Feel Good Lost and their MTV VMA nomination with Hozier
Nominated in two categories for his work with Feel Good Lost on Hozier’s Take Me To Church, we put a few questions to Cork filmmaker Brendan Canty before he jets off to Los Angeles for the MTV VMA’s on August 30th!
Brendan was also kind enough to share some hilarious behind-the-scenes videos with us – links below!
How did you get involved with Hozier?
His EP had just come out around this time two years ago. He was pretty unknown and it was available as a free download on bandcamp. With bandcamp you have the option to put a price on something and I was one of the first people to actually pay for the record. They were looking for a video director at the time, they recognised my name and appreciated that I had paid for the record so wanted me to make it.
How did you decide on the content for video (treatment, etc?)
The song is so cinematic and dramatic. So it needed a dramatic narrative. The song is about sexuality and liberation and Andrew (Hozier) suggested that we do a narrative based on the situation in Russia at the time, where homosexuals were being ostracised by the government and in public and violence against homosexuals was common. So we (me and Emmet O’Brien) took that idea and built a story around it.
Where & when did you shoot?
What happened next (upload to YouTube, etc?)
When we finished the video the label (Rubyworks) wanted to release it the very next day, which was surprising to me as normally labels take at least a week or two to PR it. But Rubyworks said they wanted to focus on Ireland for the next year. I pushed them back on that point as I felt it had the potential to grow a lot bigger than just Ireland. Anyway, it was uploaded to youtube and premiered on State.ie.
When did you realize it was a viral hit?
That evening I got a text from Andrew telling me to check out reddit. A friend of his had posted it up and the thread had gone crazy, hundreds and hundreds of comments. It hit 50k views within the day, 150k within two days. I realised that it was a viral hit then. But you expect the hype to die down. With this one it kept snowballing and snowballing. And two years later it’s nominated for two MTV VMA’s and has been the third most listened to track on the planet since its release!
What’s changed for you since then?
Lots of things. It obviously gave us a lot of exposure. I got a rep for music videos and for commercials. We started making videos with bigger budgets and bigger crews. It put us on a platform from which to expand.
Any advice for no-budget filmmakers based in Cork?
My advice is to really study the type of films you want to make and then keep on practising the techniques that you learn. Practice practice practice.
Don’t be afraid to take ideas from places and make them your own. The biggest mistake people make is saying…”oh that’s been done … that shot was in that video so I can’t do it, etc”. Don’t be afraid to take stuff, because once you blend it with your own ideas and execute it your way it will become different anyway.
If you meet talented and like minded people – keep them close, collaborate and grow with them. Making great films is all about the right idea. Without the right idea, it doesn’t matter how much or how little budget you have, if your idea is better and you execute it right then it can live up to almost anything.
The equipment to make something look top class is available for pretty cheap. So it’s within your reach to be able to create something that stands up to the top stuff.
Music videos are a great way to learn quickly and to develop as a director. Most upcoming directors these days are starting as music video directors. Not having to worry about dialogue means you can tell stories quicker and shoot things quicker. Start off by making un-official music videos to songs that you would love to do a video to. Having a great soundtrack is always more inspiring. And if the song is great, it will make the video look better.
“Take Me To Church” BEHIND THE SCENES