The Making of a Music Video: “Dime” by Chris Mar
September 20, 2019
By Michelle Maslanka • Producer

Collaborating with a new artist and working in a new genre proved a fun challenge for us. “Dime” (pronounced dee-may, meaning “tell me” in Spanish) was our first music video for a Reggaeton song and debut music video for artist Chris Mar. The excitement from both the artist and crew fueled the passion for the project and made the final outcome that much more rewarding for all involved.

Chris came to us with the song and described it simply as “a guy meeting a lady and telling her how pretty she is.” While the lyrics are in Spanish, and we had not worked in that music style before, we knew one thing: “Dime”, at its core, is a love song, and that was a theme we were very familiar with. Chris had seen our work, met with the team, and trusted us to run with our ideas.

Director Craig Bass describes where the inspiration for the video came from.

“I began to sort through my imagination for media that has left a mark, and that fit the romantic nature of the track. For the past few years, I have been obsessed with movie musicals from the 30's through the 50's; so much so that this has become the place my mind automatically wanders when the word ‘romantic’ is brought into a conversation. Modern music video interpretations of romance are too prosaic, too modern; they don't possess that timeless quality that love inspires. To me, the old musicals do. This is precisely what I pitched as the basis for the ‘Dime’ video: what would an old musical look like recast as a current Reggaeton video with a modest budget?”

From there, the ideas began to flow and the vision develop. Producer and production designer, Lydia Koranda, quickly got involved.

“When Craig came to me with his outline for the video, he mentioned having it feel like a dream - this brought ideas from old Hollywood musicals, stage plays, and creative sets to both of us. We wanted to create this world that looked like real life, but still had a dreamlike ‘unreal’ aspect to it. Going through each scene and drawing it out for the storyboard definitely helped guide the flow of the whole piece.”

A few storyboard cells (top row) compared to their corresponding scenes from the video (bottom row).

Staying true to the production world of old Hollywood, incorporating practical effects was key. And lucky for us, Craig is already a big fan of that approach.

“All of the effects within this video are practical, for a couple of reasons. First, keeping in the vein of the old movie musicals, this was simply how it was done back then. Because all of the effects within these movies are practical, they look imperfect and stagey; strangely, this imbues them with a dreamlike quality--dreams being imperfect, blurred, fractured patchworks. That dreamlike quality equates to a charming timelessness. Secondly, I love the fact that when you are working with practical effects there is an inherent randomness that you cannot escape. This is a good thing. Filmmaking, like any art form, is a process of discovery--a process that can yield unexpected results. It is often these unexpected results that lend a project a sense of individuality.”

Every scene, from the car to the rain, was accomplished in our studio which required everyone to work together and creatively execute. That’s right, we made it rain indoors! Probably the most challenging to rig, it ended up being one of our favorites of the whole video. The car scene provided its own challenges, utilizing the “Poor Man’s Process” and casting projections on the white cyc, but babysitting a classic ‘64 Mustang was a nice perk. Shout out to the car owner, John Scaletta, for lending us his baby!

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the choreographer and dancer, Tierra Fondren. We actually connected with Tierra through a studio rental, when she happened to be working on a different project being shot at our space. Following that, Craig and Lydia approached her with the offer to collaborate on this upcoming project. Her self-choreographed dancing proved both impressive and mesmerizing, especially in red high heels.

We have produced a number of music videos over the years, but each is a unique experience. “This video proved something very valuable to me: my vision is adaptable to a wide variety of genres,” said Craig. “Most of my music video experience has been within the realm of rock. It was extremely empowering to see that my preferences, predilections and procedures are not exclusive to this genre, and can serve other types of music just as well. Here I have to extend a heartfelt thank you to Chris Mar for being entirely open to the concept that I pitched him, and taking a risk on his first video. Without his trust and encouragement, none of this would have been possible.”

Craig added one final thought. “It is very important to me that viewers understand that filmmaking is very similar to raising a child: it takes a village to be of any success. Directors, like myself, receive far too much credit for final products. These products are only made possible by the creativity, commitment, and hard work of the entire crew.”

Behind-the-scenes photos.

The music video was released this past Wednesday, September 18th. Enjoy!

Director / Producer / Editor / Colorist: Craig Bass

Producers: Lydia Koranda, Michelle Maslanka, Steven Brown

Director of Photography: Brendan Davis

Camera Operator: David Gall

Assistant Director: Michelle Maslanka

Gaffer: Mitchell Bequette

Key Grip: Steven Brown

Grips: Logan Bowes, Victor Tan, Chris Sigel, Henry Stevens

Production Design: Lydia Koranda

Production Assistant: Sofia Coria

Colorist: Thomas Rovak

Choreographer: Tierra Fondren

Engineer: SoundGuyMike

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at Sonic Palace Studios 

Special Thanks: John Scaletta

Produced by Motion Source