My name is Dean Gold and I'm the writer and director of the short musical film Go Your Way starring David Amron and Angelique Janowski, Natalie Rose White and Hayley Filsinger. I'm also the producer, editor, and production designer of this piece.
It began with a call from David Amron. He was mixing the track for his song Go Your Way. He had written the song, and performed vocals and three guitar tracks on the recording. David's music producer who had also worked for the band Dead Day Revolution (for which had directed two large projects) introduced David to my prior work on Bury My Soul. David praised that piece a lot. He said his song was about a female romantic partner who was simultaneously a rival with her demanding will. He referred to her as "a diva".
Shortly thereafter, David and I met and the Go Your Way musical film project took off.
Conceptualizing Go Your Way evolved for some time. David's initial idea was a simple performance video with him playing the guitar singing to the woman of his frustration. I wanted to creatively explore beyond the confines of a simple performance piece and David said he was game. I had no primary reference(s) for the piece. Rather, alchemy would ensue by gradually collating eclectic ingredients that stirred me.
It was an uptempo song about a battle between the sexes. I felt the tone of the piece should be a fun and whimsical take on the song. Whatever form the concept took, "The Diva" was always the central anchor.
To begin with, the piece needed kenetic energy. It needed dimension. It needed color and character.
An early idea for David's character was swing-era performer from a 1950's or early 1960's variety TV special, a smooth hepcat who could snap his fingers along the dancing chicks with cool ease. However, David wanted to be shown playing his electric guitar and wanted a very loud wardrobe. With that, a louder persona for the character would gradually develop.
After in depth research and consideration, I selected the wardrobe that I felt would appeal to David and it did. He did not want to look ordinary and he was committed to wearing a top hat. The first ones we tried were too garish. We eventually settled on one of shorter stature. His look created a need for me to rethink elements of the hitherto working treatment. The final result for David's look was something that could only fit in one place - on a stage. The theatrical characteristics of a stage show would give the piece a license to be loud and proud.
The look cemented the final iteration of David's character, The Showman, who would have a hint of a ringmaster. The Diva, herself, would ultimately be portrayed by seasoned circus performer. More about that later. David's idea to have The Showman eventually turn the tables on the Diva gave the piece slight story arc that I liked. By the end, the ringmaster would tame his ferocious tigress.
The world is The Diva's stage and she would be the center of attention. In this still from the Frederick Wiseman documentary Crazy Horse (2011), I imagined The Diva getting ready for her starring role on stage.
We saw a lot of talent. David had a taste of the of the auditions and attended one with Hayley Filsinger. I think attending an audition was an eye opening moment for David attending the auditions and seeing the level of talent that I was committed to bringing to the project. Angelique Janowski completely knocked it out of the park with her audition. Casting Angelique was the best decision I made on Go Your Way. Not only was Angelique an amazing and beautiful dancer, she had the chararisma and the bounds of attitude in her performance down. She got it right away and with seeming complete ease. I showed David the footage of Angelique's audition and he immediately agreed that she was perfect. I fondly remember his face registering "Hell yeah!" Angelique was an accomplished performer and veteran circus performer practiced with trapeze and hoop dancing. After Go Your Way she would go on to perform at Cirque Du Soleil.
Overseeing the creation of the dance choreography in Go Your Way was a special treat. I wanted an eclectic range of styles. Some 1960's styles included the twist, the swim, and of course go go dancing! I selected and sent the performers reference videos from authentic era films for each of these styles.
I broke down various sections of the song and specified what combination of the dancers would appear. The sychronized dancing was a collaborative choreography designed by Angelique, Hayley, and Natalie. It starts off with a 1960's tinged innocence, but as the song progresses, the dancing gets more modern and funky. Other parts of the dancing were done on a freestyle basis, but always within a specific flavor for the section of the music or what was going on with how I wanted the characters to affect the audience or interact with one another. When the Diva first appears, emblazened with a hot red background, she immediately dominates with the attention she demands.
I wanted to incorporate some vintage style jazz dance movement a la Chicago or legendary director and choreographer Bob Fosse. Angelique was such a delight, it was a real treat to work with her.
I could ask her to do any kind of dancing. All I had to do is mention Fosse, and BAM! She took off like a rocket.
I demonstrated a few of the movements myself: The stacatto hand movements, the strutted sychronized walk, and the Robo Go Gos "starting up" from the stools. In other cases, I described my concepts to the dancers like the headless robots "swim" dancing, The Diva conducting the movements of the Robo Go Gos with her wand, and the composite of the cloned Diva performing "the twist" in different positions.
On set, Hayley and Natalie further created an extended segment for headless "swim" dancing. It was more than I could use in the main video, but it was so good I needed to use it, so it made it into the credits sequence.
I seperately met with David to see how he could look singing and playing guitar. I also tested out various theatrical ideas to select those that worked best. I wanted
to integrate each of the talent in various combinations and bring David along for the ride as far as he could take it.
I like concocting a unique blend of tones and cues. I wanted the cinematograpy to enchance the color and kenetic energy I felt the song could invoke. I employed vibrant colors and abstract patterns to give it a 1960's feel. I gathered abstract moving patterns and projected them onto the silver skin of the Robo Go Go Girls.
Like an film from the silent era, the action would be shot straight on, from one angle as if you were in an audience watching a musical or staged dance performance. But unlike a silent film, most of the shots
were handheld with a delibrate stylization.
I employed a "lens whacking" technique I discovered on The White Stripes' Blue Orchid music video directed by Floria Sigismondi. I coupled it with an occassionaly funky eratic camera shake technique that added to the kenetic energy of the song and on screen action.
