Updated with Q&A
A couple of weeks ago I posted a music video by Ben & Julia for The Main Drag‘s song ‘Dove Nets’. Ben (Benoît Créac’h) and Julia (Gaudard) started working together in 2006, and recently moved to Berlin.
There are a few things that made me fall in love with this piece: the diverse illustration/design styles, the use of numerous hand-made pieces, but most of all the ‘Berlinesque’ playfulness of it all. They have really captured the artistic spirit of the city pretty well in this piece. Although they described this project as a sort of celebration of their recent move, I’m sure this wasn’t their primary aim.
I caught up with the duo, and now have the pleasure of sharing some insight behind their production process with all of you. You can also get more info and credit list on the official site of the video here.
1. What was the brief from the record company/band at the start?
The Brief was clear “Do some Ben&Julia’s crazy stuff “. :-)
No seriously, they really trusted us and we were free to do whatever we wanted. So ‘Dove Nets’ ended up as a surrealistic/psychedelic mix media piece.
2. what were your ideas that came up during your brainstorming process?
We were immediately seduced by the concept of a mouse who’s obsessed with doves. At the beginning the goal was to keep everything real simple, because of the budget and time restrictions, but we couldn’t help writing more new ideas, that’s when the talking books, the eyes in the plug (3rd shot), the Dove Robot, came about. We loved the idea of books telling stories without having to be opened and read!
We are mostly inspired by our travels. Also by dreams, childhood memories, and TV shows. As an example, for this video,
“Téléchat”– a French TV show from the 80’s, was an important inspiration. “The Storyteller” is also one of our favourites.
Another important subject is the metamorphosis, the kind that Ovid spoke about. Something that’s based in mythology rather than in a new vision of ourselves. The poisoning by the cheese alludes to the use of rat poison. It congeals the blood and kills the rat really quickly. That’s an idea that’s been in our sketchbooks for 2-3 years now.
3. what were the most difficult or unexpected challenges you encountered during the production, technical and otherwise?
We put a lot of work in this music video. Everything was hard and challenging : the animated cartoons, sculptures, plaster bandage, books, and the mouse costume whose ears were made of latex. But we also learned a lot out of this, and that’s really valuable to us. When you make an entire video by yourself, the good thing is that inevitably, there would be some sort of an artistic unity, regardless of whether you wanted this or not.
4. Why did you choose this style/aesthetic and this method?
We mixed all the techniques because this was how we found an “equilibrium”. This is how live action, CG, and puppets can coexist. We try to create ‘Universes’ not ‘animation films’. This is our way to change the world we live in, into a better place…at least for 3 minutes :-)
5. Finally tell us a little bit more about your background and the project…
We are Ben (Benoît Créac’h) and Julia (Gaudard). A French/Swiss duo of Art Director/Director.
Julia studied decoration in Vevey (Switzerland), and Graphic Design in Central St Martin’s, London.
Ben studied editing at CLCF and 3D/Special Effects at Isart Digital in Paris, where he also worked as consultant.
In 2006, we started working as a duo, aiming to create something very original out of clever mixes of all sorts of techniques, be it traditional or digital. We are now represented by Stink. ‘Dove Nets’, which took us 3 months to produce, is our second music video, made as a kind of celebration of our recent relocation to Berlin.