The morning of the shoot we met up at the Bunker and prepared to be outside for a few hours. We checked all of our props: beach towels, party cups, tiny umbrellas and cooler and we headed to Nokomis. We parked on the street across from the pay lot by the beach and we hauled all of our gear down to the lake. I was playing director and learning on the fly. Tyler was showing me shots and angles and I was trying to get everyone in frame.
By the time we got to Nokomis at 11 a.m., it was 22 degrees out with clear blue skies. It was crisp and the wind off the lake was biting. Liz didn’t dress for the cold, but she borrowed snow pants. Shane didn’t wear a hat and figured he’d just tough it out. I thought it was a wardrobe choice. Our first focus was the beach scene and after we hit all the shots we walked down to the bridges and found our near and far camera spots. We walked across bridges. Then we marched back to our cars and parked them closer to the hill. A week later Corey would tell me he got a ticket for expired tabs. Looking back, that’s the biggest expense we had in the production of this video.
We continued on. But before we could shoot, we had to do some trash cleanup. Wrappers and plastic bags and beer cans were strewn about the landscape. We carried the bag with us and picked up bits of winter garbage. We climbed up and down the hill. I may or may not have actually hugged a tree.
The final location was the lifeguard stand. We were going for a band shot, a singer shot and the montage clips of screaming and, I suppose, what I dubbed the “tantrums.” I thought it would be a great idea for everybody to do them. But as it turns out, only Corey and Beau were even down with attempting something called a “tantrum” on video. In retrospect, I should have called it something else, maybe a “frustration dance.” Either way, this location held the climax of the video. It was a ton of fun to shoot and I think it turned out smashingly.
A couple weeks later Tyler invited Corey and me over to edit the video, we expressed our vision and Tyler worked the controls. It was quite an experience to see him work his magic. He was understanding of our ideas and added his expertise at every turn in the project.
We hope you like the video.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson