London Girl Video-Behind The Scenes


Have you had a chance to check out my London Girl video yet?

It took an incredible amount of work to bring together this five minute ode to London (Ontario, my home) (UK, my heritage), and I thought it might be interesting to talk about the behind-the-scenes efforts to bring it to life.

It began with a Kickstarter:


I was nervous to try Kickstarter, because so many projects fail.  I guess I had nothing to worry about because I was funded within three days of the launch!  And doubled my original goal!

Then, I applied for a grant through London Arts Council and whaddya know?  That was successful too!


I was on a roll, right?  Well, not exactly. I got stuck.  Despite these successes (7 months apart, I might add), I had a heart-to-heart with myself about my musical direction. I decided after a long break that I needed to listen to my audience, and follow my natural ability of being funny.  So I focused on creating a musical comedy show during the summer of 2015 and presented it in September.  Two of them, actually, in the same night because the first one sold out so fast.  And then, after that…I had to get to work on the video I had promised both my Kickstarter supporters and the City of London/London Arts Council.

The first thing I needed was a concept.  I found two inspirations on YouTube.  I liked the idea of a one-shot video like this one, and also the “DIY” feel of this one.  So I began working out the details of how to make my own video from these two ideas, with amazing precision and artistically stunning storyboards of each scene:

The Store

My stick figure ladies always get bobs.

Then, I went to work on contacting each of the London businesses I wanted to include in the video.  Thankfully, almost everyone said yes, so I got to work on the images and props needed to incorporate them in the video:

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Now, let it be noted that each of the signs you see here were made by my two hands. See that Renegade sign?  I projected the logo onto the paper and traced and coloured it in with marker.  That London Music Club sign?  I coloured and cut it by hand as well.  I cut every letter out of that Grand Theatre sign, as well as every star…and the Boombox Bakeshop was also hand crafted.

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You can’t show London without a double decker bus! And why not make it a costume too? Oh, and while we’re on that theme…

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It took the city of London (ON) forever to finally say yes to food trucks, and I was so happy about it that I had to feature (the best) one in my video!  I even made a pop-out window for it!

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Those birds?  Cut them out and coloured them by hand.  Also taped together a bunch of small dowels to make sticks for them. Keep Calm and Carry On changing room…and good advice while making all these damn signs.  Victoria Park sign?  Projected, traced and coloured by hand.  By the time I got to the street signs, I had broken down and bought a new printer, because I was sick to death of doing everything by hand (my old printer wasn’t working!)


Peek-a-boo!  It’s the London Eye!


The Camden Market storefronts (or are they London Ontario ones? *wink*) sit atop a London Taxi.  I used a lot of cardboard, dollar store paints and bristol board!


Check, check, check…almost done!

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Shoot Day set up!

We made five moving sets and double sided them to create 10 different backdrops, only to discover on shoot day that they weren’t big enough to pull off the original idea for a one-shot video!  What? YOU’RE KIDDING ME!  Well, we’re here now, and we’re going to make the best of it!

DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT I kept saying to myself…

The incredibly talented Bailey Howe (left, in red) choreographed the dance break! And Trish (right, in blue), not only rocked the dance break, but also did an amazing job of looking bored on the subway!


Alex Stephenson, the director of photography, letting me take a sneak peek of our dance sequence while Bailey and Trish also watch!

So we finished the shoot (yay!)…


Am I screaming? I sure look like it. Bailey’s million dollar smile!


Heather (flag waver), Trish (dancer), Amy (subway rider, tea pourer, food truck), Darlene (taxi driver) celebrating the end of the shoot!


Alex and I, still smiling after an incredibly long day (with lack of protein…sorry I forgot to order us food, Alex!)

…and a few weeks later I got the first cut of the video back.  Sadly, it felt like the video was missing the charm that I had envisioned for it.  It was supposed to look DIY, because I didn’t have a million bucks for a budget to start, but it didn’t quite look right.  So after some tears and missed sleep, I regrouped and remembered this:


I figured out the parts I thought worked really well, and took out the ones that didn’t work at all.  I shot an opening title sequence and found a way to bridge the two Londons together.  I also shot a closing credits sequence, because I wanted people to watch the names of my very important Kickstarter backers!  (and if you didn’t know, those are past and present movie theatres in London Ontario they’re being displayed on!)  And I re-edited the video to try to capture that charm I was after.

Was I successful?  Well, you be the judge.  What I know for sure is, making a music video is a huge undertaking! If I had it to do over again, I would have made different choices, but you know what?  It served as one of the greatest artistic learning experiences I’ve had, and I feel like I’m 1000x more prepared for the next one!

I’m so grateful to everyone who contributed their time, money, effort and support to this project. I must also acknowledge their patience too, because it took me from October 28, 2014 (Kickstarter launch date) to March 11, 2016 (posted to YouTube date) to complete this video.  I promise the next one won’t take as long!  Until then, take this one out for another spin…

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