Searchlight: Messrs.

We are so excited about Messrs. And it`s not the slightly premature Christmas sugar rush talking. The multitalented collective of writers, directors and artists can seemingly turn their hand to anything… and all with an extra helping of cool. We heartily recommend you check out their web or Vimeo page, but this week we`ve chosen to focus on their dancetastic video Drum In Your Chest for BIGKids.

Who are Messrs?
Messrs. Are A Group Of Friends, Enemies & Lovers.

How did you all meet and what is it about your different personalities and creative styles that makes you work together so well?
Some of us met at Central Saint Martins, others at the infamous 117 & a few at the honorable Crown and Goose. We like to think there is a level of respect, which everyone adheres to, this enables us to collaborate creatively and constructively. However, like every relationship there is the occasional shitstorm.

I’ve been watching BIGKids Drum In Your Chest – what triggered the idea for it and what were you trying to capture with it?
The track itself was the trigger for the video. With “DIYC” there is a relentlessness to the hooks and the lyrics that we really felt would work amazingly with a dance video. Lyrics like “we wont stop” and “this is my medication” enabled us to take the idea of a conventional dance video and flip it so it was more about the characters HAVING to dance. There’s also a darkness in the track, which we wanted to capture, a kind of ‘cult like’ quality. We loved the idea of making it feel like it could have actually happened so we thought a ‘flash mob’ vibe would be the best way to go. The decision to use mini DV and VHS cameras help support this shaky, erratic aesthetic. Motto of the shoot… “what would your mum use if she was trying to film it?”

… and where did you get such uninhibited dancers from?? It looks like it must have been a fun shoot – what was the shoot like and what were the biggest challenges?
Friends, family, strangers and the local corner-shop keeper. We had one rehearsal the night before (led by the awesomely talented Bonnie Oddie) She worked with everyone and got them finding a movement they felt comfortable with which also represented their personality but most importantly would be ok doing over and over again for 5 hours. The shoot was really fun (probably not for them). We wanted the video to be as natural as possible so having people being arrive one by one worked well. We thought this would be the best way to get the most organic performances out of the ‘dancers’.

Challenges..!!?? haha they probably came in the form of a massive reflecting ‘sail’ that we spent almost the whole of the shoot erecting…only for it to catch a very strong wind and almost fall down and nearly kill the whole cast and crew…health and safety all you can eat buffet. But it was kind of worth it for the comedy value of seeing our entire team dangling off a 40 ft white sail in a car park in south London. Dealing with the ever fading light was something we had to be aware of…pizza break at dusk was probably not the best of ideas… meaning our transition from day to night…er…could have been smoother. Dealing with 35 non-dancers who’d met the night before, trying to pull off a full dance routine in unison, in the dark, was a bit of a challenge but we all had a great time. (Except for the person that ordered the ‘sail’).

You guys won last year’s Smoke and Mirrors competition with Perfecting Fee – making such a polished film in 48 hours – how did you do it and what was the experience like?
The beauty of having so little time meant that decision-making was gut instinct. We’re all used to working on no sleep, but this was testing!

The film itself is so clever – so initially sweet and charming before the knife-in-the-guts style twist – how did you develop that idea and was it hard working on something so dark and emotive in such a short space of time?
To be honest it’s difficult to remember much about any kind of process, The 48hrs went in a blur of blind panic and then total euphoria when something actually worked. The idea itself came collaboratively, from several constraints that we placed upon ourselves. In terms of dealing with dark and emotive subject matter: the lack of time simply meant we weren’t afforded a moment to dwell on what we were actually doing.

What are your hopes for the future of Messrs.?
Cantona To Wear An Infamous Messrs T-Shirt.

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