I remember when I first heard about the Probot music video. It was 2003. I had just finished an internship at Gotham, a music video/commercial post house that was run by Bill Yukich. I was calling to catch up with Bill when he told me that he was awarded a director gig on a Probot music video.
“Probot?” I asked
“Yeah…Dave Grohl and Lemmy playing metal.”
Holy shit. I didn’t even think about what I was saying, but I just blurted out the question…
“Can I direct the BTS?”
“Sure” He replied.
And that’s how the Probot project started. Soon after, Ken Mowe, editor extraordinaire, offered to jump in and co-direct and edit with me. We enlisted our friends Christian Fauntleroy to produce, and photographers Jessica Holmes and Lindsey Walker to shoot stills.
A few weeks later we were on set with Dave Grohl, Lemmy and like 70 Suicide Girls. It was glorious. It was magical….to quote Bad Company, it was all part of my Rock n Roll fantasy.
We shot the project on four Canon XL1’s, which were the best cameras available at the time. I conducted the interviews with Grohl and Lemmy and that was a bit surreal. I think that we captured like 40 hours of footage. That’s way too much. I learned a big lesson quickly on this show, and that was to try and shoot only what you need. Having a clear vision for how a project cuts together is an important part of being a director, in my opinion. It was a good lesson to learn.
As fun as the shoot was, post production was a bit daunting. We had waaayyyy too much footage. Avid Express had just come out, and we bought a system, but it was glitchy, to say the least. Just getting it to turn on took a few weeks. I remember that we updated our Avid and our mac and it just wouldn’t turn on. So after a few days of using the computer for everyday stuff (email and photo editing), and just turning the computer on and off normally, it booted up. This was my introduction to the magic of “cycling the power”….sometimes shit just needs to power cycle a bunch of times to work. We finally got the footage in through a deck that barely worked. Every time that we had footage to ingest or export, we held our breathe because we never knew if it would succeed or crash.
Post was also difficult because Ken Mowe, co-director and editor, was extremely busy cutting actual music videos, which paid actual money. This job was shot on spec, I fronted the money for the budget in hopes that we could sell the show to Grohl’s management team (which we did). So Ken was slammed busy and I was pestering him to spend time in the edit with me. I think that he hated for about a month during that time. Maybe longer. We still laugh about some of the antics of that stressful and amazing time. Ah, the good ol’ days.
It was my first paid directing gig.