Freeway - Neesh

Freeway - Neesh

"Neesh takes to the dark streets of Orange County, cruising his whip (shopping cart) with reckless abandon, determined to embrace the unknown future and refusing to give up on his life's journey without a fight."

'the fundamental rule of thumb in filmmaking: character, plot, and setting - When money is the primary issue, it is almost impossible and risky to expand all three elements.'

Freeway - Neesh | Music Video By Shahrooz Mahmoodi | Spring 2022 |  Orange County, CA | Shot by Steven Fadellin

Filmmaking can be an expensive and challenging endeavor, especially when you are on a tight budget.

But as a filmmaker, it is crucial to be able to think creatively and find ways to bring your vision to life within those constraints. This is precisely what happened when Neesh approached me with an idea for a music video in the spring of 2022.

Neesh's idea was to have him sitting on a shopping cart and driving it in the street as if it was his car. While the concept was intriguing, we quickly realized how costly it would be to shoot on location.

So, I decided to brainstorm with my cinematographer friend, Samir, to see if we could execute the idea in a green screen studio. Unfortunately, the cost was still more than what Neesh wanted to spend.

As we were struggling to find a way to bring Neesh's idea to life, I went back to the fundamental rule of thumb in filmmaking:

character, plot, and setting. When money is the primary issue, it is almost impossible and risky to expand all three elements. Therefore, we decided to focus on one and leave the other two simple. We nourished the character by adding a steering wheel, a bunch of thank-you bags, a to-go-food box and an exhaust out of toilet paper roll. 

Filming in Los Angeles can be challenging as it requires permits and monitoring fees. Therefore, we decided to shoot in Orange County instead. We kept the crew as tight as possible and picked a random shopping center, starting late at night, when nobody was around. An Orange County popo came by in the early morning, and we explained that we were shooting a music video. His response: “cool”. A side note- The shoot was filled with laughter as everything we were coming up with was just so out of ordinary and absurd in its way :))

Once we finished shooting and started prepping the rushes on my timeline, I realized how much comic it would add to the visual if I animated some doodles elements in post. The song's lyrics say, "I would go into the heart of it even if I don't have a clue of it, I won't sell my life easily," and I thought the animated doodles would add to the mood of the video. I brought back my drawing skills that had been put under the rock for many years and turned the entire visual into a new realm of filmmaking that I hadn't expanded in the past.

In the end, I feel like we accomplished the characteristic I had always wanted to reach when it comes to making music videos or short films. The video is humorous and funny, yet deep down, it's dark and depressing. In my opinion this kind of approach to filmmaking captures human emotions on a deeper level, allowing the audience to ride their journey of discoveries without being force-fed bold and serious agendas as they get entertained.

Making a music video on a budget can be a daunting task, but by focusing on one element and being creative, we were able to bring Neesh's idea to life. By shooting in Orange County and adding animated elements, we were able to create a video that we are proud of and that captures the essence of what we wanted to achieve. The limitations forced us to think outside the box, and in the end, we were able to find a unique and creative solution.

Thanks for reading!


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