School of Hard knocks
and our capacity to learn??
Annie was the second video I had ever made, outside of live videos of course. I wanted to do the actual themed video, like what used to appear on MTV in the 90's...I love that stuff. It is an art in itself.
Unfortunately, a personal flaw is that I get really stressed out and stuck in my head about things, without actually DOING anything about the task or project.
This makes it huge. Insurmountable.
And then I get frustrated with myself and inability to accomplish what I want and run outside with whatever tools I have and do it on the fly. sometimes the project is a little more "learn as you go", than other, more proactive? people put out. This does not really apply to music. The songwriting process is who I am. But as cool as I think real music videos are, I had been wanting to do one for years (and really needing to) and had just not gotten it together!
Come the Spring of 2018, i got a hit outside of my own little fortress. I had periodically sent out messages to smaller "labels", just to see if someone would be willing to help in any way. Most labels don't really accept unsolicited music, so it was a shot in the dark. Who knew! someone bit! A person who runs a small label in NE united states reached out, saying I was the ONLY thing that caught his interest in all the bands that were sending music. Apparently he was a very successful business man who was starting a record label on the side. He had money to help, and lord, I was ready to go! This was the snap in the rear I needed! A backer! A believer! Someone to be accountable to..(I mean, someone in the business who could help) So i set a date with a videographer and in the day or two leading up to it I tried to think of something that would benefit the song, or the viewer, or SOMEONE.
First up was "Losing Form", title track off of the latest album. That was really to get my feet wet and we basically did it in the yard and in an ally...simple stuff.
The Man from the label really was excited about the song "Annie". I know my music is always...umm...heavy. Besides literally, I mean I am always singing about the meaning of life, the pain of existence, questioning who we are and where we came from type of stuff. I just wanted to have a fun song.
(I have had some rage days, so the anger is real, just not the particular story)
Annie is about Annie Oakley, (badass sharp-shooter) who famously said, "I'm not afraid to love a man, not afraid to shoot him either".
And, in a nutshell, this statement makes me happy.
So i took the anger, went back in time, and wrote a song. If you were an amazing female sharpshooter many many years ago, this is how you roll...and it is just fine.
It is my fun song, my radio song if you will....And this is the one Label Man just loved.
So next up was Annie. I didn't want all of the videos to be me playing in the yard, so I called people last minute, brain stormed with videographer the day before, ran to goodwill and Home depot and we shot a music video.
The slightly thought out music video shoot happened quickly, and was Sooo much fun. It turned into a kind if horror flick, not to be taken seriously even though there is a very REAL underlying truth to it. My partner Tom was a good sport, throwing ideas in about how to make it more horrible for him..
Women friends from all over the area came in to help. Sad to say, we ALL identified with Annie. Since I was just beating myself up about not having every detail of a brilliant video planned out, I had the basic idea but left some of it for us ALL to develop as we went. many heads together kind of thing...And we did. Oh lord we had fun.
I just kept telling Label Man I was working on it and he was telling me about this that and the other we were going to do promotion wise and what the plan of action would be once the video was being promoted. I was so excited. He was excited. Good tidings of great joy. I felt like this Label Man was finally gonna be the thing that pushed me over into surviving and thriving off of Polly Panic, so I could write albums and tour as my livelihood...I mean, we all have our areas of talent. I do Polly Panic. I do not do...organization, promotion feels weird, lots of socializing, business in general, etc...And here he was, my knight in shining armour to help me live my dream, one that I have worked very hard for.
I remember we wrapped the video and everyone was excited. It was around christmas of 2018, but I sent the video to Label Man immediately...he had been asking for it about every other day. And then I got busy, jumping on other Polly Panic tasks and taking care of my 13 month old...
After around a week I realized I had not heard from Label Guy. Weird. Well....it's the holidays and he has another business....2 weeks? 3?
Something is up.
I wrote him an email. It took a few days for him to respond. He was VERY cold and condescending, a COMPLETE 180 from how it had been before. I was absolutely Blown AWAY.
Needless to say, he didn't like it. But not just that he didn't like it, but he didn't know how I could create such a horrible thing, something was wrong with me, he didn't know if he could work with a mind that would come up with something like that. He was absolutely HORRIBLE ,degrading, condescending, all of those things.
I was shocked. Immediately started responding to this sudden coldness with this...YOU BELIEVE IN ME AND SUPPORT ME UNLESS I DO SOMETHING YOU DO NOT APPROVE OF? WHAT THE FUCK?
I don't remember precisely what I said that irked him more, I have deleted all the emails. But if it was bad before this it got REALLY Nasty. I have never seen someone turn their allegiance so quickly. So Condescending. I felt like I was sucking dirt off the bottom of his shoes...that I was worthless and something was wrong with me. AND THIS IS HOW HE WANTED ME TO FEEL. You do not speak to someone that way unless you want that. Along with all of this came his..."I have run businesses for years and years and bc of that I know..."
Sadly I realized then that I was dealing with a high powered business man who was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it. Keep me in line. Last thing I sent was a note about not wanting to work with someone who would try to control or change the art, EVEN IF he thought it was an artistic mistake. Having a conversation with me about the reason, helping me think through things, this is fine. I really WANT that. But this was not that. This was an abrupt change of WHO I was dealing with and their power over what I do. Their trying to shame me. Into what? An apologetic musician who runs all ideas through the man first? I will be GODDAMNED.
So, our contract was cancelled and that was the last of it. But it put a niggling thought in my brain that would not go away. AFTER the days of crying/being angry/depressed/
The thought was this. IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU MEAN?? And Annie is a two faced song. On the one face, she is a fun radio song. On the other, it is dealing with a rage many of us understand. I have had recurring bouts of major psychological damage from relationships....even if they weren't really relationships...(abandonment issues)
The rage is real.
So can the video be just fun?
And maybe the (kind of) lighthearted horror flick
side can't come out bc I am always analyzing the meaning of life and how can you just run around and murder people?...Is this what I really want to put out there?
So I changed the video, took it to the analytics of what the song is about. It wasn't because of the douchebag businessman turned music manager, but it was bc I didn't know if I should want to put a video out just bc we had a blast making it. I had no idea what the overall feel would be when I started the video.
That is how you get the "annie" video of today. I decided to go with the version of what would probably really happen, and has happened to me in the past. It consumes you. I am still not sure if I did the right thing....I just know that I am still learning.
Enough said. Here is the original Annie...
This page is about learning, and how hard it is to do that sometimes...