Goodby Silverstein & Partners came to us with a cross promotional idea of creating a "one-of-a-kind, interactive, multi-screen music video" sponsored by Doritos and starring the Hip Hop duo, Rae Sremmurd performing their new single "Over Here".
With this music video, fans would link their phones together to make the video bigger and wilder, making it the first music video that gets better the more friends you invite to link up. There was no definitive plan on how many phones would be used, how the creative aesthetically would be affected or interact within multiple phones or even what the creative actually was going to be...
Our challenge was to develop a creative concept that not only captured the insanely high-energy and surreal nature of Rae Sremmurd but also a concept that could function and evolve as more and more devices were added.
Upon receiving the brief, questions instantly began flowing like, "what would it look like if only one phone was being used versus 2 phones or 12?" And the most important question, "what would be the incentive for fans and viewers to add more and more phones?"
We worked closely in preproduction with both GS&P's internal team and Media Monks, the team hired to do all of the programming, to make sure we were all on the same page and clear on all of the intricacies of this project. None of the parties involved had done anything like this before, these meetings became essential to everyone's research and education on what was and wasn't possible. Once the parameters were set, it liberated us to now really focus on the creative.
Ultimately, we were inspired by the opportunity to create a narrative that transcended a traditional aspect ratio. We weren't confined to a TV screen or computer monitor with this project. There really wasn't any limit to how far we could push this visually so we started broad with heavy interactive ideas like choosing your own adventure or being able to blow up asteroids in the sky behind the guys as they performed.
This however is when we came to a technical crossroad... Do you want to interact with the actual information in the video and risk losing audio sync from one phone to the next OR do you want to create a preloading video that is completely synced without physically interacting with the video. Both directions have awesome possibilities however in the end this is a music video at its core and if the sync was off from phone to phone then it would be so distracting that it wouldn't matter what you could blow up or control because everything would be off.
We decided on the preloading direction. This now meant that we would be pre planning all of the action within the video and depending on the amount of phones that were linked up would determine how much of the video would be revealed to you.
With that we decided that the main meat of the video would exist with a six-screen composition. Our theory was that with a six-device composition, it allowed us to create a story that could exist in six "stages." When each new stage is activated, more content would be revealed until ultimately, when six devices were used, the viewers would get the full experience of the video. This also opened up a fun Easter Egg that when viewing on phones 1 through 5 there is a section missing and only triggered when the 6th phone is added.
The last problem to solve was how would the stand-alone video fit into this project? We needed a visual that would work within this crazy interactive world but also be able to stand alone on traditional outlets like You Tube & Vevo.
For this purpose our director James committed to the decision that the stand-alone music video would be the same experience as if the viewer was to watch the video in the "one phone state." This way when someone would watch the stand-alone on a regular video platform like Vevo there would be a lot left unanswered. At times Slim and Sway leave the screen for long periods of time just leaving an empty scene. The viewer should be left not quite understanding what is going on because so much of the video isn't being seen. The point from the beginning was to drive people to OVERHEAR.TV and link in their devices to initiate the full experience of the video with all of the hidden scenes and gems revealed.
We further collaborated with GS&P's internal creative's to come up with secondary content to be revealed on phones that were added beyond the initial six. These additional devices unlock secret videos unavailable anywhere else, like real-time commentary, a lyric video, and even an 8-bit version of the music video. The possibilities were endless.
Doritos themselves were very hands off and GS&P left the creative up to us (which is always awesome) but we knew it had to be more than just something that looked cool, it had to function and play off of any varied amount of phones.
Rae Sremmurd isn't your ordinary Rap Duo. These are young men who are constantly turnt to 11. They are basically real life cartoon character's who are who they are no matter where they are or who they are around. Since everything about this project was a new adventure, it made sense that the concept was about RS going on an adventure... an Excellent Adventure to be specific. It all clicked, they are like a modern day Bill and Ted and their super producer Mike Will is basically their George Carlin (if that doesn't make sense then you should definitely do yourself a favor and watch the cinematic masterpiece, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure).
The floodgates opened from there and the story began to unfold. It's simple, Slim and Sway are abducted and teleported to Mike Will's tricked out Space Pod where they are then sent to insane worlds to gather specimens to bring back to the ship in order to boost the "Turnt Level" up high enough to achieve the most excellent party in the universe.
Because this wasn't going to be a traditional Music Video, it was important to think interactively and block the scenes so that there were specific cue points for action to travel from one phone to the next.
Around this time we enlisted the motion graphic ninja's at Syndrome Studio to begin visual explorations of the various worlds and what our "transportation" effect would look like. Our director, James Larese, has a long-standing relationship with the boys at Syndrome Studio so it wasn't hard for them to nail his vision.
We shot the project on green screen at Source Stages in Los Angeles. It was Rae Sremmurd's first time on green screen but you wouldn't think that by watching them, as they were literally down to do anything. In the end no amount of planning and prep can compare to the energy and magic that is captured when the talent is in front of the camera.