9PM x Glass Interview: Casey Barton and Julienne Pancho

Vermillion Records signee, JAAMY, just released her new music video, 9 PM (watch it here!)

She’s an incredible QUT Musician, however, she’s not the only QUT student involved in her new music video. In fact, the entire production team for the film are all QUT film students! We sat down with Casey Barton and Julienne Pancho, to discuss their roles on this project and the process of filming in a rollerskating rink.

Casey, tell us a bit about your directorial debut, how did you get to this point?

Casey: It was definitely a long time coming, that’s for sure! I primarily specialize in production design in the film industry but was really wanting to try my skills in directing because it’s always been a role that I have been little apprehensive about. Coordinating that amount of crew members can be quite daunting! When I was first told about the project and JAAMY as an artist, I went away and listened to her music. Almost instantly, I felt something tell me that ‘this was the project that I was meant to direct’. Sure enough, the rest was history!

Julienne, you’ve graced the pages of Glass many times with your photography, how does working in film differ?

Julienne: It is a tad more intense, I would say. Not only does film involve moving pictures and countless takes, but it also requires you to work with others who very evidently differ in workflow styles and aesthetic preference in comparison to your own. You’re no longer in control of everything. It becomes a team effort, a team project. If photography were to be compared to the act of jumping into the pool during a holiday swim with one’s family, then filmmaking would definitely be Olympic-tier synchronised diving.

You’ve worked with QUT artist and Vermillion Records signee, JAAMY, for her 9 pm music video, how did your film team and JAAMY find one another?

Julienne: So usually, film students would be undertaking either the documentary or drama slates as part of their capstone projects in their final year; however, Casey, myself, and a few others from our cohort, decided against doing drama slate this semester for fear of having to go through another lockdown mid-production like we did last semester. We opted for Vermilion instead where we became a part of the content creation team — tasked with creating any and every visual element artists such as JAAMY needed. Once Casey was made Director, the crew pretty much gathered itself within a snap of a finger! That’s Casey’s charm in the works.

Casey: In the early stages of the project, I made it a priority of mine to hire crew members that I knew were hardworking, passionate and like-minded people. I wanted to create an environment on set that was supportive and inclusive for everyone’s physical and emotional needs as I know myself, that working in an environment where you feel supported and cared for, allows me to work best creatively. The result of this team was that the on-set atmosphere was absolute magic! Everyone was laughing and having fun whilst also still getting the job done. JAAMY was also an absolute dream to work with! I couldn’t have asked for a better artist to collaborate with. She was keen on being a part of every step of the filmmaking process from storyboarding, all the way to the final edit. On set, she filled the room with her energy! The mix of crew members, professional skaters and JAAMY all just bounced off each other and the energy in the room on the day was incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better mix of people for my first project as director.

Did the whole team work on the film concept, or was that a particular development team?

Casey: The initial music video concept was formed by JAAMY and I with a lot of input from our art director, Jess Bailey. When we first began the concept development, we began with two words: roller skating. After long days developing the idea, we finally came up with a concept that showcased both a simple love story and incredible visual expectations. Each step after the pre-production stage was a group effort. I made it a goal of mine for every crew member to take ownership of the music video. I wanted everybody’s creative input being showcased on-screen, so it really turned out to be an incredibly collaborative project.

Julienne: That was mostly JAAMY and Casey’s doing, I believe! Maybe even Sarah (Cawdron) too as she choreographed a little bit of the dance in the music video. As far as I know, it was mostly JAAMY and Casey working on the concept but probably best to cross-check with Casey on this!

Casey, this project seems quite complex, with a huge team involved, what was it like collaborating with that many people as a director?

The project was definitely complex as working with a lot of movement and stunts on screen can definitely be quite difficult! To ensure that the process is made as smooth as possible, each crew member on set has a specific job to complete which makes my job as director a lot easier. Our producer Sarah Melit worked incredibly hard to ensure that all logistical needs were met while my 1st Assistant Director, Lachlan Cunneen worked tirelessly on set to ensure that safety standards were being met for our cast and crew whilst also making sure that the day was running on schedule. Our DOP Madeline Randall also definitely had her work cut out for her! Working with such incredibly talented creatives from pre-production to principle production and then into post-production made the complexity of the project seem minimal and as director, I couldn’t have asked for a better crew to collaborate with.

Julienne, most people know film terms like Director and Editor, but can you talk to us about your role as 2nd AC and Colourist and what that entails?

Julienne: Ahh, the underdogs of the film industry! As 2nd AC (which stands for 2nd Assistant Camera), my job was to call and mark or “slate” every shot. You know that little whiteboard thing with the thick striped lines that they clap at the beginning of each take? Yeah. That’s my best friend as 2nd AC. Being 2nd AC is an important job as it helps Editors know which shot is what on the script and more importantly, which take is the one the director wants to use, also known as “print”. Using the clapperboard/slate also helps Editors to sync vision and sound. How sick! My other role for ‘9 PM’ was Colourist which is in post-production. As a Colourist, my job is to take the LOG footage (unfiltered and very flat in appearance, basically) and colour it to suit the Director and artist’s vision. The job is more commonly known by others as ‘colour grading’ and oftentimes, can be tedious work as we essentially fix everything that wasn’t right during filming.

