We talked to Creative Director Randall Graham (pictured above in the red tee) about PSY promo for the 2013 MMVAs and we found out some pretty interesting backstage facts about the shoot! Like did you know that the shoot included crash pads, ripping pants, and Balderdash? Thankfully Randall was able to share with us some of his secrets of success and gave us some insight on what it takes to work with a worldwide sensation.
First let’s talk about the 2013 MMVA campaign, Save Your Screams. Have you seen those videos? Yeah, Randall’s team did those brilliant spots. But inspiration doesn’t come easy. Randall shared, “We went through two hundred and twenty-seven ideas that we thought were s— and not good enough and it came down to the last day before we had to start getting it in production and then one of the producers, Shane Cunningham, said, “What if there was this girl who was painting her nails and then there was a spider creeping crawling towards her… and instead of freaking out and screaming she just brushes it off because she is saving all her hysteria for the MuchMusic Video Awards?”
Randall continued, “We always know when it’s a good idea because everybody jumped on it and had their own execution of Save Your Screams. You know that’s when it’s a good idea when other people get excited.” It’s not all serious work talk around MUCH HQ, guys. We’re creative too! That breakthrough moment happened after Randall had taken their second to last brainstorm meeting as a chance to try new things. So where did he go? The toy store. To pick up Balderdash. It was a chance to take a break and shake things off with the game during their meeting. And now we got Save Your Screams. Side note? The game is still in his desk.
For the PSY promo, Randall’s team had only twenty-eight minutes to make magic happen. Luckily, they got to be in LA to shoot it! “We shot a bit of it in LA and a bit of it in Toronto. [In LA we shot] at his recording studio he had rented. It was the coolest building I’ve ever seen. It was one big studio surrounded by little studios with cool funky green rooms, and had The Beach Boys studio where the last Beach Boys album was recorded.”
Randall gave us the scoop on PSY saying he was “very nice and polite and very firm.” PSY also was “totally chilling. He was funny. I think he’s gonna be a great host,” revealed Randall.
Prior to meeting up with the energetic pop sensation, Randall had created a mock up of what he wanted to shoot with PSY. “As soon as I had got there. I had shot a mock up of what it would be and shot it on an iPad and quickly cut it with me as a stand-in for PSY and my production manager as the person who gets tackled. So I put those shots together and quickly edited it before he got there on iMovie so instead of me directing him and talking him through it I could show him what we were going to do.”
Randall continued, “So I played it for him and I was laughing quite hysterically when we were doing that shot when I’m playing PSY at the end. I played it for him and obviously I was anticipating or hoping that he would laugh… I was thinking, “Please laugh, please laugh, please laugh, oh no…” And then suddenly he goes, “… BAHAHAHA!” He started laughing and said this would be funny… it was good moment.”
For the other scenes where the extras get tackled by PSY, the team used a PSY-lookalike stunt double. Randall revealed, “We had a crash mat and Stunt-PSY had a trampoline to jump from. If you go frame by frame on some of them he’s soaring!” Randall also revealed that it was hard for the team to find people who were willing to get tackled on camera so a few of the people you see in the promo are actually part of his creative team! And another insider tidbit? The Stunt-PSY’s pants ripped on the very first take! How’s that for Gangnam Style?
Watch the video Randall and his team created with PSY here and be sure to watch the 2013 MMVAs on Sunday, June 16 at 9E/6P on Much in Canada and Fuse in the U.S. Don’t miss The MMVAs RED CARPET SPECIAL, which airs just before the big show at 8E/5P.