Javier Grillo-Marxuach is pretty much the man. He's written for and served as producer on several well-known, critically-acclaimed shows including "Lost", "Medium", "Charmed", and more. He served as showrunner on "The Middleman", which he created, and he continues to be a force in the world of comic books. In addition, he likes to get coffee at the same spot I do and is a prolific tweeter.
Mr. Grillo-Marxuach has been kind enough to take an interest in my projects, and I'm always interested in hearing what he has in the works. A couple of months ago, I spotted him downing caffeine while sketching storyboards with intense focus. I asked what he was up to, and he told me he was directing his first music video for the song "Ghost of Syllables" by the band Admiral Radley. I wasn't familiar with the band, so I did some Googling and liked what I heard.
Mr. Grillo-Marxuach mentioned he was planning to shoot with the Canon 5D, which I've written about before as an amazing tool for do-it-yourself indie filmmakers. Ever since I first saw the image quality that's capable with the 5D, it became apparent that this is a tool that, in the right hands, can produce absolutely amazing, cinematic results. Mr. Grillo-Marxuach hammers this point home with the "Ghost of Syllables" video (embedded below).
It all started at last year's LA Film Festival. Grillo-Marxuach viewed a bunch of music videos and decided he wanted in on the action. A music producer friend soon supplied him with 72 different mp3s, but it was "Ghosts of Syllables" that really jumped out. Being not unfamiliar with the ups and downs of relationships, he found himself drawn to the idea of break ups and deciphering the meanings of the words that were never spoken. He felt the song to be "poignant poetry about breaking up", and the notion of erasing came to click as a concept for the video.
The video took two days to shoot with a crew of about ten people. Most of the very small budget went towards the production design, with the idea being that "all that was nice and warm in this apartment came from the woman."
Since shooting with the 5D, it's quickly become Grillo-Marxuach's favorite camera. He loves the flexibility it offers for the price, though he maintains that it needs to be operated by a capable director of photography. DP Jared Abrams was on board to create the right aesthetic, and more technical specs on the video can be found here.
Above all, Grillo-Marxuach just loves to make stuff. He'd been writing for the last two years, though he was starting to grow frustrated with his projects not being seen through to completion. Using today's cameras, he says, "with a miniscule amount of money, you can go out and create a fully realized work of art. No excuses."
So far, the video's been a hit. Grillo-Marxuach's been offered the chance to direct an upcoming episode of a friend's show. (More info on that to come.) Check out the video to "Ghosts of Syllables" below, and keep a lookout for more creative "stuff" to come from Javier Grillo-Marxuach. No doubt there will be more.