LPA EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Filmmaker / Music Video Director Mark Pellington

Discussion in 'News' started by Derek, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. #1
    Derek

    Derek LPAssociation.com Administrator LPA Administrator

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    Music videos are a unique art - giving face and image to the songs we love the most. Every filmmaker has a different style and approach, and for a lucky few, their creativity becomes immortalized in music videos that stand the test of time. Mark Pellington walks amongst those few, whose resume includes the likes of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," U2's "One," and Foo Fighters' "Best of You."

    While Linkin Park has mostly stuck with their own Joe Hahn for their videos, they've occasionally brought in outside insight. This time they brought in Pellington to give illustration to "Final Masquerade," the rock ballad off of their latest album The Hunting Party that may be one of Chester Bennington's best vocal performances to date. And, lucky for us, this video is one that Pellington is very proud of.

    However, there is more to Pellington's filmography than iconic music videos. The filmmaker out of Los Angeles made his start at MTV doing small TV spots before making his way into the music video business. After working with the likes of Springsteen, Public Enemy and Alice in Chains, Pellington pursued a number of other projects ranging from visual live performance work to a diary film for PBS. In 1997, he would make his feature film debut, "Going All the Way," which received positive reviews and ultimately would lead to more feature films. During this time, Pellington would work with the likes of Ben Affleck, Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Demi Moore, and many others. Since then, Pellington has continued to work with a-list actors on the big screen and on TV, and has also since continued to work with music videos. More recently, Pellington collaborated with singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe on a 57-minute short film, "Lone," which has also been received very positively.

    We here at the LPA had the chance to speak with Mark Pellington not only about his work with Linkin Park, but about his impressive career and the challenges that come with directing music videos. We would like to thank Mark for giving us the opportunity to talk to him, and we hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did!

    [thumb]http://www.lpassociation.com/upload/images/072914-012851_ScreenShot07-29-14at0215AM002_zps93e8664c.png[/thumb]

    LPA [Derek]: You've had the chance to work with so many bands on legendary songs...Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," U2's "One," and so forth. Is there one music video in your career that you are most proud of? Why?

    Mark Pellington:
    Proud is an interesting word. I would say that Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” has become so iconic and so timeless, that its impact was so deep then and has continued 22 years later. That right there sets it apart from the other ones, because if over the years if there’s one video that people keep saying to me, “Oh my god," it’s that one. So, that’s a testament to that zeitgeist at that time of the song, and my gratitude towards being able to interpret it. So, I would say Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy."

    LPA: What are some of the unique challenges that come with directing a music video versus directing any other piece of film? Do you like it better than working on short films and television pieces?

    MP: I love music videos. I think they’re my favorite form to work with because I’m a huge music fan, and because of the emotion that comes from music and the freedom that music videos give you to explore the subconscious. And you can tell stories, but you’re not really bound by conventional narrative or conventional plot. Therefore they’re my favorite medium to work in. Each medium…whether it be a television pilot or a feature, or a documentary, or a commercial or video... each form is unique to itself. Much in the way a poem is different from the novel, which is different from a short story, which is different than a haiku, you know…each literary form is different. Each visual form is different, and each artistic form has its own cross-pollination of influence. So I like them all for different reasons, but music videos are my favorite.

    LPA: In recent years channels like MTV and VH1 have greatly changed their approach to programming. Given your work on MTV, do you think music videos are still relevant today, even though those channels have turned their attention largely to reality television?

    MP: Well you know, MTV’s move away from playing music videos as a primary form of programming…that happened many years ago. They dropped the ‘music television’ from their logo many years ago, so that’s not a recent trend - that’s a fact. I think the demise of music videos [on MTV] as a main broadcast - as in having one place to see them - was a transition in the same way that the internet expanded as a medium to view programming all the way up to Netflix. Music videos have become resurgent as the internet has expanded. When you [make] a video and you can see a million views, and see comments and see feedback, that’s great. Certainly I think post-economically, the music video business has changed. The economic collapse kind of crushed it. And as the music business changed, digital downloading and the digital world changed the music business on a financial level. The budget and use of music videos as a marketing tool has shifted, and I think it’s actually gained a resurgence in the last several years. Because musicians and the relationship between music and image has a rich history and will always have a history, it just means the sources of screens and where the screens are changes. So it goes from a monopoly of MTV, which was really the only game in town and was really powerful in how it changed the music business 20-25 years ago, to now…artists are controlling the creation and distribution of music more and hence they’re controlling the creation and distribution of their image, which creates great opportunities beyond music videos to merge, image and music and story.

