Baroon - Neesh

Baroon - Neesh

"Baroon" is a poetic Iranian hip-hop music video that follows Neesh's melancholic journey through an insomnia-filled night in the rain as he battles homesickness and loneliness. The music video conveys both hope and lingering pain as Neesh pushes through despite the darkness of his path, playing the game of life and pushing forward.

Baroon Music Video| Winter 2020 | Storyboard by Shahrooz Mahmoodi

'Despite consulting with friends and experienced ones, it is important to make the final call.'

It was sometime in the spring of 2014 when Neesh and I first talked about the short film he was working on. During one of our breaks, he played an instrumental and started rapping the lyrics to "Baroon" over it. I was caught off guard, but at the same time, impressed. The way his words strung together felt poetic and genuinely deep. Even though he was juggling other projects, I could tell those scribbles in his notebook weren't just going to sit there and go nowhere. I knew Hossein was pretty fkn eager about it. The idea of uncertainty and intangibility was more literal back then, but underneath the doubt, we both knew one thing: Neesh wanted to rap, and I wanted to direct.

Fast forward five years, and a couple of months prior to our first lockdown, Hossein called me and said he was ready to make a music video for "Baroon," and he wanted me to direct it. As a producer and director, I had to combine the logistics of the shoot with the creative aspects, making it a lot more difficult to manage. Having the skills to switch from one to another can hurt the performance, but we pushed through.

Baroon Music Video | Winter 2020 |  Seattle, WA | Photo by Masih Hedayati

We both knew that we wanted to incorporate rain into the video, given that "Baroon" means rain, and Hossein metaphorically describes the feeling of homesickness by mentioning that the slow rain brings some sort of calm to all of these high emotions.

'However, any production that involves natural elements could potentially mean not much control is involved.'

Initially, I wanted to shoot in a studio with a controlled environment and rain effect, but a filmmaker friend talked me out of it and told me it would be cheaper to go to a city where rain is likely. We picked Seattle, considering that we could keep the cost low by crashing at my cousin's house since it would be a skeleton crew.

Baroon Music Video | Winter 2020 |  Seattle, WA | Photo by Shahrooz Mahmoodi

Turns out that while we were there in the peak rain season in February, it didn't rain as much as we'd hoped. We ended up faking some of it on location with water spray and the rest in post. But, despite the challenges we faced, I was happy to shoot in Seattle because the texture of the city and landscape did not look like another music video in the LA area where everything at some point becomes the same. That trip turned out to be one of the greatest trips I've ever taken. I got to know Neesh more and learn more about his personality and his talent. It was also a week or two before everything went down to the lockdown, and knowing that we had accomplished a great experience traveling with the homies was pretty satisfying.

Baroon Music Video | Winter 2020 |  Seattle, WA | Photo by Shahrooz Mahmoodi

The main thing I learned from this project was to trust my own instinct. Despite consulting with friends and experienced ones, it is important to make the final call.

Because the outcome of the mistakes and the challenges we faced during the shoot was based on what my friend had advised me, not my own decision.

Making the final call means you also own the outcome and can learn from your own decisions.

Baroon Music Video | Winter 2020 |  Seattle, WA | Storyboard by Shahrooz Mahmoodi

Producing and directing the "Baroon" music video wasn't easy, but I am proud of what we accomplished. It's not every day that you get to work with a talented artist and create something meaningful. Focusing on what you enjoy doing will diminish the concept of time and relieve you of the amount of energy you exhausted into the project. I truly hope what we created works as fuel to motivate and push things forward because there should always be room for improvement no matter how far we go.

Hope you enjoy the read!


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