Video Nearly Kills The Radio Stars

“Les Elephants Bizzares” has already become a very well known name in the Romanian music industry. Their music could be described as a nice fusion between Indie, Pop, Disco, Punk and Funk styles. Their first album “Hello” was a big hit and soon they took over the whole musical scene in Romania, traveling the whole country entertaining people with their alive and catchy beats.

“Les Elephants Bizzares” are five guys willing to do anything to sing. After practicing hard for five years and working even harder to get their album ready, they’re now tasting the success of their work. Their first hit, “Hello Says the Devil”, was chosen as a theme-song for a Pepsi commercial which, I think you’ll all agree, is a great big deal at this point.

On a roll, they have just shot their second video. This one is for the song “The Boys” and it is going to be launched in February 2011. All I am going to say about it is that you’ve never seen anything like this before in Romania and it will definitely blow some minds in the industry. But let’s talk about how they did it because you’ll find out how great things can be made by a handful of very talented and devoted people.

Wake up call: 5:00 am.

Meeting time: 6:00 am.

On set: 7:30 am.

From now on all hell lets loose! As we’re in a forest a few good kilometers away from the city there’s no turning back.

This is their second day of shooting but at a new location. For me, it’s the second time I take part in a video shoot. The first time it was for a short movie so happily I already have an idea of what will happen here.

They start getting ready. Make-up and costumes first while the director and director of production (DOP) establish angles, light, positions and other things normal mortals like me do not understand. The first shooting session starts around 9:00 am and lasts for five hours. Everything is done as fast as possible, using as few words as possible and everyone knows exactly where they should be. There is some shouting: “Move out!” “Quiet on the set!” “Make-up!” “Costumes!” “Get the mouse!” “Clear the set!” “Action!” “Cut!” “Next!” “Go!” “Ready?” “Camera?” “Action!” And run, run, run. We all laugh when there’s a few seconds break but it’s an intense day and this goes on until the sun sets.

The band had a concert in Sibiu the night before so most of them haven’t slept at all. It’s unbelievable how strong the human body can be and how amazingly well a small and well driven team can work.

The director, Ismail Jamaludin, a young and incredibly talented lover of arts from Malaysia has had the opportunity to work with the band before as he directed their fist video for the song “Hello Says the Devil”. He says “Working with a small crew is not as simple as it sounds! But it leads to a more trusting group. It’s very hard, since you have to divide the work amongst each other, and treat each other with respect, and help out when you can. It’s less of a group and more of a family. You don’t want to let anyone down and you want to give it your best.”

Alex Popa, who signs this project as executive producer for the first time says pretty much the same thing: “The relationship between the members of the crew tends to be more friendly than business oriented”. He has been working in this field for about five years and this was his first video. He said he was very happy with his crew: “Indeed, they are young but we worked together exceptionally”.

I cannot talk about the concept of the video, but as I previously said, it’s going to be something completely different from the usual Romanian videos. The credits for the concept divide between Ismail Jamaludin, Alex Popa and the costume designer, Neli Chiu, a visionary and a very talented, experienced and professional costume designer. She has worked wonders with those costumes and you will definitely agree with me soon enough.

A highlight of the shooting? “Let’s say the members of Les Elephants Bizzares dancing in the middle of a field at 7 am after they spent the previous night on the road coming back from a concert in another town is an image I will surely not forget very soon.” says executive producer, Alex Popa.

Being asked what he had learnt from this shooting, director Ismail Jamaludin says “Hmmm. The first thing would be never to underestimate the power of duct tape to fix life’s problems”. Haha! But the second more serious note is working in a crew. People respond more to a smile and a question, rather than a frown and an order. You have to treat your crew with love and respect, much like how you treat your brother or sister”.

I hope we’ll hear only good things about this small family created on the set and honestly, I’m sure we will hear their names again pretty soon.  I don’t know what you guys feel, but I can’t wait to see that video and to listen to their next big hit!

Bucharest Expat Contributing Author