Lisa Burks, Chris Epting They are perhaps the ultimate monuments to music -…
Q&A: Director of Joey Ramone's 'New York City' Video on Working in 100-Degree Heat With Andrew W.K. and Anthony Bourdain
- Posted on Sep 26th 2012 12:15PM by Adam Horne
How long did the entire video take to finish?
We spent about three weeks shooting the video in the middle of the summer -- two of those weeks were the hottest two weeks of the year, which made it uncomfortable for everyone in those heavy motorcycle jackets. No one died, but my producer did get heatstroke on the day we shot on the Brooklyn Bridge.
How many people are in it?
There are 115 people in the video total.
How'd you go about synching up their mouths in a stop-motion sequence to the lyrics in the song? Thinking about that process makes my head hurt.
I shot video of myself singing and acting out the entire video in my hotel room on a flip camera. I took that footage into my computer, synced it all up with the song, and then broke the whole thing down into about 1600 numbered images. I threw those images on my phone and an iPad, which essentially gave us a reference image for each frame we shot. So, my character animator or myself would be looking at the phone or iPad and having the cast member essentially mimic what I was doing in the picture, right down to the mouth sound.
How much time on average did it take per person? I would imagine scheduling this was also a nightmare.
We were able to shoot each person out in under 30 minutes, with a few exceptions for the people that are on screen for a little longer than the others. And the baby. Turns out it's not that easy to get a 1 year old to hold the exact pose you need 15 times in a row. Scheduling was certainly tricky throughout, but since we rarely shot full 10 to 12-hour days, it was never really too bad.
Was there anybody you were surprised to find out was actually a huge Ramones fan?
I'm actually always surprised when I talk to someone that hasn't heard of the Ramones. There were a number of times when we were pulling pedestrians off of the street to be in the video, and we'd ask them if they had heard of the Ramones. Usually if they hadn't, I'd chant the "Hey ho!" part of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and they'd chirp up.
That said, NYC is a super Ramones-aware city overall. They have Ramones stuff all over the place, which was really awesome to see when we were shooting. There was even some sort of Ramones tour going on right when we were shooting in front of the Continental, which gave us all a laugh.
Out of all the cameos, who was the most fun to work with?
That's tough. Honestly, everyone was really positive, awesome and very easy to work with. No one ever complained about dealing with the heavy jackets in the 100-degree heat or having to stand in the middle of intersections while I'm trying to quickly snap a picture of them striking a pose while blocking traffic. But, shooting the whole comedy gang in Central Park was probably the best consecutive experience since all those guys were friends with one another so it felt like a group project that day.
The most humorous experience, though, was Andrew W.K. wearing the leather jacket backwards, standing in the middle of an intersection, staring a car down while they were blaring their horn at him. Clearly they had no idea who they were honking at! (Ed. note: We can relate)
Which individual sequence was the trickiest to shoot?
That's probably a tie between the bit in Chinatown, due to the insanely dense foot traffic, and the baby in Flushing, who kept getting hit by water from the Unisphere fountains, which she wasn't into. But, she was a trouper and pulled through like a champ.
How much of NYC was covered, geographically speaking?
We covered almost nine miles, not including the bit at the end with the guy in the DEATH shirt, which we jumped from landmark to landmark for every shot. That two-second bit alone took a day to shoot, and we walked about 8 miles, starting down at Washington Square Park, and ending up at Lincoln Center.
Last question: Is Bourdain as cool as we all imagine?
His coolness defies explanation!