I was already used to invoking various speed manipulations both in camera and in post to further mold the action around my intuitive response to the song. I went out and carefully selected special effects color lighting gels for purchase. We also used a flicker box for some shots.
Other effects would be added in post production, but only to enhance the human performances, never to distract from them.
Years prior, I had met David Arnson, leader of the long running surf band Insect Surfers, at a Dick Dale (King of the Surf Guitar) concert. I reached out to him for music for the end titles and he licensed the rockin' track "Sea Scorpion" to me.
I had so much to cover that the day of production was intense. We shot it all over the course about about a fourteen hour day.
We had two documentary cameras (Mike H. Rava and Farzad Refahi) capturing the action as well as cast and crew insights from the production. The 17 minute documentary was carefully edited together from hours of footage that included the production day, prep and choreography days, and a glimpse into the auditions.
David and Angelique met on set and there was an easy comfort between them.
The makeup department, lead by Gina Banic and Kate Oja and assisted by Jade Gaje and Ashley Jensen had their hands full and included two nearly full body paint jobs for the Robo Go Go Girls.
Each of the costumes for the performers in Go Your Way were integral in defining their characters. I previously wrote about the Showman's costume and its significance to the piece.
The dance costumes were custom made for each performer. I worked in detail with with costume designer Moriah West to bring the right ingredients to each character's costume.
Angelique wears two costumes in Go Your Way. I selected the form fitting one that she brought to the audition which looked great, but I wanted
to include something more theatrical as well. The wardrobe change further enhances her stage persona when she fist appears in it after the stage curtain is pulled aside by
I chose a design inspired by Liza Minnelli's costume in the film Cabaret (1972) directed by Bob Fosse. I selected every detail, down to the color, size, shape, and number of the buttons, the fabric, everything. We added variation and enhanced the new design with brocade fabric on the sides and brass-colored half moon buttons. I wanted garter straps and Moriah suggested the "V" shaped ones rather than the standard straight type for some "a little thigh excitement". Though created for her small measurements, the wardrobe test day revealed the need to to take in the costume for super petite Angelique.
In addition to the thigh high fishnet stockings, I added arm stockings. The short fishnet arm stockings we tried looked really good. The long sheer arm stockings were even better.
The Robo Go Go Girl costumes would have their own style and yet still tie in with The Diva. This strappy top design lead me to I discovering Moriah.
I selected this blue metalic material which I felt was a 1960's retro-futurisic Barbarella feel. I had Moriah seek out comparable metallic green fabric for the other Robo Go Go.
We had no design for the bottoms, so Moriah discovered these references from a bathing suit design that I approved. I wanted to get stylish designer colored footware, but the budget would not allow for it, so I found these inexpensive ankle boots that further tied the Robo Go Gos to the Diva.
Wardrobe Test with Natalie
Makeup design has been a big element of some of my films. For Go Your Way, I specified every detail for the makeup design of each of the dance performers. There was the silver paint. Hayley's Robo Go Go girl would have blue accents in her lip and eyemakeup. Green for Natalie. The eyebrows would be paper thin 1920's style. The shape of the lipstick would be a 1930's "Betty Boop" style. Hiding the ears was important to me in order to push the robot look. I created ear covering accessories out of simple pieces of plumbing hardware and added jeweled beads to top it off. I purchased the blue and green metallic press on nails and the rhinestone eyelashes to complete the look.
It was a delight to be working with Gina and Kate again. They brought their passion to Go Your Way and we would have a meeting of the minds about taste. They both reached the silver face/body paint product that was
going to hold up during the extensive shooting day. I provided them with makeup references for every detail.
Makeup Reference for blue eye makeup on Hayley's Robo Go Go
Vintage lip shape
Nail and lipstick color selections
Silver Body Paint and Ear Cover References, Kate Oja Working on Natalie, Body Paint Test with Natalie
I originally wanted to make the Robo Go Gos bald, but sealing the performers heads in plastic, rubber, and paint would be problem with the sweat and heat
that would have been generated by the long physically active dancing day. Kate and Gina came up with the idea of the cornrow braids. I really liked it and helped
unify the girls like they were of the same production line. Lots of silver hair spray.
I gathered a couple of hundred reference images of a variety of subjects including theatrical situations, dance performance, characters, and costumes to draw upon for inspiration and carefully selected some that would act as storyboards.
Many ideas would start in one place and be vastly transformed by the time they were written, shot, or edited. Many would be disgarded. Others would remain close to the original idea.
The Showman weaponizes satire by donning the Diva's fishnet stocking over his head. Reference from a fashion photo. A still from the movie One From the Heart (1981) coupled with this inspirational fashion photography reference of a sassy woman in a Venetian mask.
The Showman weaponizes satire by donning the Diva's fishnet stocking over his head. Reference from a fashion photo.
A still from the movie One From the Heart (1981) coupled with this inspirational fashion photography reference of a sassy woman in a Venetian mask.
A surreal art photo inspired the idea of The Showman struggling against the Diva's voodoo control over him.
Reference from a vintage composite photograph featuring "the twist".
A still from the landmark 1927 sci fi film Metropolis with a mad scientist in control of a robotic girl. The Diva would likewise exert her power. Because just one robot girl is not enough, I had to invent Robo Go Go Girls!
A still from the Bob Fosse and Debbie Reynolds' musical Give the Girl a Break (1953). This is captured in mid motion. In my version the dancers start in this position. I then reversed the shot in post to make them land in this position.