And so I never existed-

Just ask yourself

y'all did you?

treatment for THE THEORY

HARMONIOUS MONKS

director Ben Kadie, Producer Joy Sunday

The Theory - Harmonious Monks
00:00 / 00:00
Play Track:
 

CONCEPT

This video stars Evan as himself, challenged to deliver his message to a complacent and unreceptive (largely white) audience who is comfortable with the status quo.

If Evan cannot make the people listen he will literally vanish.

 

0:00 – The band drives through the night, their car packed full of instruments. They’re on their way to a gig. Evan sits in the passenger seat looking out the window. Rays of light wash over him to the rhythm of the bass.graph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

0:13 – At a small, coffee-shop venue, the band sets up their instruments as Evan tries to calm his nerves. Evan takes the mic and begins to rap, “This my first verse, call this shit the hearse verse.” He’s reading the lyrics off a pieces of notebook paper. It’s clear this is the first time the band has played this song live.

 

0:25 – “Over the chest and neck of a racist farmer from Georgia.” We see Evan walking down the sidewalk. Coming towards him is a big white guy wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat. The guy sees Evan. Evan sees the guy. They draw closer, what’s going to happen?

 

We continue to cut back and forth between the band on stage, Evan on the sidewalk, and Evan in the car.

 

As the Trump supporter passes Evan, he sticks his hands in his pocket, averts his eyes, and steps a few feet off the sidewalk to avoid Evan, as if he thinks Evan will try to mug him. Evan tries to shake it off. He looks behind him at the man twice his size walking while clutching the wallet in his pocket.

 

Meanwhile, on the highway, red and blue police lights appear in the rear-view mirror. Cooper pulls the car over. A highway patrol man shines his light inside the cab, scanning over the faces of the boys. The flashlight lingers on Evan. The cop makes Evan show ID, even though he’s not driving. Finally, the cop leaves. The whole band --especially Evan--is visibly shaken.

 

Back at the venue- the audience is barely paying attention to the Monks. They sip coffee and chat.

 

1:20 – “Long as y’all out in this audience can hear me, fear me”

The audience gives half-hearted applause. Evan realizes that the audience cannot see him. He is invisible and they’re only watching the band behind him. He is invisible and silent, trapped in another place. Evan floats backward from the stage, watching the microphone get farther and farther away. It feels like an out of body experience.

 

1:30 – We emerge in a stylized, colorful dream space. Evan sits on a chair that floats backwards away from us. Waves of light—like the sun through windows—pass over him.

 

We intercut to Evan in the car, but the lights outside are moving backwards.

 

1:40 – back in the dream space, Evan wakes up, stands up. He picks up the lyrics with passion. As he walks towards camera, two dancers follow close behind him. As the verse continues, Evan’s confidence grows. He’s finding his voice and his power.

 

3:00 – Evan is back at the venue with the band. As he raps the powerful lyrics, people in the audience take notice. They look up from their cookies and coffee and listen. Some of them are annoyed. Some are receptive. But they all begin to take notice.

 

3:45 – “And so I never existed...just ask yourself y’all did you?” We revisit the white guy in the “Make America Great Again” hat, the highway cop, and several other people on the street. They look up nervously at dark clouds forming in the sky. It begins to rain – but it’s not water.

 

3:55 – “The trump supporter catches one of the strange rain drops in his hand. It’s a raisin.

“whether American dreams were shamed and erased, Or simply deferred, and reserved for the privileged few.”

In the dream-space, the dancers dance in a shower of raisins.

3:57 – In the club, it’s also raining raisins. Raisins are bouncing off the instruments and falling in people’s drinks. As Evan challenges his audience, people begin to disappear one at a time.

 

4:00 – The audience is disappearing at an accelerating rate, in time with the chromatic hits. The band members behind Evan disappear one at a time. As Evan says his last line “And reduce all the distance, Between your brothas and you!” he too disappears. The entire venue is left empty and covered in raisins.

The video's goal is to add context, evocative imagery, and a story to the song. Because the lyrics are incredibly clear and powerful on their own, the video doesn't need to repeat or parrot the lyrics literally. Rather, the video adds a supplemental story that matches the emotional range of the song.

 

VISUALS

PRODUCTION

The video consists of four main settings: the car, the venue, the dream-space, and the street.

Although this is a lot of locations for a low-budget video, I believe we can shoot most of them on an SCA soundstage with some clever techniques, and the creative choice to embrace a stylized look.

 
1. CAR

The car can be shot on the stage using a technique called 'poor man's process,' using moving lighting to dive the illusion that the parked car is moving. See a great explanation of the technique here.

An example of a stylized version of this effect is this scene from Pulp Fiction.

2. VENUE

The scenes at the venue could be shot at a real venue. But if budget or other production limits make that unfeasible, it could also be shot on our sound stage with curtains and other production design and clever lighting that only shows pockets of the space.

Along with telling the narrative, another goal of this location is to show the band playing together.

3. DREAMSPACE

The dream-space can also be shot on the sound-stage. I'd like to rent / borrow a painted theatrical backdrop for this setup. The cinema school has some kind of a deal with a local backings company, allowing us to borrow from them on the cheap. Not sure what the selection is but I think many different things could be fitting here. The result is a visually striking setting for Evan and the dancers.