Archive for the ‘weirdest music video’ tag
Sometimes doing a search for people from your past brings you back together – other times it can deliver sad news.
I had not been in touch with Director and Cinematographer extraordinaire Irv Goodnoff in over 20 years. When I searched for him last week, I found he passed away in 2009. That brought back the memories of the work & time I spent with him. Irv had numerous credits, more than his IMDB listing indicates. Variety’s obituary said he’d worked on over 50 films & TV shows. It was interesting to learn had been teaching cinematography for the past few years, as that was his great love.
Though I had been writing, creating, shooting & directing videos for over 15 years, I had never worked in film or with a DGA Director. In the spring of 1984, a drug dealer/wannabe-producer I knew met Irv and I was asked if I’d be an Assistant Production Manager for a music videos for the Jefferson Starship. I was actually a glorified Production Assistant, since I was not paid.
Irv had just won MTV awards for his cinematography of Weird Al Yankovic’s Eat It video and Huey Lewis and the News’ Heart of Rock ‘n Roll, and he had recently started directing music videos.
He was repped by Fran Kapsalis, who later became my business partner. A few years later, we would open the first company distributing productivity software for the entertainment industry (scriptwriting, storyboarding, scheduling, budgeting, etc.) – but that’s a story for another time.
Working with Irv was a great learning experience and began to prepare me for working with other Hollywood professionals. Irv’s background was in commercials and his manic, shoot it fast, improvisational work style first appeared to me to be absolutely crazy. But I learned it worked for him only because of all the preparation he did prior to a shoot.
Irv was both D.P. and Director for these shoots. This worked well for him. When he’d grab the camera off the tripod to shoot hand-held he knew exactly what he was doing. Again, his preparation allowed him to get inspired on the set and to go for it – without hesitation or questioning his creative-side. Sometimes the results were not usable, but the lesson for me was it was always worth a try. Happy accidents can make great art.
We were in San Francisco and it was 1984, so there was an abundance of Peruvian marching powder on the sets (even though by then Grace Sick was straight and sober). It may have taken a toll on some of the band and crew, but it did not hurt the budget as it was supplied mostly by the wannabe-producer. It did make for long hours, though.
It didn’t matter. I was psyched. I was working on a ‘real’ set with a real director and with some my long-time, much admired rock heroes.
No Way Out
The first shoot was for No Way Out, a story of betrayal and comeuppance… maybe. It was a 3 day shoot with some pickups done later in LA.
MTV was in its prime and every band tried to out-do the other bands in the outrageousness of their productions. This video was no exception. The wannabe-Producer had many connections to Bay Area celebrities and he was able to get Father Guido Sarducci (Tom Novello) as a special guest. Tom started his career locally and was then a semi-regular on Saturday Night Live.
We used graphics and titles from an Apple ][, which no one had done before. They look so archaic & rudimentary compared to what’s possible today.
We constructed some surreal sets. One was a confessional booth opening into a bedroom.
No Way Out was voted one of top 5 weirdest videos ever shown on MTV.
Watch it and you’ll understand why it deserves that honor.