My Year In Music Videos

October 30, 2011

It’s been a long year of waiting for my new film “Cheer For Your Life: From The Diary Of Lori” to begin production I’ve been antsy.  I don’t like to do anything but be busy.  I didn’t get into filmmaking to talk about filmmaking – I want to be shooting, editing, directing, writing– CREATING — all the time.  That being said I got back into shooting music videos this past year.

Previous to this year I had directed a small handful of music videos – it was never my goal to be a music video director.  I just had friends in bands that asked me to make videos for them.  It was fun, it was different.  I’ve always liked experimenting in new forms of media.  Then, last October, really driven by The Afters latest single “Light Up The Sky” and the recent rise of the DSLR camera, I was inspired to come up with a music video for it.

The spark of creation with the concept  happened while taking a leak one night in Detroit having dinner with guys in the band and that sealed the deal.  We’d shoot the video in Windsor.

I couldn’t have expected it to turn into all the video that were shot within a year.  19!  19 music videos!  I thought I could blog and share this year in music video creation and a small blurb about each.

#1 – The Afters – Light Up The Sky

Making of “Light Up The Sky”

This video shocked me with the response we’ve had to it.  Emails still come weekly from people that feel moved by it or inspired.  Letters of people experiencing sorrow and loss explaining to me how much the story in the video has lifted their spirits and brought tears AND a smile to their face.  I feel blessed to have been able to use my talents to have such an impact on viewers.

The video has gone on to receive almost 1.4 million views on youtube, more on other online sites, and be broadcast on Gospel Music Channel as well as other television outlets.

Not bad for a music video made by Windsorites starring a cast of Windsor area actors.

#2 – Chasing Amee – Over&Over

Making of “Over&Over”

Chasing Amee’s Ryan Faist kept calling and calling until we could make this work.  They didn’t have much money and wanted something that could be done on the cheap.  We discussed the idea of backwards and a one-take video.  I’m a fan of the one take and had successfully done it with a previous Afters video (Never Going Back To OK) and felt inspired by Ryan’s passion for the band and his aggressive insistence that I direct for them.

We spent 6-7 hours rehearsing the video on the day of the shoot and managed to nail it in one take expect for the polaroid camera not working correctly.  Thankfully, knowing Sean Tighe makes digital corrections easy.

This low budget video ended up being my most played video on Much Music to date gaining regular rotation.  It’s had over 60,000 views online too.  Much to be said about listening to your gut, not always working just for money, and working with other artists that inspire you and have a passion for their art.

#3 – Inoke Errati – Jennifer

Making of “Jennifer”

I’ve had this idea forever.  It was pitched to Inoke Errati years before… it was almost a Mic Lordz “Start The Show” video at one point too.  All good ideas take time to develop and get right.  The idea of doing an audition prank and using the auditions AS the music video.  I think the making of this video is just as entertaining as the video itself.

It was picked up by the comedy based Youtube Channel Bag Of Misfits where it had a good run.  I still get people often telling me how funny they found this one.

#4 – Cerah Steele – Melting

This video was shot in less than 45 minutes.  Partly because it was freezing cold and only Cerah and I out there and partly (more so) because he had be denied permission to shoot there without a proper permit and decided to barge ahead anyway and make the video.

The song is a cover of a Riley Armstrong tune and it was recording by Cerah for the soundtrack to my film “Still Here”.  This was her first music video and I think she’s charming as fuck on camera as well as having a gifted voice.

#5 – To Tell – Safe To Say

Making of  “Safe To Say”

Zach Havens / To Tell I met through Ryan Richardson.  Ryan is a conduit to so much of my music business success.  He is the one that helped me sneak into meeting with Josh from the Afters way back when that triggered that working relationship and friendship.

Zach and his wife, Brittney (the girl IN the video), came to Windsor to shoot this one.  I’m a big fan of trying to lose traditional performance in a music video and have a story or something else that can encourage folks to remember the video and possibly share it if they’ve enjoyed it.  The minute I heard this song I had the idea and Zach was quick to agree on the concept.

The video made #1 on the Canadian Christian music video chart.

#6 – The Blue Stones – I’m A Stereo

Making of “I’m A Stereo”

This is the fastest video for me that went from concept to finished product.  I bought an iPhone 4 and was playing with FaceTime video chat and thought – there has to be a music video to make with this new technology.  A few hours later (it was a Sunday) I called Tarek in the band and mentioned my idea.  We found a location and settled on shooting the first day we were all available which was that Wednesday.  I edited the video overnight and the video was online by Thursday that same week.

It went on to be featured on Apple and Tech blogs all over the world and apparently was the video video to ever be filmed using FaceTime.  Go us for being pioneers.

#7 – Scotty James – Wanna Be Loved

Making of “Wanna Be Loved”

Scotty is another artist that tracked me down after seeing previous work.  It’s nice to be in demand!  I pitched the idea of a love-struck singer/songwriter going all out to win the girl and Scotty was in.  Casting Ellen Coleman (of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit fame) was a no-brainer and we were off to the races.  This video casts just about every Windsor actor I love and adore and a a cameo by Justin of The Blue Stones.

The video has been played on MTV in the USA, featured on various web video outlets and picked up in something ridiculous like 22 different countries… and it’s STILL growing.  For such a small budget, indie video, there’s something about this concept and Scotty’s catchy tune that just works for people.  For me it was the perfect blend of films I love such as Say Anything and Airheads.

#8 – The Afters – Lift Me Up

How do you follow-up Light Up The Sky?  Well you find other story lines that connect with an audience and see if you can make magic again.  More tears, more smiles.  The video has gone on to receive over 350,00 views, television airtime and all the rest.  It’s really hard to fail with The Afters music as your backing track to a video.  Their music is inspiring, rocking, and moving – always.

#9 – Mike Cerveni -Right Now

Making of “Right Now”

Rhys Trenhaile is the star here as our broken-down superhero.  This was such a fun shoot – no permits or anything once again – just our cast and crew showing up Downtown Windsor and filming all day without a spot of trouble from authorities or business owners.  I love filming in Windsor.

Mike’s song is very heartfelt and has great meaning lyrically so we wanted a story of redemption and hope.  Rhys captures that perfectly as a lost soul trying to gain back his power and place in the world.  Shooting almost entirely in slow-motion something I hadn’t done since Light Up The Sky.  I’m such a fan of slow-motion but it often isn’t called for.

#10 – LYE – O Mamma

Making of “O Mamma”

The Sixth Sense of music videos.  I pitched this to LYE off the top of my head when I heard the song and he freaked for it.  It took us a few months to get it together having such a large cast, extras, and multiple locations and specialty props such as the casket but well worth the wait.

This might be my MOST story driven music video that took the most out of me to edit and get the timing down just right so that the story connected with the lyrics and pacing of the track.  It was fun to have a surprise ending.  Get a good reaction from people that have enjoyed that.

#11 – Gavin Slate – Falling

Making of “Falling”

Oh the old break-up and winning the girl back.  Theme yet?  Maybe I’ve been kicked out or fought hard to win girls back or over in the past?  Who knows… I’m not telling.

Gavin Slate was a dream to work with and a new breed of Toronto artist to come to Windsor to create his music video.  This was shot on my front yard and Cerah Steele did an amazing job of finding key vintage props to get the style across just right.  This also debuted Gavin’s music video acting skills as you’ll see if you keep watching upcoming videos that he appears in a whack of them!

#12 – The Danger Bees – Good Year

Making of “Good Year”

Another one take.  This video was so much fun to make.  How can you not have fun when it involves smashing and breaking everything insight.  Our actress had to get everything in a single take as working with a small budget didn’t allow for extra guitars, picture frames, plates, etc to break.  The idea of someone just taking what is coming to them during a horrible break-up was funny to me.  This could almost be a prequel to Gavin Slate’s “Falling” video – the what happened BEFORE the dude got kicked out.

The fire at the end was courtesy of Sean Tighe again – evil wizard that guy is.  Again – the making of shows the whole process of staging the one take video and I highly recommend it’s viewing.

#13 – Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky – My World

It’s been a long time in the works to make a video with Mic Lordz. I’ve always had crazy respect for this band and how hard they push themselves in the industry.  The concept of being humble enough to showcase those struggles and not just have a video that begs people to accept them as typical, macho rockstars was refreshing.

I think that any artist or person with a dream can relate to this statistics of success concept.  I’ve had people tell me it really makes them reflect on their goals and dreams and question if they are chasing them hard enough.

Gavin Slate – Goodnight Lovers, Goodnight Thieves

This one features a certain heartbreak and view of a relationship many might related to.
After Mic Lordz the rest of the videos are still unreleased.  So coming soon are:

Michael Joseph Green – Perfect World

Tears.  Touching.  A journey of friendship in a “perfect world”.

Adam Cappa – The Rescue

First time working with Tooth & Nail records – breakout artist Adam Cappa shot this video with me in Nashville and then the storyline elements were done here in Windsor.

Beth Moore – Love Now

Beth and I have been getting this Wizard Of Oz inspired concept together for a few months.  Great performance by Christian Pinard and the lovely City of Windsor, once again, as the backdrop.

Robyn Dell’Unto – Behave

Robyn’s a badass in this video.  That’s all I can say without giving it away.  Huge cast in this video.  Lots of familiar faces.  We shot this in Windsor just a few weeks ago.

Gavin Slate – Stranger In The Dark

Shot impromptu while Gavin was here to act in Beth Moore and Robyn Dell’Unto’s videos just this past week.  Simple concept but should be powerful.  We have to get his Goodnight video released before we can plan for this one!  Maybe in the new year?

So that is my past year in music videos.  There are a few more lining up to shoot before and after the film shoot this winter.  I’m always looking and booking so if you happen to be in need of a video I’d love to work with more artists and keep this great Windsor music video train moving forward.  I do shoot elsewhere  when necessary too.  If it’s way too much to ask that you’ve watched the videos above, the shortcut is to watch this demo below.

Peace and love,



Chasing A Dream Ain’t Easy

October 4, 2011

Not so much a blog as a press release for a music video I have releasing tomorrow but a bit of a teaser as the what the video is and the message that it contains.  Hope to see you all at the premiere party!


Windsor band “Mic Lordz & The Sauce Funky” host party for debut music video.

Windsor, ON October 4th, 2011 – Mic Lordz & The Sauce Funky (MLSF) will premiere their music video for “My World” at Venue Rock Parlour tomorrow night, Wednesday, October 5th. MLSF have been together for over five years and working daily towards climbing the ladder of success. They have toured coast to coast in both Canada and the United States. “My World” showcases a great number of statistics surrounding the band along their journey to stardom. The viewer will get a look inside the (not so) glamorous world of a hard working band.

MLSF chose to partner with local director Gavin Michael Booth for this project. Booth, and emerging filmmaker was able to relate to their struggle and create the right energy arranging the stats in a unique visual presentation as well as create a riveting performance element to the video. The video was shot on location in Windsor and created with an all Windsor-based crew.

Wednesday will feature the world premiere of the music video as well as a live acoustic performance from MLSF. Tickets at $5.00 at the door. The music video will debut online as soon as the world premiere has finished.

Says Booth, “No one’s journey to the top in a career as an artist is a smooth ride in the express lane. It takes a commitment to spending more than you earn for years beyond what most people could ever ask of themselves to handle. I was most impressed by this project that the Mic Lordz were willing to open their lives to their fans and peel back the illusion of the care-free rockstar.”

More about MLSF can be found at . For more local music video work from Booth and Mimetic Entertainment Inc. visit

And I Knew What It Was All Along

August 26, 2011

I was supposed to start this months ago – write a blog to coincide with each music video I direct.  It’s supposed to be an exercise in keeping my journalling active on the making-of Cheer For Your Life (my upcoming film, which I’m desperately behind on journalling about so maybe this blog-per-music video will work like it’s supposed to).  So here I am alone in a hotel room in the Nashville area at midnight finding myself completely bored.

Too tired to edit anymore but not tired enough to sleep.  This is where my brain always finds itself this time of night.  I want to keep working but get scattered and unfocused.  Facebook has become a yawn-fest by this time as most regular type folk have tucked in for the night.  Just boredom.  There’s only so much Nip/Tuck I can watch in an evening (it’s midway through Season 4 for me right now.  I never watched the show in it’s regular run though urged by an ex-girlfriend to give it a try.)

Anyhow on to what I’m here to talk about.  A month or two ago I directed a music video for fellow Gavin, Gavin Slate.

Photo By: Desiree Nickerson

The song is titled “Falling” and it’s the simple lyrical tale of a man coming to terms with the fact that the feelings he has have been love for a certain someone all along “and I knew what it was all along… I was falling for you…”.  My take on the concept was the bittersweet realization of too little, too late.  I’ve been there.  I think many of us have.  So the concept I pitched to Gavin was simple.

