Summer Darling's Killer New No-Budget Music Video

Abe Schwartz

Silverlake has a robust independent music scene, and one of my favorite acts is indie rock band, Summer Darling. When I first saw their new music video for the song, "My Reminder", I was blown away by the concept and visuals. I caught up with band members Benjamin Haywood and Heather Bray Haywood, director Adam Penn, and producer Beth Zeigler to find out more about what inspired the concept and what it took to bring the video to life.

The video was shot with one Canon DSLR camera, the 7D, which has become one of the more popular camcorders for independent filmmakers. (Tiny Furniture), which won the grand prize at South by Southwest last year, was also shot with the 7D.) The budget was next to nil, though the production value is incredibly high. The goal was to create a "VHS horror film", and the aesthetic was accomplished in post-production through muting and desaturating the colors, adding tracking bar graphics, and in general, dirtying up the image.

Summer Darling "My Reminder" (Official Video) from Summer Darling on Vimeo.

The video was shot over a two-day period with a crew fluctuating between five to ten people, cast included, in one location. The crew's initial plan, however, was to steal an exterior location. They had set up lights out front of an old Victorian home, thinking that no one was inside...until an 80-year old woman came outside screaming at the sight of Ben in fake blood wielding a fake knife in the rain. (Hell, I would have been screaming, too.) Fortunately, Beth calmed the elderly woman down, apologized profusely, and the production was forced back to one location. (Lesson learned: It's important to be adaptable when producing films on no budget.)

I love that the narrative Adam created is both daring and original. A music video in which the band's lead member kills its top fan is the stuff that keeps publicists awake at night; and that's what makes it awesome. There were differing opinions regarding just what it all means. Is the story simply a flip-flop of fans and paparazzi stalking the talent? Or does it allude to the death of an "indie" that no longer is relevant in today's hyper-digital culture? Check out the video for yourself, and behold the gallons and gallons of fake blood!