• Brandon L. Pennick

The Genesis of Sedalia

Updated: Jan 3

Growing up in the 90s, I was a big fan of bands like Alice in Chains, Bush, and Marcy Playground—to name a few. I had a 20-inch dial television in my bedroom that sat on a blue milk crate that remained on channel 34—MTV: So back in 2017 when I linked up with a rock & roll artist who wanted to commission me to shoot a music video, I seized the opportunity.

Before I began writing the treatment, I sat down with the artist and described my style. I told him that while the video will have a commercial look aesthetically, it won't look like the music videos you're used to—I am a big proponent of originality and working toward creating something fresh. Some will get it, some won't—it's impossible to create something that's universally liked.

Excited, the artist agreed. A week later, I presented a full-fledged treatment that was ready to be shot; a contemporary, Bram Stoker-esque piece that took place in a 19th-century mansion with multiple rooms, various interiors, and exteriors that would look like we shot the thing all over Europe though we were in the U.S.

That weekend, I took a trip to the location with the treatment in hand and my pitch. I could have called, but I'm old school. I met with one of the overseers of the mansion and broke down the project bit by bit as she gave me a tour of the location. "No one has ever shot a music video here before," she said. I then asked her about their photography rates—maybe we could shoot the video under their photography package. I told her I needed one day and 8 hours to complete the video.

She gave us the deal and our location was set. Casting didn't take long. I posted the casting call and by the middle of the week, we had our leading lady. Next, I set up a dress rehearsal at a popular costume company in town for the musician and actress to meet, and lockdown our wardrobe for the shoot.

I sat on a large sofa positioned right outside the dressing rooms with our very talented costume designer, and thumbed through my iPad showing him images of pieces I had curated for our actress. He then took those ideas and began pulling items from around the shop.

The items he pulled and put on our actress were so breathtaking, customers stopped what they were doing to come over and watch as we worked. Some wanted our designer to put together a costume for them in a similar fashion and others wanted our contact information because they wanted to see the project once completed.

But something was off. The artist didn't seem too thrilled about any of it. He mocked our actress's wardrobe and made comments such as "This is supposed to be a rock video man." His face was turning red. I excused myself and told our actress I'd be right back.

The artist and I stepped outside and I asked him what was wrong? He told me that the costumes looked stupid and this is not how a rock video is supposed to look. He also told me that he is used to being in charge. I said ok, what would you like to do? How should the costumes look? Where should we go from here? He told me he didn't know.

This isn't the first time this happened. I had been involved in projects where my vision was questioned and the trust wasn't there. I asked the artist if he still wanted to shoot the project, to which he responded, "I don't know."

I walked back into the costume shop, stopped all operations, and apologized to our actress and costume designer. Our production assistant walked our actress to her car and told her I would be in touch.

That night I contemplated what happened at the costume shop. I thought about previous projects in which the trust in my vision wasn't there. That same night in 2017, is the night I decided to step out on my own and execute my vision through my own projects—if people get it, great if they don't great.

The next day, I called the artist and told him I'm pulling out of the project. After which I received a slew of text messages from him saying that he wanted to move forward with the video and that it's going to be a badass project—my mind was made up.

I then called our actress, which I hated to do, and told her the project was a no go and that I will cut her a check for her time. You might be wondering, what does this have to do with the evolution of Sedalia? Well... after reading some material written by Montague Summers and combining that research with the treatment I had written for the music video, Sedalia was born.

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