Though Durham isn’t exactly know for its film and television, the growing city continues to surprise me with all the amazing opportunities that arise. On September 17, award-winning director Lawrence Chen (Duke c/o 2008), Duke’s own cinematographer Steve Milligan and Freewater productions produced Delta Rae’s first music video. I was fortunate enough to tag along on set and experience my first ever music video production. At this point I can’t reveal specifics of the shoot, but I can tell you that the music video featured Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River” . The music video was shot in the woods of the historical Duke Homestead. Though it wasn’t as creepy of a location as you may think, it was raining, freezing and uncomfortable outside. However, in the words of showbiz, the show must go on!

I learned a lot on set of the music video working as a production assistant. Now I’ve always been a fan of music videos. I grew up watching MTV’s “Making the Video” and today I always strive to learn behind-the-scenes information on music video set and productions. This shoot was a dream come true for me to actually experience the music video shoot from bare grounds to a dressed set. I learned about all the little details the shows and publicists leave out. For instance, because of the rain we all had to make sure the outlets stayed dry at all times and the lights remain covered. We were also using a generator and had to ensure that stayed dry underneath a tent (which had to be aesthetically covered by trees). Generators also require gasoline, so I had to run out and purchase more for the shoot. Safety is most important on set and these are the little details a production assistant must take care of in order to ensure a safe environment for all.

There was an extremely large group of extras on set and one of my roles was to ensure the extras were being taken care of (fed, hydrated, as well as safe). The dancers had to do numerous takes time and time again. One of my friends, Spencer Paez, was in the ensemble and I asked him how he felt the music video shoot went. Spencer wrote to me, “In this sort of performance it’s important to remember that the dancing is not the focus. Our part was supportive of Delta Rae’s. I had worked on film sets before this, so I was used to a lot of what went on and variations of other things. But I was reminded of the importance of meticulous preparation and a positive attitude. The corrections, adjustments and number of takes all require these two elements.”

This is the type of experience I yearn for, the type of experience that calls for a large crew, ensemble, set and requires extreme effort. It’s a beautiful thing when all elements of production blend together on a project. The hard work on the camera operator, the director, the creative director, the production assistant, the cast and ensemble (and more) merge to make a masterpiece (hopefully). I am sure the shoot will result in an amazing music video. I am so thankful I was able to be a part of such an extraordinary shoot.

Till next time,

Danielle Genet