What was your creative vision for this music video?
CHRIS: “The Decision” is a rather straight-forward moment in the narrative of the whole album so the visuals needed to reflect the statements and actions in the song. With the video, I wanted to be able to show Eve’s struggle, torment, but also show her warmth. To achieve this, I strove to create something that was more like a silent film than a music video. I purposefully chose to include no shots of a band playing or me singing or anything like that so that the if someone watched the video on mute they could still follow a (hopefully) coherent—if oddly presented—story.
What was it like working as the primary writer, director, and acting in your own film?
CHRIS: It was certainly challenging. I’ve never written a script before, directed a video before (I don’t think the things that accompany our live shows truly count), or acted before (I was a band kid, not a theater kid). I originally had a director secured for the video but that fell through and so I decided to do this myself. I bought a camera, read up a lot on how to make a short film, and just did the best I could. There is so much to consider and take into account that doesn’t occur to you when you are just writing a script. Likewise, when you are acting. Luckily my part is minimal so I was blessed to be in such close proximity to a truly great actress in Rebekah who played Eve. Directing was not a difficult thing as everyone involved just went with my crazy ideas so it was a very smooth production. I also tried to be sure to listen to Rebekah and Alexis (cinematographer) when they suggested something that was different than my original vision or if they just wanted to try something again even when I was happy. It was a very exhausting process but honestly, it was extremely stimulating. I would love to write and direct another video someday. The editing was probably the most tedious part.
How did you choose the actress to play Eve?
CHRIS: I had posted an ad searching for an actress to play Eve. A few ladies reached out and I asked them for just an audition video of them showing a few emotions: joy, despair, emptiness, etc. It was important to me that they not use words as again this whole project was approached like a silent film. I was looking for someone that could radiate genuine warmth while also being able to bring out true despair. I received some really good auditions but Rebekah’s was just on another level. I felt her pain instantly and I knew she was Eve because of how contagious her emotions were.
What was it like working with Rebekah and reliving some of those moments with Eve?
CHRIS: Rebekah may be one of the kindest, most agreeable actresses in the history of film. She is such a team player and truly wants to understand the soul of what it is she is doing. She was so believable in many moments that everyone in the room would just go silent watching her. She made every part of every job I had on this ten times easier. Reliving some moments, as you can imagine, were harder than others. As the shots got to what is the video’s climax, I began pacing a lot more as we shot trying to keep myself together. The dam burst a bit when I cried over Eve’s body (I’m not acting). However, I held it all together a lot better than I was afraid of and tried to focus on every technical thing I could so that the memories would not start to corrupt what I was trying to do.
What was the most surprising part of the filming and editing process?
CHRIS: The most surprising part was how easy it is to make a mistake or forget something. Even with shot lists, even with every organizational trick in the box, there’s always something. I suppose it is fair to say that I was surprised how much I delved into trying to make the vision come to life.
What was the hardest thing about the filming and editing process?
CHRIS: Aside from the most literal scene at the climax, which I already discussed, the hardest part for me personally came a bit after filming. I became so wrapped up in the video that I sacrificed lots of sleep to work on the edit – getting the timing of this right, changing out shots, adding the right filter, correcting this color, changing this transition, etc. After all of that work, I had the first version done. I hit play in my dimly lit room and just watched it scroll by. By the time I reached the end, I began to weep. Hard. I felt as though I was losing her all over again. I had been so focused on every other technical thing that when I finally just sat and watched it, it was like my heart was being ripped open again. So I suppose getting the separation from my experience and what the video should be was the hardest part because the emotion ran so very high.
What do you hope that viewers will take away from viewing your film?
CHRIS: I want viewers to be affected by the video. I tried my best to make something that isn’t a typical music video and I hope folks may look at it differently. I am not saying it is better than others. Just different. I want viewers to want to save Eve, like I did – and still do. I want them to reflect when it is over. And finally, I truly want them to think about how close suicide is for many people. In the US alone for every person that is successful in ending their life, twenty-five attempt suicide, and countless others plan, contemplate, and fantasize about committing suicide. If suicide is the second leading cause of death for folks ages 10-24 then this video is my way of trying to get people to look at that reality. I don’t have the answers, I don’t have the solutions, and damn it I wish I did. The best I can do is share my story and experiences and encourage people to reach out if they are in pain. I would have helped Eve. I would have done anything in this world for her. Maybe someone who’s having a hard time and wrestle with their desire to die will watch the video and just consider making the attempt to say to someone—anyone—something as simple as “I hurt” thereby giving those that care about them the chance to help them. These are all lofty goals that probably (more like definitely) exceed the remarkably meager and mediocre talent I have. But what honor do I pay to Eve if I am not striving for something beyond my reach?
Watch the video below, and find more from The Reticent at http://www.thereticent.net
THE RETICENT | “The Decision”
CAST AND CREW
Rebekah Ehrhardt as Eve
Chris Hathcock as Chris/Grey Tie/Red Tie
William Andrew Dibble
Cinematography by Alexis Helms & Chris Hathcock
Written, Edited, and Directed by Chris Hathcock
“The Decision” from the album “On The Eve Of A Goodbye”
© 2016 Heaven and Hell Records.
Written and performed by Chris Hathcock as The Reticent
Engineered, Mixed, and Mastered by Jamie King at The Basement Studios.