With Summer fast coming to an end (don’t shoot the messenger!) it is with great happiness we can listen to and watch the bubbly fun that is Mermaid of Salinas. Sun, sand, beautiful women and looped actions, what more could you ask for! Directed by Alan Masferrer we went out to find out how this came about.
Word Is Cheap: The track itself is very upbeat, did this dictate the energy of the video?
Alan Masferrer: Absolutely, at the beginning I couldn’t imagine anything else than people dancing… On the other hand, the brief from the band was pretty specific in this regard, they wanted something “not too cool for school”, “a bit camp & trippy”, so I just tried to contribute with my interpretation of these ideas.
You have cast your characters perfectly, did you know exactly what characters you wanted from the start?
Thanks! Yes, all of them already appeared in the first version of my treatment. The band wanted to play with latin cliches so that was the main guideline, but the song has a strong “beach vibe”, so I also added some stereotypes in this field, like the baywatch, the hawaiian girl and the brazilian one.
As to the cast, we had a very tight schedule for the whole process, but luckily my production company in Spain (Oniric Events) has its own cast service department and they were really helpful to find the appropriate actors.
Were you worried that the cast wouldn’t be able to dance?
Yes, because we didn’t have enough time to do the cast face to face, so I didn’t know exactly what they were able to do until the same shooting day. Anyway, I had a very specific list of the movements I wanted to shoot and most of actors were really fantastic dancers, so in the end it was very satisfactory.
The style is kind of kitsch (in a great way!), was that the aim?
Of course, and that’s not my usual “field”, so at the beginning I even rejected to treat on it, but John Moule (the commissioner) insisted I go for it. Finally I accepted and I embraced it with all its consequences.
You play with repeated sequences a lot, kind of like gifs, was post production a tougher process than shooting?
The “loop idea” is in the concept of the video, this is the reason why the characters repeat their movements constantly and why they’re displayed in this continuously horizontally-scrolling set, but we’ve recently seen lots of videos using looped actions and I wanted to parody them, so all the sequences in the video are real, not repeated in post production. That meant that we had to plan very well the shooting in order to fulfill the schedule and we had very little room to improvise. Finally we even included some “performance mistakes” in the cut in order to strengthen this sensation of “real movements”.
Post production became a bit tougher when we added the background, because the workflow was too slow, but actually it wasn’t that complicated.
The video received a Vimeo Staff Pick, as a director what does this mean to you?
That was as gratifying as unexpected! It makes your work really visible to the professional network (production companies, labels, specialized media…), and that’s very helpful, specially for an unknown director like me, but for me the most important thing is that it encourages you to keep working even harder and to go beyond yourself in your next jobs.