The first time I heard the song “African Zombie” by Alex Boye’, I knew I wanted to use it in an ASL music video — with the focus on our now-a-day obsession of electronics and such devices! But for whatever reason, I could not get it done. The next year came and I told my family, let’s do it! And then again, I just couldn’t get it done! I think my biggest hangup is the daunting task to film it myself, while I’m trying to be in the shot at the same time, and not use a tripod (cuz I prefer movement than still shots for some videos and this video needed movement). So, this year rolled around and I got on my fix again and said, “Let’s do it!” but timing was yet again difficult. The evening before Halloween, I thought to myself, “If I don’t do it this year, the same thing will happen next year and the next. So either I do it now or I don’ t do it at all!” And when I have a strong vision for a video, I can’t just leave it by the wayside. I told my family, “Get your makeup on, hair done, change your clothes, we’re doing “African Zombie”!!!” Actually, Ryan, my hubby, was at the store and I texted him to say, “Oh by the way, we’re filming tonight”. He’s always a good sport. 😀 Phew!
Although I knew what I wanted as the bones of the story, we still had to figure out some things as the video developed. Since Ryan wasn’t home yet, we began with a couple of the opening and closing scenes.
Once Ryan got home, dinner was ready, we ate and filmed at the same time. I told him to tell some funny jokes so I could get everyone smiling (haha) … so out came the “Knock, Knock” Halloween jokes. They were pretty funny! But of course, he found the jokes on the internet using his iPad, and the iPad was on the table – so I had to remind him what this video was about. Smile.
I do have to put in a little plug, since I kind of brought the subject up. 😀 I am not anti-electronic device or anti-technology. I do believe there is a purpose in having this awesome technology that we all use today and some enjoyment using it is always nice, too! Of course, I filmed this using an electronic device and I’m typing this blog post using an electronic device. My husband’s job is performed solely using electronic devices. We really can’t live without electronics and technology these days! I get that! I guess what I have seen in the world today, and even in my own life, is that living life becomes more about what we are doing electronically than actually living and being present with the other living beings on this earth. That’s where my vision in this song came from. I’ll be honest, if my kids are on any electronic – iPad, computer, or TV for too long, they become little Zombies. In the ASL world, I would add the comment, “True business!” That means that I’m not kidding! (I chuckle inside when I call them little Zombies – but I’m sure you can see what I mean by that). I do have great kids, I must say! But I do put a timer on electronic anything. I’ll end my little plug here. Hope you get what I’m saying and understand the purpose behind my vision – smile!
Back to the making. There is a part in the video where I have one of my girls on the floor with a remote control in her hand and other remotes and movies and an empty bag of chips and tons or candy wrappers and other candies laying beside her. She played that part perfectly! It makes me smile each time I watch it. But what I didn’t get in the final shot was the book that was lying next to the pile of movies. That was her contribution to the creation of the scene. As we were setting it up, I asked her why her book was lying there and she said, “To make it look like reading is second rate.” Oh, so clever! But I couldn’t get it in with the timing we had. Drats!
My little boy is not a redo kind of guy. I can get him to redo a shot two times, three if I’m really lucky. So if I don’t get what I want, I have to use what I have. The cool thing about filming him is that I rarely tell him what to do, because he is just so young and innocent, he does what comes natural and doesn’t think about the steps, which is almost always SO perfect in filming! He has one of the funniest zombie faces. I wanted to use it but told him he had to drool out his Cookies and Scream ice cream dessert so I could use it at the end of the video. Ha. Then soon after dinner, my little girl fell asleep, so I thought, let’s just film her to look like she fell asleep playing a game on the iPad and have little guy be sneaky and get the iPad from her. One time he came up so sneaky and then turned away from the camera. So we shot it again and he turned with a huge grin, as if to say “Nana Nana Boo Boo, I got the iPad!” It was bed time after that so I told him no iPad. He didn’t think too fondly of that idea. Haha.
My two older girls really helped me a lot in this video. They shared the camera duties and helped me with several scene placement ideas. As I shared earlier, we started this whole thing in the evening. After my two littlest people were fast asleep, my two older stayed up filming. These two good sports stayed up ’til almost one o’clock in the morning. Then the next day, we still had to shoot a few more parts. They didn’t complain once. Of course, they got to wear makeup and so that was kind of payment enough for them. Ha. The scene at the table was fun. Well, the floor too, and the couch. They were just a great help throughout! We shot most parts several times with some feedback along the way but overall I had a lot of good shots to choose from. Of course, if you know editing, that’s good and bad – but more good than bad. 😀 … The one with the shorter hair helps to keep me balanced and thinking straight. I need that when I’m under stress for sure! She is almost always the one behind the camera when I am not. Thank goodness I have her! The one with the long hair is a hair guru, seriously! And on Halloween (ha- her one day a year to be awesome at it) she is a makeup extraordinaire! Her artistry is quite amazing too! Anyways, our friend said to her after she saw the video, “I can’t believe you let someone mess up your hair like that and have a dirty face!” To which she responded, “I did that!” The friend said, “Well, then you did a mighty fine job!” … To film this in 6 hours total, including eating dinner and everything that comes with that, I really could not have done it without them!
One of my most favorite parts of the video, and I laugh every time, is where I have my youngest daughter stand at the island in the kitchen playing the iPad. I wanted to show the idea that when we are so engrossed in our electronic-whatevers, that we become oblivious to life around us. The drops of ketchup on the counter was what I saw in my original vision! The part we didn’t include was where she was “so engrossed in her iPad game that she put her hand in the ketchup like she was grabbing a nugget and then proceeded to eat it, at the same time I was directly above her eating the nugget.” Of course, I thought the nugget was just as disgusting as she thought the ketchup was. Haha. Again, timing didn’t allow that I add that part. But the ketchup on the counter was what I loved the most! I’m thrilled that it came out so well!
If timing allowed, I was going to add one last shot before you saw the family at the table eating dinner together. That shot was going to be seeing all the electronic devices left on the couch. Spending family time together or time with those around you or sharing a conversation with a loved one far away is far more valuable than sitting on a computer or playing a video game or anything else like that. My hubby and I remind my kids, himself and myself of that all the time. It’s easy and fun to sit on Facebook or play games or watch “Halloween Cupcake Wars” or do work on-the-go, but it’s funner (not a word, but using it anyhow) to be in the present with those in the living.
I’d love to read how electronic stuff has made your life more easy and more valuable. I’d also love to know how you keep your life in balance when it comes to life with technology. Share with me your thoughts below!
To watch this video: “iZombie” (my version of Alex Boye’s “African Zombie”) click here!
(Don’t miss the couple of blooper scenes at the end of the video.)
Thank you Alex Boye’ for an amazing, fun song!