August 27, 2011 by Scott Finley
Gagaism.org is proud to bring you this special interview with the mastermind behind the viral fan video to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bloody Mary.’ Read on to unlock the video’s mysteries and see exclusive behind-the-scenes pics!
Scott: Many of Lady Gaga’s videos feature themes of BDSM and the juxtaposition of the elegant and the so-called depraved. Both of your videos explore the same themes. Is there something in the music itself that you feel leads to this sort of visual interpretation, or were you perhaps inspired by Gaga’s approach to her material?
RC: I honestly feel it is a mixture of both, and some other factors. Gaga has definitely left an imprinted style on her music videos, fashion, and life that has become one with her songs. You cannot avoid the influence, as her music is a sole representation of her art, which is what makes it unique per se. So Gaga’s “out there” approach had always been inspirational when writing these video treatments.
I feel that both SHICD and Bloody Mary are very dark songs that worked well with this feel. Also the fashion designer is a big fan of showing skin, so his style was also incorporated into the feel for the video, and yet his direction was also influenced by Gaga’s previous works.
Scott: Your direction of both videos is extremely impressive. ‘Bloody Mary’ in particular is far-and-away the best fan-made video I have ever seen. There is a certain quality to its direction that is very striking and engaging. What would be your best piece of advice to other directors looking to distinguish their work from that of their peers?
RC: Wow that is quite the compliment! Thank you! If anything I would say just create, create, and create some more! I think the one thing that plagues, us young filmmakers, is a big case of insecurity, which leads us to restrict ourselves and try only things that will guarantee us safety. I highly recommend doing little projects with your own little camera at home or with friends. It gives you the freedom to explore every aspect of your mind, and you do not have the pressure of failure on your shoulders. All the practice will definitely help you build your own craft.
I started picking up the camcorder when I was twelve and would just push record and film the most random things. I would try to make little music videos, comedies, romances, dramas, and horrors with my little nieces and nephews. It sounds really funny but I started to catch things that I really liked to do, and with trial and error, I learned what kind of stories I enjoyed telling the most, and I definitely learned what I was not good at. I found my love for music videos and horrors by doing that.
So, it doesn’t matter if it’s a project that is going to take two hours with your best friend. Film it! The experience is invaluable and priceless.
Scott: Who are the two female leads in the video? How did they become involved in the video and what was it like working with them?
RC: The girl who played Bloody Mary (Natalia Esquivel) is one of my oldest friends. When we were in high school we had drama class together, when I began pre-production on So Happy I Could Die, I asked her if she might be interested in taking on a role. She was super excited and agreed to be in it, and ever since then Natalia has become my partner in crime. She was not the lead for that video and I always told myself “If I do another Gaga video she definitely has to play Gaga.”
So when the Bloody Mary project moved forward, she was the first person I called. She is very hard-working and has come a long way in the past couple of years. It’s such an uplifting experience to have her on set because her personality just shines and we get along very well. Not to mention it helps that she has a deep understanding as to how I work and what I’m looking for. I think if I could I would use Natalia for everything!
The evil queen was played by the very talented Amelia Jackson Grey. I had the pleasure of meeting Amelia when I filmed a very light-hearted concept music video for a song called ‘Taker’ by Alexz Johnson. I had lost my actress the day of my shoot. My friend pulled a miracle and told me about an actress who was willing to take over the role, thus Amelia came and saved the day. I honestly can say it was the best mishap that could have ever happened to our crew and I because she blew us away.
As I was developing Bloody Mary, I went on my friend’s thesis shoot, in which Amelia was part of the cast. While we were on set, my project came up and she showed a lot of interest in Bloody Mary. I was honored that she wanted to work with me again, and I knew she would make the perfect Queen. Amelia is another actress who brings laughter and good energy on set, so working with her again was a wonderful experience.