MK MUSIC VIDEO PROJECT 2010
Below is iKind Media’s submission for the 2010 MK Music Video Project :
The story for the music video is the same story T.H.O.T.S. have used as the concept for their new album “Return of the Book Thief” which is based upon the best-selling novel “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak. The novel tells the story of a young girl who manages to steal a book from a Holocaust book burning. T.H.O.T.S. are synonymous with a current uprising of consciousness in our age of digital communication. The music video will tell the same story but will be set in post apocalyptic Durban where books are burned in order to erase human history in order for a new world government to easily manipulate our past digitally with the click of a button. The members of the band play various activists who assist our heroine (Lyla Che Knudsen Fataar) in an attempt to transport a precious stolen book to the hands of an underground movement who will protect it. The contents of the book are not revealed to us but we are lead to believe that its value is immense. In this future, possessing a book is considered a crime punishable by death, and our groups of brave activists are thrown into a violent struggle against the might of the anti-individualistic government represented in the video by brutal futuristic riot police.
The music video will start with a short intro which is taken from the introduction of the album. It sets the scene for the story which takes place while the main track plays. The intro features ambience of trains and city sounds with a voice over by vocalist Raheem, who establishes the setting of the story and the motives for him being the book thief. Raheem waits at a train station while Lyla is at a book burning in a dingy industrial area. Lyla picks up a book that just escaped the roaring flames of the fire. She puts it in her backpack and leaves. She travels across the city, first through the industrial areas of train tracks, power lines and abandoned buildings. She then travels through the worn down futuristic landscape of Durban. Menacing riot guards watch as she walks through an ignorant public going about their day. We see torn down buildings and any structure left standing is heavily branded with the propaganda of the new world order. While we see this, Raheems’ voiceover describes the horrible reality of living in this world. Finally Lyla reaches the train station and makes contact with Raheem. She hands the book over to him and thus ends the introduction sequence. A title comes onto screen reading “Return of the book thief”.
We are introduced to P-Kuttah (T.H.O.T.S. DJ) who plays a security guard. He’s in a small room full of surveillance screens with another security guard. They see Lyla handing Raheem the book on one of the screens. The other security guard hits a panic button which sets of an alarm and starts the track playing. The first part of the track resembles the sound of an alarm and the video will kick in with shots of riot police responding to the alert, gearing up, and mobilizing into attack positions. We will also see images of multiple vigilante extras gearing up in their own way by putting on war paint, grabbing weapons or sending messages to other members of the resistance via smoke flares and other methods of underground communications. Lyla is seen on one of the screens trying to flee the scene but is captured by the riot guards. Back in the surveillance room, the other security guard runs out hastily, leaving P-Kutta alone. P-Kutta contacts another vigilante and informs him of the whereabouts of the book, establishing him as a member of the underground movement incognito.
When we reach the first verse and the vocals kick in, we focus on Raheem who is being chased through the streets by the riot squad. As this is happening other riot guards are facing a mob of protestors who have gathered after seeing the smoke flares. Raheem is assisted by Dylan (T.H.O.T.S. guitarist) who is in disguise as a vagrant on the street. Dylan creates a diversion allowing Raheem to escape the clutches of the guards.
When the first chorus begins, the riot squad and the angry mob of protestors finally meet in a medieval – like battle sequence. Raheem runs into the battle and for a moment it seems that he has nowhere to go. One of the riot guards lifts his visor to reveal the face of Ross (T.H.O.T.S. Drummer). Raheem recognizes him and hands him the book establishing Ross as another member of the vigilantes in disguise. Ross escapes the riot scene leaving Raheem and the others to battle the riot guards.
We go into the second verse as Ross runs through the streets alone. He begins to strip off his riot guard uniform, revealing that he is dressed as an anti-establishment rocker. He runs into a building and ends up in an underground Jazz lounge where he meets Mo (T.H.O.T.S. bassist). Mo plays the smooth, pimping owner of the jazz lounge. Mo leads Ross through the jazz lounge into a secret room where other vigilantes are working making fake money and identification documents etc. Ross sits at a table and meets Kenneth (T.H.O.T.S. Keyboardist) uses a special machine to remove a tattoo of a barcode on his wrist, which is given to everyone who is part of the government system. Mo takes the book and leaves Ross in the room. Mo is chased through the streets to another dingy location where he enters a secluded doorway.
As the second and final chorus starts we enter the interior of the building revealing it to be an underground club. The whole band is then seen on stage performing the last chorus to a frenetic crowd of vigilante supporters. As the song reaches its climatic ending, riot guards bust into the club and shut down the party. People flee the scene but the band continues to play as they are taken down by the riot squad with extreme violence. As the song ends, they are arrested and thrown into the back of a van with black bags over their heads. As this happens another character watches from across the street; a close-up reveals that she has the book stashed in her backpack. A title comes up reading “To Be continued…”
The video will be mostly shot in the late afternoon or early morning. The desired effect is dark, grayish images tinted with the dazzling golden colour of the sun. The locations used will mostly be industrial and gritty with small touches of natural elements such as flowers and water to symbolize the beauty that has been lost in this post apocalyptic future. Other locations may appear sleek and textured to give the appearance of future technologies. A lot of the video will be shot on quiet streets in the Durban city where many of the buildings and scenery have the desired decrepit look.
Most of the video will be shot on a Canon 7D SLR, which will enable a smaller depth of field for artistic and creative footage. It will also allow shooting on a higher frame rate for slow motion effects. It will simultaneously be filmed using an HD video camera, which can be used for the surveillance camera footage and for shaky, handheld shots. This will add an energetic dynamic to the video and will contrast well with the stabile, stylized footage of the 7D.
The editing style will be fast, resembling an action sequence of a movie. After effects will be used in post-production to add apocalyptic elements such as burning fires in the distance and degraded buildings. Also added will be banners and posters of the new world government. Skies can also be replaced with dramatic cloud textures.
As far as costumes go, the vigilante characters will wear dirty, older-looking clothes bearing strong anti-establishment slogans and possibly images of famous revolutionary characters such as Che Guevara or Steve Biko. Many will also wear hoodies to show there hidden underground stature. The riot guards will be volunteer extras and will not use official police riot gear. Rather they will have their own unique futuristic uniform created using dark coloured trench coats and black bike helmets. They will carry batons and Perspex riot shields. Other characters representing the authority figures of the government will wear sharp, stylish suits.
One of the most important aspects of the video is to make it clear that it is set in Durban, South Africa. Locations such as the Durban City Hall, the Moses Mabhida Soccer Stadium and the new Moses Mabhida train station will be filmed and degraded in post-production to achieve and old, run-down look.
The final video will be energetic, dynamic and dramatic. With a positive message to the youth of today that you must be aware of your history and stand up for your rights.
The Return Of The Book Thief
Director of Photography
Lyla che Knudsen Fataar
Devin Carter and Shanelle Jewnarain