Behind the Video: Cosmo Jarvis' Gay Pirates

01/17/2011
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Today Cosmo Jarvis tells us the story behind the new video for "Gay Pirates" from the "Gay Pirates" EP which is set for release on January 23rd. Here you go!

Well the video initially began with a concept of mine that revolved around being on a boat. A big ass square rigger. Now I had written a treatment for an extremely serious, very raw and literal visual presentation of events and characters in my song. The video was to be brutal in educating the audience of what really went down on that pirate ship. Not a single gimmick or anything ever able to be classified by anybody with an opinion on gimmicks to be a gimmick, was to be allowed anywhere near this piece of drama telling the story of two gay pirates bound together by fear of the homophobic captain. I wanted all the events I described in the song to be there: the pirates sticking glass in the soles of the persecuted pirates' sandals and forcing him to wear them by threatening violence against his true love, the fact that they are only truly at peace with each other as they are forced off the plank one after another by the entire crew of the pirate ship. These events, in my mind, had no other way of being shown unless it was with the profound seriousness I imagined when walking though the story for the first time. But can you imagine the insurance and extra crew needed to shoot an insignificant music video on a fully sized square rigger ship that required twelve crew.? I firstly felt like if all the "MTV-wont-play-it-if-its-got-blood-and-gang-rape-in-it" advice really ended up being true ( despite my answering "it'll be honest, they'll understand, i cant compromise because it'll be so easy to notice and then I'll look like prick who makes sh*t videos with no substance or meaning,) that I'd look like an even bigger prick.

It ended up that the boat thing couldn't happen. Was never gonna. So, while thinking to brew up another idea that was both honest to the intent of the original work and also 'doable', I thought of creating a situation in which the story could be conveyed as if the events in it were considered similar to any other well known tragic tale of love and misfortune. The characters in the video are telling my story to the audience for me but the fact they are doing it through a performance medium suggests they are paying a homage or tribute to, or showing recognition of characters that were conceived to fool people into forgetting that some 'things' need not be things at all. In this instance, Gayness. These show 'a people' still relating to a story years after its fibres began intertwining are honours that legends, saints, martyrs and historical figures receive years later for the journeys, sacrifices, deaths and stories we remember them by. Little things like songs, plays, puppet shows and books. So yeah, I thought it would give the story a more objective take on itself while still maintaining its slightly abstracted core.

I shot it in a village hall in Holbeton, Devon. I used crew I had worked with before for the most part. Not many crew, just Dan Broadley as Camera Operator but also D.O.P, Rosie Hiller painted the set, Chris Roberts controlled the lights, Robyn Egan did make-up and my brother, Fletcher, was production assistant. Everyone helped out on some level with a drill or by making food. The cast were guys I knew, Sebastian, the pirate I kiss is my actor friend Dave Egan. We rehearsed for two days and shot the final take on the second. I insisted that it be one take, firstly because I wanted it to be like watching the show the characters playing the characters are performing. They wanted close ups and sh*t but It would have been worse video for it, what's the point? The Rig was a little thing I call the cross dolly. Its home made dolly resting on two tables pointing at the stage with another ladder dolly positioned on top at a ninety degree angle pointing either side of the stage. This meant that the camera could travel anywhere within an square area of space, almost the width of the hall and able to track forward into more concentrated action onstage or back to show a full view of everyone on stage. This meant the one take thing could be a little more interesting.

Secondly I wanted it to be one take because I love Wes Anderson. Also, one other thing - one take: no post, a little light grading but nothing much at all. It did kinda suck directing it, purely because I couldn't always see what the show looked like because I was onstage. Also, from the work I've done on my shorts, I'm pretty used to acting and directing. But When your acting - on a stage, and directing on a stage in front of everyone else there, like Wendy who did catering, you can't help but wonder if you sound like a little sh*t who wants his own way and is calling the shots based on some idea for a music video about gay pirates. The best thing was playback because everyone was into it. Never worked on anything like that before, where all the actors come out and welcome the realization that they f**ked up that take because they want to improve it next time. Everyone did ace.

Now that you know the story behind this video, you can watch it for yourself right here!

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