    LPA: Is the video more performance-driven, or does it follow a story with different characters?

    MP: Like "Best of You," it’s a collage. It’s an emotional performance collage where within that collage, the band is performing in one half of the video, and in the other half there’s imagery that has stories but it’s not a linear narrative. It’s a lot of associative subconscious little situations, stories and characters that are all rubbing against each other. There’s no great overarching concept, and there’s some pretty deep buried subconscious meaning behind them all, but that’s for me to know. The band was very trusting when I met with them. I wrote the treatment pretty free-form, and said “this is what I see, and this is where I am in my life and this is what I feel." I met with Joe and Mike and they were fans [of me], and I was a fan of them, and they were very trusting and we just did it. There was very little fanfare about it. It was really a degree of them knowing my work, and we had a couple of discussions about tone and palette, and once we did it…that was it!

    On other recent projects he's excited for:

    MP:
    There is something I'm proud of that is not on YouTube yet, but will be soon. I did a 55 minute film for a Los Angeles artist named Chelsea Wolfe, and it's called "Lone" and it is fucking cool. There's trailers for it online, there's a video for a song called "Feral Love" and it's definitely a darker, spookier cousin of Final Masquerade. The song is on YouTube and the film is available per her site, but if you're into Linkin Park's "Final Masquerade" you'd love Chelsea Wolfe's "Lone".
     
  2. #2
    Josh

    Josh Met LP 8-13-14 LPA VIP

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    Wow. This music video is like WID+Castle of Glass+Lost in the echo music videos combined.

    Anyways, I'd like to say a couple of things.

    First of all, when FM came out, I was really disappointed. I thought it sounded basic and boring. But it is starting to hit me now. I have grown on it a lot. Don't get me wrong though, it is basic.

    This music video is done very well with lots of shots that capture the intense moments. The beginning is the best IMO.

    The only thing I didn't like about this music video was that, mark/LP tried to make it too dramatic/heavy during LP's shots. It was a bit overdone.

    I really do like the music video. It has a sense of creepyness with some love into it.
     
  3. #3
    The Joesen One

    The Joesen One Fun-employed LPA Super Member

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    Cool interview! Interesting ideas on the current state of the music video business
     
  4. #4
    polleo

    polleo You're gonna carry that weight. LPA Super Member

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    I think it was the best music video this album cycle. GATS video felt like a walkthrough, UIG's was fun but to me felt a little soulless. The feel of this video kinda fits the music. I still think Chester is too close to the camera though.
     
  5. #5
    jouki

    jouki Well-Known Member

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    Yay! Another video to show us that there will be a war (Third world war, maybe), we will be oppressed and miserable. The video aims to show that the end of most of us is coming and that we have to forget all the happiness and good feelings and to prepare for war or something bad that is coming. Just priceless -_-

    Even chemtrails are shown in the sky above Chester....
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  6. #6
    Filip

    Filip god break down the door LPA Contributor

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    Here's a cookie.

    [THUMB]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Choco_chip_cookie.png[/THUMB]
     
  7. #7
    polleo

    polleo You're gonna carry that weight. LPA Super Member

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    Are you sure that's what the video was about?
     
  8. #8
    jouki

    jouki Well-Known Member

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    that's mostly what it is about
     
  9. #9
    minuteforce

    minuteforce Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. LPA Team

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    For those of you who mainly want to voice your opinions on the "Final Masquerade" video and your wacky conspiracy theories, there's a news thread for that here. :)
     
  10. #10
    Louis

    Louis Message me if you need to talk. We love you all. LPA Team

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    I really enjoyed reading through this interview, honestly. It gives a lot of insight and honestly gives us a fresh perspective considering we're used to seeing Joe behind the camera. Great job with the interview, Derek!
     

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