See the finished video here if you haven’t already:


Actually I should explain how I met Gavin Slate.  It’s always a bizarro world for me how these projects come together.

I had written treatments for a wonderfully wicked singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega at the request of her label.  I did my duties there and submitted them and not long after saw that she was having a CD Release party in Toronto.  Turns out we have a mutual good friend who ended up inviting me to the same release party.  I had planned on making the drive up from Windsor to be there.  Never hurts if I’ve seen a performer live that I may potentially direct for.  In fact I prefer it.  On the poster for the event I caught on the facebook event page I saw the opening acts.  I figured, I’ll check out their music on Myspace or iTunes before I see them open for Lindi.  For me there is nothing worse than being at a concert and watching openers that I don’t know their music.  I like to have lyrics to sing along with and know a little about a band/act first.  Gavin Slate was one of these acts.  His name was Gavin so he’s already a rare breed in my books.  I’ve never worked with another Gavin.  That was intriguing on it’s own for whatever silly reason.

I found Gavin’s music online and started listening.  Powerful stuff.  All of it.  His voice in in the vein of Matt Kearney and his somber songs about love and live get trapped in your head and you find yourself humming them hours later.  Naturally I found him on Facebook and sent him a cold message.  “Hey it’s Gavin, blah blah, Lindi’s release, blah blah, like yer stuff, blah, talk to you that night at the event.”

Or something like that.

So within twenty-four hours I got chatting with Other Gavin (when I’m directing he’s Other Gavin and when he’s on stage or the main event I will be Other Gavin that night) about music videos and what track he’s like to do a video for.  We settled on “Falling”.  I had the idea almost instantly and wrote up a quasi-treatment and sent it over.  He liked it right away and bingo – a video was born.  I actually sent two over and for the life of me I can’t remember what the other concept was… hopefully I still have the message – maybe it will end up a video for another artist.  From there we started discussing budget and timing to get the video shot.  I pitched him, as I pitch everyone, the concept of doing the production in Windsor/Essex County.  He was game.  This made me happy because I love working with the rag-tag team of dedicated people Mimetic Entertainment has on set on a regular basis.  The gang would ride again.

Around the same time, Sean Parker over at Parktown Productions put out an incredible offer.  He would provide the Redcam and we’d collaborate for the first time ever so that I could get a taste for the Red having never shot with it and considering it for my next film Cheer.  Not an offer I could turn down.  Sean and I met through my How Many Days? video blogs relating to Kevin Smith and have been Facebook friends ever since.  We’re going to write a screenplay together soon and I know in my gut have many collaborations ahead of us, but how he relates here and now to Gavin Slate was this offer of the camera and coming down for the weekend.  As soon as I knew that date I had Gavin on the phone to get his arse to Windsor for the same time.

So we’re back to Gavin’s song and my concept for it.  I took it as a guy who realized he truly was in love with his girlfriend all along- only he’s realized this after she’s finished kicking him out of the house.  We don’t know what he did but it couldn’t have been good because his clothes, guitar, television, and even couch have been tossed out in her rage.  Not wanting to give up on the relationship he’s realized (as most of us simple minded males do) he doesn’t want to lose even this late in the game, Gavin sets up all of his furniture on the lawn and refuses to leave until she breaks down and lets him back in to talk.  The video essentially is a performance of Gavin on the front lawn as if it’s business as normal in his living room – he’d order a pizza, watch some tv, take a nap, do some light reading – all the comforts of home without the roof over his head.  A test of will that if he stuck it out long enough, his girlfriend would come around and her anger would simmer.

We needed a front yard.  I always go to Marie, who has produced with me pretty much every music video I’ve directed since The Afters “Light Up The Sky” video last October.  Marie is great at brainstorming the needs of any video and an amazing sounding board for me to talk out load at and bounce ideas off of.  We thought of the neighbourhood that had what we’d want in terms of exterior for the house.  We talk about how to approach people who own’d the houses, how to deal with the noise we’d be making at night with a crew on a front lawn.  Of course the simplest solution didn’t come about for a few days; a solution we ultimately went with.

Photo By: Marie Jeannette

My front lawn.  The house that Brian and I live in was absolutely perfect for it but like most times when stressing to lock down elements for a music video or film, I can’t see the lawn for the city as they say.  This was going to be such a simple shoot on the technical end.  Load the gear out onto the lawn and once wrapped load it back in!  No moving cast and crew to multiple locations, sometimes over multiple days.  I was pretty stoked about this.

Of course we had Sean coming down from Ottawa and bringing two assistants, camera operator Ben Walker and Digital Imagine wizard Oscar Welsh.  Two gentleman I had the pleasure of meeting that weekend but, like Sean, hope to work with again – even though Oscar’s going to a film school program next month when he’s already working with world class film people… shame on him!  I won’t hold it against him forever.  With Sean and the gang in town, my place, although the ideal location was not going to work to house our out of town guests.  So I made a call.

“Hi, Mom”.

My mother, “What do you need?”

She knows that I rarely call her because she calls me each and every day at least once.  So when I am calling it’s because I have a request.  This time – to house the crew, Marie and I for two nights since her and my stepfather George have three guest bedrooms.   My mom is a super neat-freak so there was some grumbling but like the good mother she is she agreed.  Who needs hotels when we can arrive at mum’s to pizza already ordered, George’s homemade wine, and hours of great conversation?  Not I.  We settled in, tried to get a good night’s sleep and then in the morning I had to go film a charity event before the set-up for the shoot could begin.

I took off for the morning and first part of the afternoon to film The Breast Ride Ever’s second annual charity motorcycle ride for Breast Cancer.  While I did that the crew and Marie were treated to George’s homemade breakfast.  Fuckers.   I really missed out.  Though I suppose I can rest comfortably knowing I was dedicating my time and camera skills to something bigger than all of us.  Now I want pancakes.  All I have are mini-bagels in this hotel.  They shall have to do for the time being.

While I was filming for charity, Marie was calling around to find ANYWHERE in our cursed city that carried a 7200rpm firewire 800 external hard drive.  We were only able to find one at Henry’s.  An entire city of computer and electronic stores and truly only one that understands the needs of the digital filmmaker.  Pathetic.  It’s not even that uncommon of a drive but I didn’t have a free one and the Red Camera we were shooting the video on required it for storage of the footage.


While this was transpiring and I was still filming from the back of a truck trying to not get whipped in the eye by my shaggy head of hair

Moving on to the afternoon, charity filmed, everyone is gathering at my house.  Marie and I had been taking donations and loan outs on vintage furniture and props to be the content’s of Gavin’s life that would appear on the lawn.  Facebook friends and cast/crew from previous videos brought out some amazing items to use.  That afternoon, setting up, I had a call from Cerah Steele.  She is my hair dresser and an amazing singer/performer herself.  Cerah was going to do hair for the video that evening and happened to be at an estate sale not more than a four minute drive from my house.  She said there was all sorts of vintage stuff there that was going for dirt cheap.  Sean and I hoped in the car and headed over.  Sure enough I spent a bit more than planned in our tiny budget but managed to snag the record player you see at the beginning and end of the video as well as the clock which you see hung on the tree.  Definitely worth the trip, many thank-yous to Cerah and her boyfriend Josh for those findings.

Photo By: Desiree Nickerson


We waited til the sun was setting after scattering the furniture, clothes, etc around the lawn to design phase one of the set.  We shot the first takes with Marie throwing books and final items out of the house while we dolly to the left from the record player Gavin is starting up to seeing the scattered items on the lawn.  Marie’s goal in her career is to be a working actor full-time.  She sorta fell into working behind the scenes with me on a short film I produced for Navin Ramaswaran a few years back.  When looking for the leading lady for this video it became apparent quickly that she’d be perfect for it and given the fact that there isn’t a demanding amount of her time for the scenes necessary she could producer and act in the video without it compromising her producing responsibilities.

Sun sets.  We’re into night which is the majority of our shoot.  There’s no real funny stories to tell about the shoot from this point on.  There’s a behind the scenes video that shows you far better than I can write it.  Marie always shoots a behind the scenes for each music video she produces so we’re sure to add it to the Mimetic Entertainment Youtube Channel playlists for the artist to share with their fans.


Photo By: Victoria Strehlau

It was wonderful to have Desiree and Victoria taking photos for us.  Clinton and Sarah are just top-notch and work like dogs to make sure everything is done fast and efficient as they always do on each set.  Logan dug right in as a first timer and really rocked it.  Cerah’s hair stylings were perfection.  Krista’s make-up top notch.  Ben, Sean, Oscar from Ottawa where an absolute pleasure to work with.  We even had film producer Mike Carriere out to lend a hand.

I did find the Red a bit bulky – I’m used to being able to move a smaller camera more often, change shots quicker, do handheld with a shoulder mount rig, just get coverage fast.  With the Red it didn’t work that way so there was a learning curve and adjustment for me in that sense.

It was a contained set to the front lawn and not a lot of motion on Gavin’s part.  His performance was consistant from take to take and that makes the editing a heck of a lot easier.

Photo By: Desiree Nickerson

There was a cameo from Ted E. Bear – who’s been making the rounds in music videos and a previous feature film of mine.  Great little bear actor he is!  This video is one of the first times I kinda had everything planned out (not on paper of course)  – A lot of one location indie band videos I go in with a basic concept but no real shot list… just knowing the basic story/idea and roll with it.  For “Falling” I knew the majority of the events and knew we could think up more ways for Gavin to pass the time while he was on his front lawn if we had time left over.  One of the cool things we got to do was provide a cameo for Bull’s Eye Pizza… err… more so blatant product placement!

Bull’s Eye Pizza has been so incredible with us donating pizza for the cast/crew of every single music video we’ve every requested of them.  We always tweet and facebook our appreciation for it to help promote their business.  This time however, we thought it would be a funny moment in the storyline for the video if Gavin gets hungry while camping out overnight for his girlfriend to give him the time of day.  So we have him paying for a pizza he’s ordered.  Bull’s Eye Pizza even sent over an extra pizza with some nice bright coloured hot peppers on it to use a the pizza in the video instead of making the crew wait to eat the meal pizzas.  Jon, the owner, also sent Marie back with a small Bull’s Eye Pizza shirt.  The only person in the crew it was going to fit was Oscar, so he went from DIT specialist to actor in the change of a tee.

Photo By: Desiree Nickerson

So that’s about all she wrote.  We filmed until five in the morning or so.  Clean up wasn’t too painful having to just stuff everything back inside the house.  The editing was done a day or so later and Ben over at Parktown turned around the colour correction soon after.  Gavin did a great job – debut music videos can be tricky for an artist sometimes when performing in front of the camera.  You really should all check out his EP.  The songs are fantastic.  We have another video coming your way really soon too.
iTunes Store for Gavin Slate

For me, thanks for reading and you can catch me on the big, vast, ever growing world wide web through the links under my sign off.


twitter: @gavinbooth
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How A Video Went Viral (Or Why I Dislike The Windsor Star)

August 25, 2011

Since I won’t get a letter to the editor published or have a comment on the article go undeleted…

Ok, so the surprise wedding of Shawn & Colleen Lippert became a worldwide sensation.  Most of us know this now, most of us followed along as it was a frenzy on facebook of links and updates amongst friends, family, and happy Windsorites that saw so much attention being brought to the region.  It’s pretty cool, I gotta say.  I am in Nashville currently and on set for the music video I was directing yesterday there were 3 people that had seen Operation: White Cake in the news down this way.  One of them has a Superbowl Championship Ring so that makes him cooler than you or I.

I hate making wedding videos.   I used to love it and I can’t slag it too much as it paid for the initial gear, office, and freedom to make my debut film with Mimetic Entertainment back in the day.  Forever indebted.  However – I’m often stating that “even if my own brother gets married he knows not to ask me to film the wedding because I’d rather pay the full rate for someone else to do it for him than film another wedding.”  When Shawn approached me almost a year ago with his plan for a surprise wedding I told him I would do it but half of the reason is because I have a dark sense of humour and the clip I could create from it would be equally good if she said yes or NO.  Imagine that… it would be like that episode of The Simpsons (“Simpsons did it! Simpsons dit it!”) where Bart is replaying the video tape of when Lisa breaks Ralph’s heart and going frame by frame to find the exact moment.  I would edit that together for Shawn.  Agony, captured on video.  Eventually Shawn would find it funny after his heartache healed years later.  Until then – Mr. Romantic might have ended up “Broken Heart Guy” on Youtube in a viral video.

Thankfully that didn’t happen (1% of me is screaming “darn it!” inside right now).  Back then I discussed with Shawn and look around the web and could not find much in the way of a surprise wedding.  Surprise proposal?  Yup – lots of silly dances and smoke machines and even a movie trailer but together to proposal – but an entire wedding planned by the groom without the bride knowing?  Never thought that Shawn Lippert of Life Of A Bar Owner infamy would ever possibly originate something so cool (that’s what I thought at the time, apparently there have been other surprise weddings but everyone steals from Shakespeare and as I said early… to quote South Park: “Simpsons did it!” – Homer had a surprise wedding to give Marge the wedding she always wanted but never had when they were originally married).    I even enlisted the help of a second camera operator, Marie Jeannette, for the day to make sure that every detail of the day.  Shawn and I had discussed and I we stated back then that this would capture some attention.  Not the goal of Shawn getting married at all but he and I having some minor success in viral videos in the past placed our wagers that this video would connect with people.

So let’s shift to today’s front page of the Windsor Star.  There is a follow up article with Shawn and Colleen about their time in New York City and the media frenzy that surrounded their wedding and the video going viral.  This is the second article the Windsor Star published – the first being Monday morning, August 15th. (appearing late night Sunday in their online edition) soon after the wedding itself took place on August 13th.  In today’s article, written by Ted Shaw, who interviewed both Shawn and Colleen, it lays claim that the media frenzy was kicked off by the Windsor Star first reporting about the wedding.  This is funny for a few reasons- number one it isn’t true.  Yes, we read the Windsor Star.  Yes there was a link mentioned in the article to see .  Those two points are true.  What is completely wrong is ignoring anything about what Shawn and Colleen said during the interview and how the events actually unfolded.  The article also mentions that it was Shawn that posted the video online.

Now I’m no expert but I have heard it straight from the source and after spending time in New York and sharing in some of the media frenzy and doing interviews myself alongside the Bride and Groom, I have to believe that the source isn’t feeding my false information when stating that it was clearly brought to the attention of the Windsor Star who created the video, who hosted the video online, and who’s video attracted the global media frenzy at the start.  Shawn and Colleen have been more than gracious in asking that myself/Mimetic is credited for use of the video on Television and have mentioned in every interview their thanks to me for doing the video and how the video made the whole story possible because that’s where most people discovered it as a news item.  They’ve gone as far to say that they hope something comes out of it for me because they are happily married and didn’t want/need anything else. **Note:  Shawn and Colleen – I was able to travel to New York City again – more than I could ever have expected so job well done! **  Somehow this is failed to be mentioned at all in the article, instead claiming that the Windsor Star kicked it off.  The exact quote is:

“An article in The Windsor Star on the Monday after the wedding set the wheels in motion.” – Ted Shaw, Factual Accuracy Award Winner 2011.

** You can read the full article here: **

It goes on to say that Fox and others called soon after, alluding to the fact it was the Windsor Star article that caught their attention.  Now I’m sure that Shawn was gracious as always and maybe even mentioned that the Star was one of the first to cover the wedding since he had called Dalson Chen in advance and the paper sent Kristy Pierce to take photos and do a write-up the day of.  It’s actually possible that if the Star had the foresight they could have got the story on the wire and busted that thing around the world by Monday morning along with their own article.  That however, was not the case.

After leaving Shawn and Colleen’s wedding before the dinner, I headed straight home to edit the video together.  Now all Shawn wanted was to see the proposal part of the video to share with friends and family at the wedding that had to hide and were unable to see Colleen’s reaction.  He thought it would be a nice gesture since those 200+ folks all played along and didn’t ruin the surprise during the planning.  I ended up editing together more of an overview of the entire wedding and telling the story of the surprise so that any one watching from the outside would understand just how much effort Shawn had put into this and understand Colleen’s reaction entirely.  So I came up with an eight minute clip.  Shawn really wanted their wedding song, performed by Joshua Radin, in the video – so I suggested that he call Joshua’s manager and clear the use of the song to not run into any copyright issues.  He did, we got the clearance, so I made sure to include that into the video.  It was the perfect song to underlay the tone of the day’s celebration and multiple surprises.

