T.J. Miller's "Denver" video has only been online for a little over a week and we haven't been able to stop singing: "Denver, Denver, I'm from Denver, Denver." It's no secret, we love the video -- it has everything a good citizen of Denver might want in a song/music video tribute to our fair city: beer, Casa Bonita, pretend cannibalism, DIA's Blue Mustang and many, many words that rhyme with Denver. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out it above.
It's tougher than you think to write a song about Denver, T.J. Miller told The Huffington Post: "I just liked how 'Denver' doesn't really rhyme with anything, so I thought, let's try and rhyme the daylights out of this," Miller said. "And we did. Oh my wowzers. I rhyme it with so many words. 'Tender' mostly."
Promoting Miller's new comedy album The Extended Play E.P., which features the "Denver" song and dozens more, the video premiered last week at "Film on the Rocks" before a screening of "Bridesmaids" to a sold out crowd.
The Huffington Post recently chatted with the Nix Bros. -- Adam and Evan -- the directors of "Denver" and some of the funniest comedy videos in town including The Grawlix webseries and fictional German rock band Total Ghost about what went into making the video for this funny new Denver anthem.
Scroll down below the interview to see behind the scenes photos of the shoot and from the premiere at Red Rocks.
How did you guys get into making videos?
E. Nix: We've been making funny videos together since high school. We casted stand up comedians early on. They're easy to work with, good at improvisation and have great intuition.
A. Nix: Comedy doesn't need to rely on anything but the laugh. You can make something funny with a word, an action, or some sort of silly fruit. You don't need slick production values or crazy impossible camera moves. It can all come down to a turn of phrase or an awkward glance. I guess I'm trying to say that it's cheap.
What's your production/direction process?
E. Nix: We each try to play to our strengths. We do it all together and communicate about almost everything. That's what makes our collaboration successful. As siblings, we have a built in ability to communicate.
A. Nix: We usually agree on just about everything, but when we don't it always comes down to a face-to-carpet wrestling match.
How do you come up with your video concepts?
E. Nix: They're all different. Frequently we are approached by comedians and musicians to do videos for them. Some of our projects are original, like Total Ghost our fake-German electro band. We generally shoot with scripts but always embrace improv on set.
A. Nix: The Grawlix episodes all have full scripts, but then most of the dialogue changes as we're shooting. We'll all add and change ideas as they come, we try to roll with whatever's funniest. A lot of the more memorable/recurring jokes in the series were made up completely on the spot.
Who came up with the idea to do this and what prompted it?
E. Nix: T.J. contacted us about doing a music video for a song from his album. As comedy fans, we were already familiar with his album and his other music videos, so we jumped at the chance. The video is fully inspired by the song. We wanted it to be packed full of awesome secret Denver references as well as insane non sequiturs. It also had to be as crazy and wild as T.J.'s comedy. Hopefully people will want to watch it twice to make sure they caught everything.
How did the shooting schedule work for "Denver?"
E. Nix: We had an intensely condensed shooting schedule, shooting over 10 locations in four days all around Denver and the front range including the Blue Horse at DIA, Casa Bonita, Copper Mountain, Colfax Avenue, Civic Center, and more. We shot a ton of footage, giving us a whole lot to cut out in editing. This video is 50% music video, 50% a documentary about our crazy intense Denver weekend. Also, fun fact: T.J. Miller is the first non-employee to legally dive off the cliffs in Casa Bonita's 38 year history.
A. Nix: We sat down early on and collectively put together a list of all of our best/craziest ideas. Andy worked hard to secure locations, beagles, etc. By the time we were done shooting we had enough footage to make like 16 music videos.
The DIA demon horse moment in the video is the greatest moment in Colorado history, inarguably -- how did you guys do that?
E. Nix: I never expected we'd actually get to shoot at the feet of Blucifer, let alone wake him from his thousand year hibernation and get him to sing a line for the camera. Producer Andy Juett was able to do amazing things and pull some serious strings to get us into every iconic Denver location we asked of him. I attribute his success rate to his dreamy bedroom eyes.
It looks like you guys had a lot of fun doing this, how do you keep it fun or does it turn into work at some point?
E. Nix: Being able to keep things fun and productive at the same time is something we strive for on every set. Too many filmmakers spend forever trying to control every minute aspect of the mise en scéne and the actual production becomes time consuming, costly, the pressure builds, and people have less fun. In this video we made the chaos part of the process and things stayed light the whole time. It also helped to have an amazingly skilled and attentive crew who can be on their feet and move with the tide.
A. Nix: In any video project it's about half fully creative ideas, and half super technical problem solving. In a lot of ways, being creative in solving problems helps break up the tedium of the endless editing hours. By the end of the process it's almost impossible to tell if something is funny any more, so we usually show a bunch of different people and study reactions.
Any advice for young filmmakers?
E. Nix: Don't rush into making a feature. Make all kinds of videos every chance you get. Too many folks try diving into that epic project right out of the gate. Take your time and learn how to tell any kind of story visually.
A. Nix: Don't get hung up on the little details. Find other talented people to collaborate with. We still get wrapped up in trying to do everything ourselves occasionally, but having multiple minds on the same problem makes for the best end product.
What is next for the Nix Bros?
E. Nix: Laugh Track Comedy Festival is August 2-4th at Denver's Oriental and Bug Theatres and we'll be playing 30 films and featuring 40 comedians from around the country. Total Ghost is playing at Denver UMS and Denver County Fair. Stay tuned for The Grawlix Episode 10 at Funny or Die.
Check out photos from behind the scenes of the "Denver" music video shoot as well as the premiere at Red Rocks below: