Fiddle Guitar Vocal duo the Summer Januaries– Sean Michael Robinson and Rachel Erin Robinson

Disappear With the Season

Goodbye, Florida.

On the morning of March 10th we woke before dawn, packed up our instruments, wardrobe changes, and all of the necessary props, gear and snacks, met up with our film cast and crew, and rushed to the nearest abandoned field, just in time to catch the sun rising behind us for the first shot of our new music video. Just a few days before we had met with director Cody David Price to discuss our ideas for the shoot and to make a preliminary schedule. At just twenty years old Cody is at the beginning of his film career, but is already a veteran theater director and technician, having directed Anne Frank Superstar at the Orlando Fringe Festival two years before, to much acclaim. Cody brought with him his colleagues Grant Spruce and Chris Marchi, who would both be filming.

Also joining us at that early hour was Kiersten Valence, a phenomenal belly dancer who we had met a few months before, when we worked on a production of Anthony and Cleopatra together, and my father, Steve Olof Larson, who had decided to extend his visit to Orlando so he could hang out and cart us around on the day of the shoot.

 

Location # 1

Abandoned Field at Sunrise

The Summer Januaries filming a music video for their song "Two Little Clementines". With Cody David Price, Grant Spruce, Chris Marchi, and Kiersten Valence

The sun had yet to rise when we arrived at our first location, a large empty field conveniently located directly behind the housing development where we’d been staying. A magical morning fog covered the ground. And it was freezing! (check out our breath, visible in the sunrise closeups). We set up the case, hid the portable boombox we had cued up to the track to play along with, and started filming just as the sun began to rise. We had a little bit of trouble with the boombox – the track was skipping, possibly due to the moisture on the ground, and possibly due to the fact that it was a twenty dollar battery operated piece of junk– so we’d have to skip ahead with the playback every now and then to stay in sync. Technical issues aside, we were off to a good start. Everyone was happy with the way the first few shots turned out, and Sean had the last minute idea to get some footage of Kiersten, who had just learned how to hula hoop minutes before, hooping as the sun rose behind her.

Location # 2

Abandoned Boat in Abandoned Field Shortly After Sunrise

The Summer Januaries filming a music video for their song "Two Little Clementines". With Cody David Price, Grant Spruce, Chris Marchi, and Kiersten Valence

Sean and I had come upon this boat on an afternoon walk a few weeks before, and had decided immediately that it had to be in the video. Such a strange and striking image, this old decrepit boat all alone in the midst of this great expanse of land that used to be sea. We’ve heard the boat mysteriously appeared in the field one day—the field has been empty for years, but the owners have apparently been promising the land would be used to build some kind of school. The police have identified the alleged boat dumper and are attempting to use Google Earth to prove that the boat was moved from this man’s yard directly to the empty field, rather than to his slip in North Carolina, as he claims.

Either way, we were delighted to make use of the boat, and would like to thank the alleged boat dumper, wherever he may be. In addition to footage of us actually playing in front of the boat, we got some great shots (which didn’t get used in the final cut) of Kiersten doing various silly things, like lurking behind large tufts of grass and emerging from the cabin of the boat to peer out at us. She was able to avoid spiders while inside, but she did sustain some red ant bites. Little did she know, this was only the beginning of her pain in the service of video immortality….

 

Location #3

The Pool

Next up was the community pool of the neighborhood where we’d been staying. Kiersten had just recovered from her ant bites and was ready to don a swimsuit and jump in the frigid water for the next shot. I put my waterproof cover on my violin case and found a ledge of the pool to place it on while we busked to Kiersten as she swam by. Oh yeah, and my dad chased us away with a broom he had found in a garbage pile earlier that morning.

