It’s Sunday, so you’d expect a Session.
We have one of sorts.
The week was crazy busy so we’ve been running behind (oh yeah, call me “Professor” from now on…but more on that at a later time.) Never really had time to coordinate the production of a Session so apologies for that.
A few days ago, I got this message in my inbox…
Sep 26 (4 days ago)
Kareem to me
Whaddup sir I’m in memphis…I’m doing a video for project pat this wkend….holla
So @ 4am on Saturday morn, Nquest and I hit the highway (right after Nquest got off work. We troopers knucka).
When I left, I had no preconcieved notions of what to expect or what we’d see, only knowing that we were going to see the filming of Project Pat’s “Raised In The Projects” video. I returned with a newfound understanding of what it is that really goes on during the making of a video, the shit MTV and BET just don’t show you…
8 Things I Learned About Videos
1. All types of people show up.
Of course they do; I knew that. But take into account that a.) shooting started @ 7am, b.) we were shooting the scene @ some boarded up projects (Dixie Homes) and c.) it wasn’t an announced location and you really don’t expect alot of people to be there.
It started off with a real low count of possibly 30-40 people and by midday had swelled to roughly 150 people roaming around. Which leads to…
2. There’s alot of roaming around, finding ways to spend time. Essentially, there were about 10-12 people in the crew of maybe 30, that were involved in every shot. The rest stood around, like football players waiting on the coach to call their number. Numbers were called often though, for one or two plays. Then it was back to waiting.
3. The director was Bernard Gourley and he seemed like a cool cat. Laidback, not too Hollywood and real focused. He’s directed 3-6’s “Stay Fly” and other joints by them, E-40’s “Tell Me When To Go” and Kanye’s “Grammy Family” vid.
4. Project Pat is larger in life than he sounds on wax or appears on the screen. Suprising because most cats I’ve met are short or damn near dwarfs, even though they talk big. Note to would be jackers – If you ever plan on robbing dude for his jewelry, make sure you bring the big tones because he’s probably someone you would want to get into an actual scuffle with. Pat was easily 6’3″-6’4″ and cornfeed like a motherfucker.
I was gonna Session with Pat but I kept thinking, “When I’m @ my job, would I want to be interviewed?” But dude was real approachable and extremely patient.
5. Pat had pretty much no security. There were three cops who caked because all they did was sit on their motorcycles (including one time when two cops had to push-start another cops motorcycle). Cats was walkin around brown baggin it w/22’s and you could smell trees in the air every now and then. I asked my man and his said not to trip because the cops weren’t cops in this situation; just “hired fuckin help” lol.
Now, early early in the morning, one of the two security guards Pat did have almost had an altercation (ie, the shoot could’ve potentially ended early)…some young bucks came up while shooting was happening.
Otis from Martin told’em to backup.
Shirts were touched.
Offense was taken.
Curse words flew.
“Nigga I’m from Chicago” was heard from Otis.
“Bitch you in Mem-fisss mayne!” was replied.
Otis reaches for his hip.
I thought “aww shit…not this early” lol.
The hired help managed to step in to try and descalate. The three blind mice knuckleheads were escorted off (but later came back). For the rest of the day, I made sure I was directly opposite of Otis in case retaliation was enforced.
6. When I say “people came to the shoot”, that’s only half of the half…I should’ve emphasised the number of characters who showed up.
Alot of lil new ninjas came in their cleanest of fits, New Era stickers intact, Southpole track jackets to match, ready to be in the background. And the hoodboogers popped up around 1, weaves gelled and sculpted, fresh ClothesTown and Fashion Cents mannequin fits in effect.
Faith Evans dirty stepchild/Little orphan Hood-Annie showed up early (far right), hoping to work her way into a cameo appearance, makeup caked on. Considering everybody had on hoodies and I had on a fleece because it was nippy during the morning, I can’t understand how this bird could stand being out there in a fuckin haltertop with her dirty navel showing. Unmatching denim outfit and muffin tops bulging out her jeans…not a good look.
“The Lightining King” showed up midday…my son was 6’6″, had on a black & white zoot suit, a magician’s hat…yellow shoes, gloves and a black cape…dark as night with bleach blond hair follicles, mustaches, eyebrows and goatee included. And he rapped (“It’s a mix of the gospels…but it’s got a hard, gangstafied edge to it…it just ain’t caught on yet.” Say word)…and was breakdancing…and you’ll just have to pics and footage to believe it all.
And there were little kids everywhere, who hung from the opening shots til the portrait shots @ the end of the shoot.Seeing Bernard, Kareem and everyone on the crew treat the kids like they were the neighbors kids was a cool scene and I know some lil ninja is going to school Monday to tell a story that nobody’s gonna believe.
7. Video shoots have to bad for your health.
With all of the standing around, you have a few options to entertain yourself – you snack and eat. Or you smoke.
I think I ate roughly 30 Slim Jims, 25+ chocolate chip cookies, several bags of chips, eight handfuls of Hershey’s Kisses, about 4 Blow Pops, lunch…some more cookies and Slim Jims before I hit the road. And cigarettes, pssh…we ain’t named The Smoking Section for nothing. Two packs easy, just on the shoot and a pack and half total on the road. All that junk food and nicotine to keep you occupied and motivated…let’s just say I was glad to get home to my throne.
And, the gophers/assistants made roughly…shit I think the one chicks job was just to continously go back and forth to Starbucks. And I doubt Bernard slept because my dude had a freshly filled latte (I stopped counting @ 6) every time I looked around. Hell, one time, one of the junkies, who’d crept on the scene and was hangin, ordered a fuckin double latte, courtesy of the label’s budget LOL.
Kareem ate stinkin ass food out of styrofoam all day, from some breakfast biscuit that had to come from a gas station, to an afternoon snack of General Tso’s or some goddamn stinkin ass eggrolls of some sort (“Yo Gotty, you want some?“) that had that smell of the pink grainy shit they used to pour over throwup in elementary school.
There was probably alot more that I forgot that I’ll add.
The biggest respect I gained was for the actual, work, not the art of, the video.
What you see on screen, or what you see in those behind the scenes shows is maybe 1/32 of what’s actually repeatedly shot.
For a 15 sec clip of what will prolly be Pat rappin verse two in a stairwell, that shit was filmed at least 12x…from the left side. Then 12x from the right side. Along with another 20x with the camera at another angle…etc etc, you get the point.
I spoke with several members of the crew about the whole work behind it and essentially, for the five minutes you see on the screen, it can rang from roughly 16 to way over 20 hours of filming. BET Uncut or award-winning video, it’s all pretty much the same.
Therefore, doing the math in my head, I could never ever work on a movie or be an actor.
Lastly, respect due to Kareem and his circle because they embraced us from the time we set foot on the set until we left. It was a role reversal of sorts that when he introduced us to cats, they knew us already and visited the site, recalling off specific shit I said or we posted.
Respect to the elder K Johnson, June (Junior), Mo’, Dave & Grim.
FYI – Kareem’s pops is 29 years deep in the game, but you’d swear he was only a few years older than his sons they way he moved around the set and was number one hands-on in damn near everything that went on.
We’ve got additional footage, and a gang of pics that we’ll post throughout the week, so check back. Sorry for the grainy pics but somebody *cough*Nquest*cough* forgot the digicam so we took all the pics from our handy videocam.
But for now, that is all.
Here’s an album of the various shots we took. Not sure how the bandwith is going to work. 120+ pics.