Song: Do it like that
Director: Emma Tomelty
Q. How were you approached for the job?
I approached the record label, EMI, to show them some of my work and they called me in for a meeting and asked me to pitch on Ricki-Lee's second single, 'Do It Like That'. They were excited to learn about my background as a dancer and makeup artist and my slight obsession with American pop videos and thought that I'd be a good match for Ricki.
Q. What inspired you on your idea for the video?
I was given a brief by the record label to do something fun, upbeat and energetic, featuring drums and dancers. They also floated the idea of a rooftop party or laneway dance party, using the city as a landscape. This got me thinking about the street parade scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (such a great movie) and I thought how cool it would be for Ricki to have her own street parade with a marching band, and fans lining the streets, cheering her on. I knew this concept would allow me to use lots of colour and movement, giving the video visual energy and a dynamic feel.
I am really inspired by American and British pop video directors such as Melina Matsoukas and Jake Nava and I’m extremely passionate about bringing this style of highly-polished and professional music video to the Australian pop music industry.
With this in mind I wanted to surprise viewers with something unexpected for the second half of the video, something that was a dramatic stylistic change from the opening parade scene. The huge pink hollywood style sign, with flashing lights, spelling out "Ricki-Lee" somehow seemed appropriate.
Q. What was the budget?
The budget was definitely on the larger side of things in today's music video production climate, but was by no means excessive. We had to be very careful about where we decided to spend our money, making sure it all translated into 'on-screen production value'. We did have some pretty cool toys on set - a steadicam, a crane, megadeck and wind machines - but even the little things such as the flags and balloons, which were inexpensive, added production value and scale.
Q. What were the limitations you faced with the production?
Our biggest limitation for this video was time. I boarded an ambitious number of shots and only had one day in which to get it all. The crew worked incredibly hard all day long for which Ricki and I were extremely grateful. The First Assistant Director said to me at the end of the shoot that it felt as though we'd just shot "three music videos in one", to which I gleefully replied, "that's the point." I really wanted Ricki's video to exceed the 'norm' in Australian music videos and to have that international look through multiple setups.
Q. Who were your key collaborators?
I worked with the most brilliant DOP, James Brown, on this music video. I was a huge fan of his work and he had a lot of experience shooting female pop stars already so I knew he'd be a great fit for Ricki. James was very dedicated to this project, meeting with me several times to check out potential locations and go through storyboards, and also meeting with Ricki to discuss his lighting plan. He was a lot of fun on set and I really credit a lot of the success of the video to him.
Brad Hurt edits all of my work and once again did a stellar job with this Ricki video. Brad's skills as a music video editor, in my opinion, are second to none, and he makes post-production feel like the most fun part of the entire process. He has fantastic ideas relating to structure and really knows how to visually highlight those subtle musical accents and bring energy and rhythm to the screen.
Marko Panzic, who is Ricki-Lee's choreographer and also a childhood friend of mine, was another fantastic collaborator on this video. Marko and I went to the same performing arts school together in Perth where we were coached on 'performance' and 'pop culture' by the inspirational choreographer Bernie Bernard, and we naturally share a similar vision when it comes to pop videos. I attended several dance rehearsals with Marko and Ricki so that I could learn the choreography and plan my camera movement around it. I also had some key moments that I really wanted to include such as the slow motion strut at the start and the flirty action with the hotdog vendor, and Marko was very flexible in adjusting his choreography to allow these moments to work.
Q. What was the process you took in producing the video?
I take the pre-production process of a music video very seriously. In my opinion a failure to plan is a plan to fail, so I was careful to spend adequate time planning the shot list, finding the right location and keeping the record label and Ricki informed at every turn. I didn't want any surprises on the day and thankfully there were none.
Q. What was the turnaround?
I had four weeks from my first meeting with EMI to delivery, but ended up extending post-production for an additional week in the Flame suite to add some special finishing touches.
Q. What did you shoot on? What lenses did you use?
We had a 2-camera set up running all day long, generously supplied by Southern Cross Cameras. We had A-camera on the steadicam or crane and B-camera on sticks using longer lenses. Having two full camera crews was an absolute luxury.
Q. Where did you shoot it?
We shot the entire video at Australian Technology Park in Redfern. The parade scene was shot on a road that we blocked off within the complex, and the hollywood sign setup was inside one of their convention warehouses. The ATP staff were so incredibly generous with the space that they allowed us to use and even put on extra security staff to help fight off the paparazzi that turned up during the day.
Q. If you had a chance to approach it again, what would you do differently?
If I could shoot this video over again, there is not much I'd change at all. I had a fantastic team around me who worked so hard, and I can genuinely say it was one of the most fun shoots I've ever done.
Emma Tomelty is an award-winning Director based in Sydney, Australia. Originally from Perth, Emma’s move to the east coast to study a Post-Graduate degree in Film marked the beginning of her directorial pursuits.
With her adaptable skill-set, Emma recently tackled the world of music videos and was immediately recognised for her work. Her direction on local act Hermitude’s ‘Speak of the Devil’ landed her a Triple J award for Best Music Video of 2011.
Drawing inspiration from Directors such as Mark Romanek, Francis Lawrence and Melina Matsoukas, Emma aspires to create an aesthetic that is both conceptually original and visually exciting. Her work is recognisable for its colourful art direction and musical visualisation.