After I told my friend Sam about some of the video ideas I had been playing around with, he encouraged me to start using Adobe After Effects. “But it looks soooo complicated,” I whined. “It’s just like Photoshop, with video,” he explained. So I decided to give it a go. I didn’t have a recent recording of one of my songs handy, so I dug in the CD cabinet and found an oldie.
Early in the twenty-first century, Ingenious Whittler released Al Smith’s New York, a concept album about, of all things, Tammany Hall politician Al Smith. Alfred E. Smith rose to become governor of New York, a presidential candidate in 1928, and one of the principals behind the construction of the Empire State building a year later. I contributed two compositions to this epic: “Empire of Smoke” and “Sleep Standing Up.”
The recording process was interesting. I brought the song to one of the Al Smith sessions to see if anything could be done with it. I played the keyboard part (on my old Pianorgan), sang the lead vocal, then left the rest to Pete Dally. When my copies of the CD arrived (it was our first release through Tiny Records and CDBaby), I had mixed feelings about how the song had turned out. Now I realize that the results were fresher and fit the album better than if I would have finished it myself.
Though the budget for the Sleep Standing Up video was approximately zero dollars, it took several hours of tweaking to get the images looking right and flying around the screen the way I wanted. After the animation was finished, it took over a month before I got up the gumption to finally shoot the live action. Once I had the footage, however, I got excited again and put everything together in the next few days. With the exception of a missing thimble, all went smoothly. And I learned a ton.
I fully expect this video to break the Internets when I post it. If it doesn’t, I hope you’ll give it a spin, anyway.