FEATURE: Hugo Basclain – Drunk (Dir. Alexander Leeway)
Hugo Basclain sits alone in a party-trashed living room, but it’s not just the headache that’s reduced him to tears. The title “Drunk” probably brings to mind a bouncing pop or hip hop club beat, but instead Hugo’s single is a slow and mournful ballad that could only come from a lovesick and yearning heart. The clip takes us through a handful of scenes involving Basclain and the object of his emotions. Maybe she’s a recent ex, or maybe she’s the one that got away, but regardless her emotional sway over Hugo is enough to keep him up at night writing letters and motivate him to hurl them into fire in the final scene. Director Alexander Leeway, having been given free reign to conceptualize the video, recounts his process:
“Listening to Drunk transported me back to painful memories of heartbreak and the hopeless yearning to turn back time to fix the regrets of the past – to make things right and resolve love, even when there’s no chance. Hugo was stoked with my treatment and ideas. We shared our emotional stories of heartbreak with one another and closely collaborated with performance to bring the story of Drunk to life. Jordyn Hagan-Gaunt, who plays Hugo’s partner, brought a lot of her own personal experiences of heartbreak to her role too.”
Leeway pulled double duty on this clip, being both the Director and Cinematographer. Having filled similar dual roles in the past, there’s an amount of relief in knowing that there’s no room for misunderstanding between head of departments when it comes to executing a vision. The crew were lucky enough to have access to a Slim D2 Motion Robot Arm – a cutting edge robotic camera mount capable of very precise movements. Almost every shot in the video is mobile, with slow zooms letting us get up close and personal to see Hugo and Jordyn’s performance. So many of the scenes in the video have a deliberate shakiness to them, emulating drunken head spins.
“Our camera moves were quite tame in comparison to what you can do with the Robot Arm (the possibilities are endless), it really helped me just focus on Hugo’s performance and lighting cues, while the camera moves were on autopilot, so to speak. Anything else handheld and dutch titled was literally me holding the camera on an angle with the help of an easy rig.”
There was one other piece of cutting edge tech that helped bring Drunk to life. Cinema camera company ARRI approached Leeway to beta test the then-unreleased Alexa 35 4.6K camera. Knowing that the new model had increased dynamic range and that the upcoming shoot for Drunk would involve a lot of dark scenes, it was a fortuitous arrangement for the director.
“There’s a lot of traditionally under lit scenes in Drunk that I just wouldn’t have been able to shoot pleasingly with other cinema cameras. Another neat thing was using the ARRI Textures, specifically the Nostalgic texture look, which emulates grain and a soft character onto the recorded footage – appropriate for the memory driven narrative of Drunk. We used Arri Signature primes and their rear diopters. The diopters on the stronger end can warp and soften the image, especially in the edges and out of focus areas of the image, which again suited the distorted “drunk” feeling of the story.”
Drunk was shot over three days to account for the large number of locations (seven total, though the studio served as both the black void and the living room floor). Leeway credits Producer and 1st AD Michaela Le (who like the director was pulling double duty across two Head-of-Department roles) for keeping the whole operation smooth. Especially the final scene which involved a real bonfire and all the weather checking, council approval and luck that a scene like that involves. Thankfully, it all went off without a hitch, and the emotional climax hits perfectly.
“Even though the tone was quite serious and emotional at times when preparing and performing the scenes – in between takes and breaks we all, the cast and crew, got along like old close friends, we were always laughing, bantering, just having a good time, really enjoying each other’s company and the love of filmmaking. Definitely made lifelong friends on this one.”
Drunk is able to fit a surprising amount into its 4 minute runtime, without feeling like there’s any fat to trim. For Basclain it’s a great compliment to an emotional single, and for the independent and multi-skilled Leeway, it’s further proof of his filmmaking talent.
Here is the official video for “DRUNK“
Music Video Credits
Director/DOP: Alexander Leeway. Producer: Michaela Le. Gaffer: Marcel Breed. Best Boy: Michael Leung. Hair & Make Up: Madeline Jurd, Christo Chris Arai, Isabelle Hans. D2 Motion: Shane Parsons & Daniel Miller. 1st AC: Gourav Gandhi & Shane Parsons. Colourist: Matt Fezz. Production Assistant: Phil Playoust. Props: Ella Morgan.