To both of you, what was your favourite moment from the music video shoot?

Casey: I have two memorable moments from the shoot. The first time we dimmed the roller rink lights and turned on the studio lights, I remember seeing our professional skaters and JAAMY enter the rink with their incredible makeup which was done by our makeup artists Jess Bailey and Lucy Lakshman. JAAMY’s song began playing over the loud-speaker and we called action on our first shot. I had goosebumps. To see my vision come to life in front of my eyes is an incredible feeling that I will never forget. My second most memorable moment for me is when we called wrap at the end of the day. Some of the crew members had brought their own roller skates from home and we then skated around the rink as a fun ending to an already exhausting day.

Julienne: I’m not gonna lie, watching the professional skaters do their thing really did a number on me. Just watching them grace the rink effortlessly, doing all these tricks that I know I could never—I was living vicariously.

 What’s your favourite snippet of the final video, is there a particular shot you love?

Julienne: The shots of JAAMY and her on-screen crush (and real-life boyfriend) Kevin at the end where they exchange looks is my absolute favourite. The way the lights flare horizontally and how both Jamie and Kevin are absolutely glowing. There’s just something about it that makes you feel.

Casey: The shots where you can see the professional skaters performing tricks are definitely incredible to see on screen and still makes my heart flutter when I see it. I think my favourite snippet of the final cut is the very last shot where we see JAAMY and the love interest look up at each other while untying their skates. The emotion in this shot is so genuine as the man that plays JAAMY’s love interest is actually her boyfriend in real life. Kevin (JAAMY’s boyfriend), came to set to support the crew on the day and we eventually cast him as the love interest as who could have better chemistry with JAAMY than her real-life boyfriend?! The glance they share in that lost shot is so genuine and it still makes my heart warm to see it.

Tell us about the experience of shooting on a roller skating rink? What challenges did that pose?

Julienne: It was quite fun honestly! We had the entire rink booked out for our shoot from 9 AM until 4 PM. It was a relief knowing that we had the entire space for ourselves and therefore not having to worry about bystanders or the general public. Skateaway (Albany Creek) was also kind enough to let use their light and sound equipment at the rink which helped us set the mood and film efficiently! The hardest part about booking out the rink I would have to say was the cost. Again, best to cross-check with Casey, but I believe we had to pay $700-800 to have the rink to ourselves for one day’s worth of shooting. Before filming, we had about 2 weeks, maybe less even, to source the funds for the rink. That was pretty stressful.

What’s the most rewarding thing about a student film production?

Casey: I think the most rewarding thing about working on a student film production is seeing a concept come to life on a minimal budget and minimal crew. It’s incredible what you can do with a fantastic team and a lot of hard work! Seeing the community rally around student productions to help fund projects is an amazing feeling as a director as it makes you feel that people really do, believe in you and your creative vision. I remember when this project hit the $1000 fundraising goal, JAAMY and I cried together. I encourage everyone to support your local creatives as it means the absolute world when we see the community get behind our projects.

What other projects are you both working on, and what’s next for you?

Julienne: A month before the ‘9 PM’ shoot, I also had my directorial debut with Bianca Power’s latest single to be released early next year! We shot it back in late September and Karla (Editor) and I am currently in the process of a feedback/re-edit sitting with Bianca before the MV gets released. Apart from that, a good friend of mine—Esther Vale—had just wrapped on one of her short films titled ‘Clouded’, and Casey and I are going to be part of a short documentary produced during the first half of next year. Exciting!

Casey: I graduate mid-2021 so I guess it’s time I start thinking about the real world haha. Julienne and I are actually currently working on a project which is still in the early pre-production stages. I’m also working as a writer on a documentary that will be filmed early next year titled ‘Mortem: The Art of Death’ which tells the story of a Brisbane embalmer and her relationship with her career and her best friend who works as a palliative care nurse. It’s an incredibly emotionally driven story that I encourage everyone to follow our Facebook page. As well as these bigger projects, I am currently working on establishing myself as a freelance filmmaker and increasing my online presence. I am also hoping to continue working on more music videos in the future as I love the energy that they bring! It’s definitely going to be another busy year for me as a filmmaker and I am looking forward to every single second of it.

Em Readman
Em Readman

Em Readman is a writer from Meanjin who lives in Boorloo. She has been published in Aniko Press, the Suburban Review, Bowen St Press, Baby Teeth Arts, and others. They were an editor of Glass Magazine in 2020 and 2021, and won the 2022 Blue Knot Foundation Award with the Hunter Writer's Centre.

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