Watch this clip real quick
"You know what they say: Its better to have Loved then lost than never to have Loved at all"
Before I go into production on the next string of Music Videos, I like to reflect on the most recent one I directed. If I had to sum up the theme of "Wanna Be Alone" into one sentence it would be:
"Its much worse to have Loved then lost than never to have Loved at all"
Much like a feature film, I tried to naturally incorporate symbolism into this video., even though that might be unconventional. since there's no dialogue and its only 3 minutes long there's really only room for visual allusions that are much less complex than what you might see in a Terrance Malick movie or maybe even a Men In Black movie.
Some of this will seem pretty on-the-nose and probably stuck right out to you if you watched the Music Video, but in some ways I tried to run a little deeper. Let me explain.
The opening shot. Seems pretty clear, we establish the main character, just like we would in a movie. He's the keyboard player, the dark and wide looming space around him gives a predictable feeling of loneliness. The shot pulls out, implying a greater sense of deep emptiness, before quickly revealing a young couple slow dancing together near by. This, as I'm sure you guessed, is almost a comical way of reiterating the even greater loneliness this character is experiencing since it seems like everyone else has someone, so they have no time to pay attention to the keyboard player, who has no one.
The band plays; their instruments and bodies are littered with confetti and leftover trash from the dance. This is a way of foreshadowing since this is meant to take place after the events with the keyboard player and his would-be date. The only real indication of this is the confetti being at rest, though.
Girl sees guy from across the way and cracks him a smile, guy sees girl, takes one last drink from his red cup and approaches her for a dance. The cup foreshadows what is about to happen to him, as he throws it away like nothing, just as she will do to him. He's drowned in blue light which is an obvious way of visualizing his loneliness, but then he steps out of that light.
The vocalist sings while confetti cascades around him from above the frame.
A different young couple breaks up, and she uses a cup to splash punch in his face. Further hinting at the keyboard player's fate. The color red is a symbol for the sting of rejection and anger, and just as the keyboard player drank from a red cup, he is bringing that upon himself by trying to dance with this girl.
The two meet in the middle of the gym floor and embrace for a dance, scores of confetti pieces dance in the air around them, illuminated by red, blue and yellow lights blending to make rich purples and oranges. A shot that was meant to embody the deep and wonderful feeling of being with someone you care about and who cares for you.
We see more footage of the band, and other prom goers dancing with their dates. Another close up with the singer, but the confetti has stopped falling, and now just hangs around his head and shoulders.
Two girls seen before break open party poppers and smoke billows out. Which is meant to express pressure mounting up and an inevitable explosion is coming.
The girl leaves the keyboard player on the dance floor alone, and doesn't even grant him an explanation. Her silhouette glowing with red light. This shot is juxtaposed with the other couple introduced before as she throws the red cup in his chest, illustrating the feeling of the keyboard player being thrown away on the floor.
A shot pulls out on the keyboard player, like he was introduced, but without his instrument, and streamers now draped over his shoulders. More confetti rains down on him, but quickly falls flat. The confetti once adorned the shot and made it beautiful, but now its just litter in the frame and on the characters, just as how the girl once gave him a feeling of happiness, her absence now gives him a feeling of dread greater than when he was alone. In the same clip, the prom goers are frozen, which symbolizes how the keyboard player can't move on from this girl, can't even move on with his life, its like time has stopped.
He looks across the room at her where she, and everyone else (Even the janitor) remains suspended in time. She eventually decides to look his way, her face flooded with red light, but he's gone and the prom still seems to be motionless. Maybe because he never really moved on from that night, and neither did she.
The music video concludes with the keyboard player right back where he started, alone in the dark playing the keys, bothered by the nearby couple disregarding his presence and rubbing in his solitude with their public display of sexuality. But now the keyboard player, and the space around him is covered in confetti, what was once decorative and artistic has literally become garbage. This is an allusion to the hurt that lingers on his life since losing that relationship, which we can assume was much more intimate than just one dance.
The music ends, the lights come on, and the janitor sweeps away a portion of trash cluttering the floor. Maybe this is a way of saying things get better, or maybe it further cements that the relationship is over, the night has ended, pretty much everyone is gone, nothing he does now can win her back. The colors and shapes that represented their relationship are literally being thrown away, just as she threw him away. The overhead lights come on for the first time and disrupt the illusions created with the more colorful and dramatic lighting, literally shedding light on the reality of the situation.
If you want to interpret that in the more positive way, you can. I left it somewhat ambiguous intentionally. If I wanted to have a more concrete ending, I would have certainly given it more closure, by either showing her with a new man or showing him getting back together with her, or maybe even with a different woman. There are several positive outcomes that are possible, I didn't want to tell the audience that this is what has to happen for you to have a happy ending, I also didn't want to pretend that everyone gets a happy ending.
This music video is certainly an example of self-expression, as is the song (Though I didn't have anything to do with writing the actual song). This was a relatively shallow dive (More like a cannonball) into an issue, as unpopular as it may be, that I deeply care about. Men who constantly deal with loneliness and rejection for trivial reasons and are forced to suffer in silence, and while this music video doesn't specifically wrestle with the issue, it speaks to the greater issue of suicide, especially amongst single men.
One of the reasons I chose to write on this music video almost a year after its release is because of the recent slew of obituaries that have come across my newsfeed featuring men as young as 17 years old, who took their own life. While solitude and ridicule may not directly translate to suicide, I have to acknowledge that is certainly a contributing factor, if not the most powerful contributor in many cases.
So what can I do about this? What can anyone do about this? Could this music video help people relate and let them know they're not alone, a lot of people are in the same boat? Maybe.. But I don't consider that to be especially effective. However, it is incredible the difference just reaching out can make. Maybe an old friend that you just message out of the blue on social media, just to ask them how they're doing. Maybe even a stranger in a public place that you feel safe speaking to and just asking them about themselves.
For the considerably pragmatic few that say ,"But, why shouldn't I just be a dick all the time? Being nice to people doesn't do anything for me." Well... it might. I hate that it comes to that, some would only be friendly to others if they're an attractive member of the opposite sex or if they think they have something to gain from them, but perhaps there are other unforeseen benefits to treating people like......... people, instead of how we often treat them, like.. garbage.