The Summer Januaries filming a music video for their song "Two Little Clementines". With Cody David Price, Grant Spruce, Chris Marchi, and Kiersten Valence

Location # 4

The Swings

We met up with Amber Tyrie, another great dancer and friend of Kiersten’s, who would be joining us for the rest of the day, and headed over to a small park in a nearby neighborhood. We shot Kiesten and Amber swinging, and Sean and Grant filmed the stop motion with the clementines and the dinosaur here. The original idea was for us to be busking at the park, playing below Kiersten and Amber on the swings, but we ended up only using footage of them. During this portion of the shoot we had noticed beautiful and experimental wooden flute sounds emanating from a nearby garage. As we packed up the cars, Sean ventured over to investigate, and met the flute player, a man who makes his own special flutes that can hold a drone note while the player can finger a melody line simultaneously.

 

Location # 5

The Middle of the Road

The Summer Januaries busk the middle of the road, Casselberry, FL

The idea was to get a shot of us busking on the median in the middle of a busy four lane road while Kiersten and Amber casually hitch-hiked nearby. We tried to shoot this one as quickly as possible, in attempt to decrease the chance of Kiersten and Amber actually being picked up, of our presence on the median causing some sort of traffic disturbance, or some other unpredictable disaster. Everything went smoothly and the shot looked cool, but didn’t end up getting used as it didn’t seem to fit in with everything else.

 

Location # 6

The Middle of the River

The Summer Januaries filming a music video for their song "Two Little Clementines". With Cody David Price, Grant Spruce, Chris Marchi, Amber Tyrie and Kiersten Valence

After feasting on Papa John’s pizza in the parking lot, we started the trek into Spring Hammock Nature Preserve. Sean and I noticed that much of the signage and many of the wooden walkways that served to convey nature goers over the otherwise impassable swamp had been removed since the last time we had visited to scout out the location, but we managed to make it safely to our first destination without a problem. My waterproof cover went back on the violin case, and I carefully found a collection of logs to wedge it into for the river scene. Chris and Grant both continued to do an amazing job at this location, Chris working with Cody to compose the stunning master shot, and Grant suggesting and then shooting a great pick-up shot of us walking away from him down stream.

 

Location # 6

The Cypress Knee Forest

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The trek further into the nature preserve became increasingly difficult to traverse, as all of the wooden walkways that once bridged across the marshy areas had recently been torn down and lay in little piles throughout the park. There was clearly a major overhaul happening here, and we had arrived just after everything had been demolished, but before any new building had begun.

Coming upon an especially muddy pass, Grant strode swiftly across, followed by Kiersten, who took one step and was suddenly up to her armpits in a sort of quick-sand mud goo. Before we realized what had happened, she grabbed a nearby board and pulled herself to safety. I carefully tested another place nearby and ended up to my waist in mud with one step. We all marveled at how Grant managed to walk calmly across this river of woman eating mud, camera in hand, and remain completely safe and dry.

We finally made it to the cypress knee forest, aided by a long section of wooden walkway that still remained, and upon reaching our destination, climbed off of the path through a multitude of cypress knees to take a nap against a giant tree. When we finished with this shot, we realized that we were running way ahead of schedule, so we decided to take a break for dinner and showers, which was especially appreciated by those of us who had gone for an unplanned swim.

We congregated again in an abandoned parking lot, joined by our friend and roommate Elaine, who would join us along with Kiersten and Amber in the last shot. We all practiced our hula hooping for the final shot, before caravanning to a nearby field just in time to catch the sun set. I was shocked and delighted that I was able to pick up hula hooping again in a snap, after a twenty plus year hiatus. While I thought that Sean and I both looked totally rad hula hooping, the shots of us all hooping together didn’t end up getting used. Maybe we didn’t look quite as cool as I thought. The last shot of the day captured the sun setting behind us while we played to our hula hooping friends, and the shoot was done.

Chris Marchi edits the Summer Januaries video "Two Little Clementines"

And a few days and some marathon editing by Chris and Cody, and the video was done as well!

It was thrilling to put something so satisfying together so quickly. This was the ethos behind the recordings for our EP as well, that we had finished just before the shoot, and it was also behind our second video, filmed just a week later…

…but you’ll have to wait a bit to see that one.

Stay in touch for our new EP, coming very (very) soon!

All photos in this post by Grant Spruce.

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