In light of last night's snow spanking, tomorrow's holiday, and the fact that we are careworn from pitching/promoting and ready to make more songs, we impulsively release the video for the song Starlight from the album Psycho Social Sexual.
Starlight is a torch tribute to women of the golden era and past generations. A video with ritual burning and the evocation of the inner goddess or internal strength.
Produced and Created by Lesley Ann Fogle and Constantine Hondroulis
Movie sample playing in the background at the beginning is Hedy Lamarr in Zeigfred Girl; please also see the movie Bombshell about Hedy's life
Video of galaxies NGC 1512/1510 by ESA/Hubble, Digitized by Sky Survey, Nick Risinger
"Starlight" from the 2019 album "Psycho Social Sexual" by After-Death Plan
Vocals, Violin, Lesley Ann Fogle
Bass, Piano Constantine Hondroulis
Electric Guitar, Jay Gasper
Audio Engineer, Lesley Ann Fogle, Hear No Evil Sound
Mastered by Anna Frick, Airshow Mastering
Lyrics: Starlight starbright A lovely sky is painted on a hard night. This sky is only for you And possibly me. Fall farther. You’re not wrong or right. Such a pretty star in the night.
The golden era has alway fascinated me. The beautiful singing, that far away look with its air of romanticism icing a deep dark detachment and disconnect…like dreaming of a better place, perhaps a magical place where the powers of creation match up with existence in the present. A present where face value and body value were of the highest value because your role was to be attractive. It’s still a material world though things have changed a bit as more women push back against these deep suggestions. That madness is from a past era where women totally depended on men and could be cast aside for younger models. Some eke on about the breakdown of the family but the road of the female remaining the extension of the male has no survival value. And the men in this era. Many act more like daddies than partners, competing with other men for the biggest trophy prize. It’s all so lonely to watch.
For those who practice ritualized therapy, the opening shots are from a fall practice. Simply put, the pen is the knife, the fire is the mind which burns the metaphors you seek to purify. The herbs a mixture of sages and dragon’s blood. Lavender clears the air. And the water is the soul which seals the intentions/affirmations.
The Making of Starlight / DIY Video Insight
A few people have asked how we put the DIY After-Death Plan music videos together.
About six years ago I got some fast bootcamp film training to take part in a documentary-style project under The Association of Independent Radio. I instantly loved the medium but moved to Columbus and no longer had access to a camera. Decided this fall to buy a used Canon Mark iii 5D. It was in the same ballpark price-wise as getting professional headshots and studio shots for work so we were motivated to put in the time to learn. Figuring out lenses is a major purchase decision and overwhelming, so we started with a $100 28-135mm starter kit lens which is all we use in the Starlight video. I know a bit about lighting from working on production shoots but nothing educates you like having to buy a bunch of stuff with a small budget. We got the Neewer CN-160, 304PCS, and 500 LED panels. Shout out to DSLR Video Shooter on YouTube. Turns out Midwest Camera will put a rental price toward a purchase so that's the next step. Or just rent gear instead of renting a larger storage solution. Yeah, I hadn't used Midwest before this for rental because they don't rent audio gear I might need on a larger shoot. It's mostly Rode stuff geared toward video people. We also picked up a black backdrop, some stringed lights, and a fog machine.
Starting with the goddess scene, we taped garbage bags over the windows in our basement. Between the kit lens and the space, we went with closer shots. That stupid backdrop was not 10' wide; it was 6' wide x 10' long and there we were with but a few clamps. Costa manned the camera with a medium shot straight through, a couple of closeup takes, and two profile shots we didn’t end up using much. Between the different fog levels and the way we needed to reset for angles in that tight space, some color correcting would have been ideal but we did not attempt it this time around. I will say that I found the long straightforward singing shot refreshing. Sometimes I like to watch a singer’s technique/style without the shots or editing trying to constantly entertain me. But then the internet was not a common thing until my late 20’s and get off my lawn.
Made the headpiece from a golf visor, sequins, and some gold leaves I found at thrift stores. Using the visor like a headband, I sewed the sequins to the visor and the leaves to the top of the brim. Wanted to take this further with feathers and charms but ran out of time and picked up some glittery circles to sort of emulate a cross between the sides of a helmet faceplate and a laurel wreath while keeping the visual from being too narrow. I’d made the dress like 25 years ago.
The gold makeup is a powder from Mehron added to mixing liquid. This cool stuff looks like liquid gold. It lasts a long time but get your closeups fast because when it cracks you’ll look like the crypt keeper and will have a horror video on your hands. Couldn't find info or advice on battling the drying or on contouring over metallic paint and did not have much time to experiment. In the future, [I] think I’d try dramatic contours with black paint and dust or dab gold powder over that. Or, everyone can buy our album and we’ll just hire a makeup artist?
There’s not much to note on the opening shots except to say that it is challenging to shoot scenes by yourself. For shots where I’m cut lavender, I had to focus on the lavender, hit record, then run over and cut the stems. For shots where the camera can be placed nearby, like the shot of binding the lavender, I used an external monitor turned toward me to frame, focus, etc. Luckily, Costa picked things up very quickly. You won’t see us in the same shot much on these DIY videos because we’re filming each other.
Working with changing sunlight means hustling with a game plan laid out. We messed with the Storyboarder program but there were just too many new things thrown at us so we went with a simple shot list and times lifted from the treatment. I write simple treatments then pretty detailed expanded treatments where everything is laid out.
The biggest hurdle was learning to use Adobe Premiere. The toolbar functions and workspace flow are pretty simple thanks to internet tutorials, Lynda.com through the beautiful library, and the manual. But the advanced features are still beyond me. I deal with settings and codecs with audio but trying to get to that level with video takes practice and so far away from what I want to do…create great recordings and pieces across mediums. We’ve bigger stories to tell…if…buy…After-Death Plan songs…help…support..art.
That’s it. Our first DIY video. Not the vision I had for this song but we adapted. Professional crews are worth the cost yet it is hard to come up with money until profits are returned to music creators. Did you know that many people won’t even pay for streaming services like Spotify? That's some Grade A "not me" bull. I don’t even like that the bulk of streaming service profits go to the web developers but that’s not worth arguing and get off my lawn. In short, purchase music, even a single song, so bands can at least pay recording costs.
I hope this DIY peek helps and/or encourages some fellow musicians and creatives. If you've taken in any of this then decently support us in some way: purchase a track, share our music, or go like our stuff on social media. Help us reach a larger audience.