Behind the Scenes of "Dear Enemy"
Welcome to the behind-the-scenes of how I created "Dear Enemy" and what all went into making it a success. If you haven't seen it yet, pause. Take a minute to watch it now.
Writing the Poem
I wrote "Dear Enemy" about my anxiety and what it's like to experience it. I didn't include the word "anxiety" in it because I wanted to give viewers the opportunity to connect with the poem through their own struggles. Originally, I wrote it in English, but thanks to a friend, I was able to have the poem translated into French, which the same friend then coached me on how to pronounce it for the voice over.
I cannot learn new languages to save my life. For this poem, we recorded sentence by sentence because I kept forgetting how to pronounce certain words, as you'll hear in the audio clip below.
So, shoutout to my coach for dealing with me!
Cast & Crew
Samantha Edwards (@samedwardsm) was our model for the video. She was SO easy to work with and willing to do whatever we needed to get the shot. I met her through a mutual friend for a photoshoot I did last year. Sam had the perfect look for what I was going for this time around and I knew she would be the perfect fit. I also claimed her as my famous friend because she modeled for the front page of boohoo's website. You can see the videos she makes on her YouTube page here.
Taylor Jones (@taylor.to.you), a fellow videographer, was essential to this project. Without her, I would've died. She threw sheets, carried equipment, helped to direct Sam, held reflectors, and gave crucial, creative advice when I got stuck. It helped greatly to have another videographer there with me who knew my vision and could help execute all of my ideas. Taylor also helped with giving feedback throughout the editing process. You can see the videos she makes on her YouTube page here.
Costumes & Props
The first frame of the video starts out with a mask hanging from a branch. It cuts to Sam wearing the mask and then a close up of her wearing the mask. Taylor and I drove to Goodwill a couple of hours before we were scheduled to shoot with Sam to find some costumes and props. It was a couple weeks before Halloween, so there were a ton of options. I came across this mask and was immediately drawn to it. My goal for the first few frames was to evoke a sense of imprisonment. Anxiety tends to take control of your body and to vaguely represent that idea, we decided to clothe Sam with the mask and a heavy sweater, allowing for the color black to cover her body. It was important to have that color throughout the video because of the fear, mystery, and evil it symbolizes.
The red smoke grenade shot was the most nerve wrecking one to record. I bought two Enola Gaye smoke grenades off eBay for $15 total. The reason why I was so nervous was because they only lasted 30 seconds each and I hadn't used them before so I didn't know what to expect. The first try went pretty well. I ended up using it in the final product. The second try didn't go as well. As I pulled the wire, the smoke came out of the grenade right into Sam's eyes, causing them to sting pretty bad. Thankfully there were no permanent side affects!
Another purchase we made at Goodwill was the red trench coat. Towards the end of the video, Sam is standing in the woods with her back to the camera and all of a sudden the coat is lifted off the ground and is placed on Sam as if it were a living thing. This shot received the most questions by viewers. "How did you do it?!" Actually, it was pretty easy. It was a simple reverse and reduce of speed. Check out the video below to see the different the steps I took to create the red coat shot.
Additional Costumes and Props:
By Taylor Jones
Taylor was great to have on set not just for assisting production but also for documenting production. Below is a gallery of the photos she took while we were filming and a vlog she made of the entire process. Enjoy!
Click here to view Taylor's website.