Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, California was the perfect location with its Japanese and Chinese gardens, a beautiful Rose garden and a Cactus Garden that looks like another planet. I added a strange out of place bunch of characters who were walking along the garden paths. The band is omnipresent around the bride, either on the projection screen or passing by her.
The band was only available for one day so I shot them in a stark heavenly setting, infinite white first, we had to get that footage edited then prepped for projection, which took a week. After shooting on a stage in Pasadena we went to Huntington Gardens to film the band members key moments and then our actress and extras.
Once the performance only cut was complete, we went back to Huntington Gardens a week later to set up the projection screens for a night shoot. We brought the lead girl back and a couple of extras from the previous Huntington Gardens shoot, to walk among the giant screens.
I remember we were just about to wrap and suddenly there was a massive downpour. Within minutes everywhere was in 4 or 5 inches of water, creating huge puddles and streams where our screens were set up, covering electrical cables that had thousands of volts running through them. As soon as we wrapped, everybody grabbed equipment and helped the crew get out of there, a pretty dramatic finale to what turned out to be a magical shoot.
I knew I had something special but I also realized it meant nothing until I figured out what kind of edit was needed. My editor, the brilliant Don Wilson, had started editing with the footage we had shot a week before. I trusted Don as he’d never let me down, however when I went to see his first rough cut it wasn’t anything like I imagined. I wasn’t even sure what it was I wanted. Don was always brilliant and he never took offence if I didn’t like something.
Usually with an edit, I would sit with the editor for a day and together we’d come up with a plan, then I’d leave the editor to finish a rough cut based on our discussion. In this instant I didn’t get to do that as I was in the middle of prepping for the night shoot, so Don didn’t get any direction from me. So it wasn’t his fault. He insisted that I sit with him and go through the dailies and build from there. A lot of the conversation was about mapping everything out and prioritising but an equal amount of the conversation was philosophical, the emotion and feeling.
That is where a great editor finds his inspiration and angle, his job is part editor part psycho analyst, getting into a director’s head, abstract stuff really. Anyone else would have wondered what the fuck i was going on about. He finally said “I’ve got it, give me a couple of days and come back and I know you’ll be pleased.” So I did, a little anxious I have to admit. Sometimes just when you feel you’ve got things right, you try and put the pieces together and it doesn’t seem to work. Luckily it’s not something that happens often but when it does you panic a little, especially as this was one of the biggest projects I’d had.
I knew so much was resting on me as everyone was counting on the success of the single. People kept telling me “this video has to be right”, (like I didn’t know that). This was when MTV were God, if they didn’t like something it could end an artist’s career. I just remember sitting there wondering what I was going to do if it wasn’t right. Every artist has self doubt , but I felt the burden of responsibility heavy on my shoulders when I went to see the cut. As soon as I saw the first 30 seconds, I got that buzz you get, partly with relief but you feel self vindicated as it totally lived up to my original expectations.
The only difference between the cut I originally presented and the final cut was, I had originally had a band playing at the wedding on a bandstand in the Gardens. They were meant to be Duran Duran in the future. Ironically the band we cast then were in their late 50’s, the very age the Duran are now, but they felt it was too confusing and weren’t keen on it, so I had to lose those shots.
Now the rest as they say is history and the song and the video went through the roof, MTV put the video in heavy rotation and Duran were back where they belonged. That video took me into the A list of music video directors.