Bobby Bruderle’s Dive into the World of “The Beautiful and Damned”
Bobby Bruderle's working relationship with G-Eazy extends back to the latter's first studio album, but in that time neither of them had taken on a project as big or as risky as "The Beautiful & Damned" short film, essentially a visual version of G's latest album. The video mirrors the demons G-Eazy raps about in "The Beautiful & Damned," but functions as an accompanying film rather than a string of music videos. Bobby talks about the pressure of capturing everything just as he and G foresaw it and the rewards of completing a project of this size, which warranted four recently-released behind-the-scenes videos that documented the arduous creative process of this artistic venture.
What was involved in planning and preproduction?
The project started super open-ended—the only intent was to conceptualize the album artwork. I was at G's house for days and days, listening to tracks, talking with him about what he was trying to say with the project. The expectation was that we would go and shoot in a studio with a crew, but spontaneously we decided to drive out into the desert with his Mustang and my camera. Like when we first started working together, we just drove around trying to find cool spots to shoot—no help, just grabbing what we can. We had an awesome time and ended up getting some incredible stuff. While I was going through the images I was listening to the tracks, trying to get a feel for things. Pieces were starting to come together in terms of me understanding what G was trying to do thematically. Five songs in particular started to feel like they had a narrative arc. And then I had one of those rare Eureka moments. I drew out a treatment for the short film and pitched a taped together version of it a day later. Despite the idea being super ambitious, When I showed the idea to G he was all in—as was his manager Matt Bauerschmidt.
Once they were on board, I had to find a production company willing to take on a project like this. Luckily for me, Derby signed on without hesitation. It would have been a challenging production without the time constraints, with them it was an intimidating project. But they did not shy away from it. Derby's incredible Head of Production Eli Ashmen spearheaded the pre-pro. While that was happening, my time was spent refining the screenplay and getting the department heads on the same page. As always, it's a big job to get people to see what you're seeing in your head. I used sketchup quite a bit for the stuff I couldn't quite explain with words. I was also working on the album art simultaneously and was using those images for references. All of the while I was doing location scouting, casting, working on script edits, sleeping when I could. It was a crazy few months!!
How was your relationship with G-Eazy when it came to brainstorming ideas for the film? You mentioned in a behind the scenes segment that you sometimes butt heads, but it’s all in the interest of perfection. Could you elaborate on that?
He and I have very similar taste when it comes to visuals and themes, so for the most part, the brainstorming is spontaneous and effortless. Usually one of us has an idea and the other helps refine or vice versa. 'Head butting' makes it sound like we have major disagreements, but in reality, we are both just perfectionists willing to battle over the tiniest details. It's part of the reason I enjoy working with G so much—he really cares about this stuff and has a huge respect for visual art of all kinds. He knows details make the difference.
What were the shoots like?
The shoots were incredible. High stress and tight scheduling of course, but really amazing. Straddling the narrative and music video worlds made for some super interesting and surreal days. Our crew was made up of people from all areas of the film world. Some had never been around a music video shoot, while others had never seen such a large production. It was incredible to witness all these talented people, with different technical backgrounds, come together each day as a team.
Was there a specific moment or moments that was really memorable for you?
I think G may have mentioned it in the episode, but one of our last and most dangerous shots involved a driving stunt. The car you see in the film is G's actual car, and between he and I using it, and the production using it as a picture car, it had seen quite a bit of abuse. Directly following the last take we used it for, I believe the one you see in the film, the car died completely. It had to be towed off set. If it had happened minutes earlier we may not have had an ending to the film.
You were in the behind the scenes episodes—did you enjoy that experience or would you prefer staying behind the camera?
It was definitely surreal! I'm most at home behind a camera so stepping in front of one is always weird, but every time I do I end up learning something. That said, I very much want to stay on the 'right' end of a camera!
You discuss the risk of making a short film versus a string of music videos that could be tied together and reference some “insane things” going wrong. Can you elaborate on some of the challenges that came with this undertaking?
Music videos generally allow for some margin of error. Performance shots and b-roll can almost always be used as fallbacks for any narrative elements that don't work. But a conventional narrative does not allow for missing pieces. In many of the scenes, we had to execute a music video element, while simultaneously getting everything we needed for the narrative. It was essential that we were able to switch gears from the ‘cool and confident’ music video feel, to allowing for vulnerability, flaws, and emotion. Lucky for me, G and all the cast were total pros.
What was the most rewarding part of making the visual album for the Beautiful & Damned?
Being in the back of a movie theatre while the film you worked so hard on plays in front of a big audience is truly, truly terrifying. Like, might need to run to the bathroom level scary. But getting a standing ovation from that same audience was one of the most incredible things I've ever experienced. It's humbling, validating, makes you want to cry. Surely something I’ll never forget.
Behind the Scenes Images: Thomas Wilson
Cinematographer: Dillon Schneider
Lead Stylist: Michael Comrie
Post Production Audio: Sound Lounge
Video Production: Derby
See more of Bobby at bobbybruderle.com!
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