Interview With Phil Harder (director of the 'Mad Season' video shoot)

MVW: Where was the ‘Mad Season video shot?

PH: The location was at the LAX Imperial Terminal. It was one of these terminals off to the side used for freight.You never actually see the Imperial Terminal in the video. We electronically added an artificial terminal, putting screaming fans on top of a scaffolding structure and then adding a terminal around them using ‘Flame’(visual effect).

MVW: What was it like working with Matchbox Twenty?

PH: They were very cool. I just submitted the idea cold, not knowing if they would like it or not. Luckily they seemed to be into it. I find that when a band really likes your idea and likes your reel, there is mutual respect from that point on.

MVW: Did you give the band any acting suggestions?

PH: On the set they were portraying "rock stars." Off the set they were just regular guys. They were trying to take on characters. I sent the band a bunch of old documentaries from the 60’s, like the Beatles and Rolling Stones. I think Rob really liked the shots of Mick Jagger walking through crowds looking very cool, people were just hounding him and the police were pushing and shoving. We used that as a influence of the video. Paul was acting more the part of Keith Richards. I just said imagine a long flight from England and you’re a heroine addict, drunk and you have to face the crowd.

MVW: Did you have any problems shooting inside of the limousine?

PH: While shooting the limo interiors, Brian thought we were going to kick him out of the shoot because we needed his seat so the camera would fit. DP Matty Libatique wanted us to get a limousine that was chopped in half, but we already spent our budget on renting the airplane. We had to go with a real limo, but Brian had his turn, we shot him from the other direction.

MVW: How did you accomplish the low shot of Rob looking down at the camera in the limousine?

PH: Matty used a parascopic lens that was sitting right in the shag carpet that was our only way of getting a wide shot. You think they are spacious, but they’re not. A lot of the limo scenes were shot after dark. Matty was trying to light it with artificial daylight the best he could, we just ran out of time.

MVW: What are your thoughts about the scene where the crowd breaks into the limousine and steals the Rock Star signs from the band?

PH: It would be a humorous comment on rock stars if it were a small independent band. It gives it a interesting twist since they really are rock stars portraying rock stars with 'rock star' signs. They are labeled rock stars in the most generic way. People buy it and want it. I just thought it was a bizzar element.

MVW: How did you decide to use dancing to portray the violence between the fans and the police?

PH: That was not my choice, but it was a blessing in disguise. The violence was one of the big concerns when we started talking about the idea. I actually had the police beating the shit out of the fans and fans being crushed under the weight of each other. As we got further into it, we started getting a lot of concerned e-mails from labels all over the world that work with Matchbox Twenty. They’d say that there is no way that this will be aired, so why put all this money and effort into a video if it can’t be played. I had just seen 'West Side Story' and threw the choreographed violence idea out there. I think it is more subtle and interesting anyway.

MVW: It would have been great to see both versions if you had the budget.

PH: The budget is one thing, but no matter how much money you have to shoot a video you can’t buy the time you need, especially when you are dealing with a day light situation. I find that the more money you get for videos, the larger the idea, and the less time you have to pull it off. We were just cramming in as much footage as we could in the two days we had. When I give Matty these treatments with the shot lists, he just kind of says oh boy here we go again. He knows that we can do it, but it is so much more than you would want to do comfortably in a day.