For years I’ve wanted to make a film. For years I had a boundless number of ideas flooding my brain of images and specific visuals that I wished I could somehow produce for the screen for us to see. And it was terribly frustrating because I could never take the ideas out of my head and put them into reality without the skill, the aid, the time, the money, and the people to help. I had stories I wanted to write, yes, but I wanted some of those stories to accompany visuals and music to make them seem real.
And then I discovered Twenty Øne Piløts. I fell in love with their music for many different reasons and so one day I decided to draw a rough sketch of a storyboard for a music video for one of their most popular songs, “Stressed Out.” Drawing the storyboard at the beginning of summer 2017, I had no idea that it would be good enough in 5 months to get put on YouTube. That was the ultimate goal, but I wasn’t sure then that it would ever happen.
And then December 16th rolled by and just that happened.
But why did I choose a song from this particular band?
During my English 100 class last spring semester, I chose the topic of my final essay to be about Twenty Øne Piløts and how they impacted our culture and world today. All the research I did inspired and intrigued me. The Twenty Øne Piløts duo, Tyler Joseph (singer and songwriter) and Josh Dun (drummer) create music for others who are going through the same pain they do: anxiety, insecurity, depression, the list goes on. Such problems run rampant in our society, particularly among younger people, and so their music goes out to that audience. Their music spoke to me when I was going through a strange anxiety/agoraphobia phase, and even now their lyrics still grab my mind and hold it captive because in their songs they are not afraid to speak the truth and call it out for what it is. Twenty Øne Piløts is small group of Christian musicians, and though they don’t label themselves as such, it is obvious in their songs. Before my rambling gets too, well, rambly, you can read more about why I love Twenty Øne Piløts here, and I’ll get along with why I chose this particular song for my music video project.
Blurryface is brought up a lot in TØP’s songs, particularly the song “Stressed Out.” Turns out, Blurryface is the character Tyler Joseph created to “help himself confront his personal insecurities through song.” We see this character show up during concerts and in music videos, when Tyler dresses in a skeleton suit and slathers black paint on his neck and hands to symbolize the character of Blurryface as if he was literally clothed in his securities as a way to confront them. In this way, each song is like a story without an ending, where Tyler is constantly fighting off his fear and hurt and insecurities that are brought up by Blurryface. This creature could be seen as his demon, a Mr. Hyde, or even Satan and the evil that mars every human soul. Featuring Blurryface is another way that Joesph communicates to his audience and fans that they are not alone in their struggles with the pressures of society and that they, too, can discover ways to overcome their similar problems.
This concept really grabbed my attention and I wanted to make Blurryface a big part of the music video I wanted to create. I want to make music videos that aren’t all just random shots of random people doing random things (which is what I got from a lot of music videos I’ve seen, including even professional ones). I wanted this music video to tell a story, and, what’s more, I wanted the artist’s impression of their own song to show through in my interpretation of it. I wanted to take what Tyler Joseph was trying to communicate with his song “Stressed Out” and tell that story through filming, acting and the magical technique that combines the two: lip syncing.
Of course, I couldn’t do this video by myself. We were staying with friends over the summer and they were stoked to help out, even to act in making my storyboard become reality. My brother Michael, who is also a photographer and film maker (and wannabe movie director) was a huge help in cinematography, editing, and acting as the character Blurryface. I am so thankful for all the help I got in the making of this music video, and the cast and crew is the reason why I now get to share it with you now.
So, without further ado, my music video of “Stressed Out” by Twenty Øne Piløts. Enjoy!