This video went online around 10-11AM on Sunday, August 14th, directly after the wedding.  Shawn and Colleen, the freaks that they are, even stopped by after their wedding to see the video for themselves before it was posted for friends and family.  By noon the video had over 100 views and had been shared on Facebook by over 60 people.  An hour later it had tripled.  By the END of Sunday night, around the time the Windsor Star’s online edition came out, still hours before anyone had the much wider read paper edition, the video had over 80,000 views.  It had been shared on Facebook over 700 times at this point and there were over 400 tracked references on Twitter about the video.

You can see it in the Youtube Insight Chart above.  By into the wee hours of Sunday night / Monday morning I had inbox messages on Youtube from some of the largest television shows, newspapers.  My email was also being flooded (I had taken the liberty of sending the video and brief write up on the wedding to many of the biggest morning shows, radio, newspapers, etc.

Take a look at what I received that Sunday and before sun-up on Monday:

Note that not a single one of these references their lead in from having read the article in the Windsor Star.

Let’s not forget that the Windsor Star in their original article covering the wedding spelled the Groom’s name wrong.  Shawn “Lipperd”.  There would be a really difficult process in being a media outlet having read the Windsor Star and wanting the story if they were trying to track down Shawn Lipperd I would think.  Honest mistake – there’s probably 16 typos per paragraph in this blog because I’m a horrible speller and too lazy to proof it properly.  However, I’m not claiming that my typos will lead anyone (or their horse) to water.

So just a little peeved this morning because I’ve yet to see the Windsor Star get it right regarding any story I’ve been part of.  Not even peeved, just more so disappointed.   I know I’m not winning any favours writing this blog but heck… with the botched articles and shoddy coverage and complete omissions now and in the past – is anyone out there really thinking I give a poop about being covered in this newspaper again?  I should hope not.  They’re off our press release list now.  The local radio, television, online news sites, and smaller community papers for towns I don’t even live in have always given much more coverage (and accurate coverage at that) for our film and music video productions that are focused on trying to grow a larger film community here.  Just disappointing that the city’s ONLY newspaper can’t just take the effort to portray stories as they happen in the way that they happened.  Certainly, they shouldn’t be omitting key information given by their interview subjects and taking claim for things the paper did not do.

These feelings about Ted’s reporting have been with me for sometime.  I remember being interviewed by Ted Shaw for an article regarding How Many Days? and the film production of Still Here at the time.  Brendan Byrne and I both attended the interview at the Windsor Star building for a face to face with Ted.  He used a digital (or maybe a cassette tape) recorder to capture the entire interview.  He called me with follow up questions the next day – yet somehow when the article was published there wasn’t a single mention of Brendan having been there or even part of the film, the quotes weren’t mine mostly… they were Brendan’s but with my name on them and very little of the article was accurate at all.  I was jaw-dropped reading it.  I think I did a How Many Days? video about it at the time… wish I could sort through the 1600+ videos and find it.  Brendan and I agreed at the time that it was a complete waste of time to do the interview because what’s the point when the message is way off base and the article doesn’t give the reader any correct insight or knowledge of what you set out to discuss?

My thoughts are shared by Brady Thrasher who was able to confront Ted about his coverage of the Drake After Party event.  Ted wasn’t at the event but managed to cover it anyways getting the incorrect low-down from “someone who was there” as he told Brady.  How is this allowed to be in our city’s newspaper?  To not even contact the organizers or have a reporter experience the event first hand before writing about it?

Anyhow, these are my thoughts, this is my blog, this is my opinion.  Take it or tell me to fuck myself, either way – I’ll be happy.

New blogs coming soon – have a back log of things to post, updates on the new feature Cheer For Your Life and some upcoming music videos.

twitter: @gavinbooth

An Open Letter Regarding The International Dragon Boats

July 14, 2011

(or:  How To Lose Complete Focus When Fundraising For Cancer)

I am a proud citizen of Windsor.  I am proud to call this my home.  I am proud to work here with my small business and proud to create my art here.  One of the things I love the most here are the dedicated people who organize some of the best charity fundraisers I have ever seen.  Now I give what I can in cash dollars to the charities I support but as a filmmaker with a loud mouth, throughout the years, I have been asked endlessly to create video promotional material for organizations.  Sometimes it’s videos to promote upcoming events, sometimes it’s video content for galas and events, but mostly it’s documenting events to make a highlight video that can live on for years afterwards.

I have been doing this for ten years and never have I claimed any of the work, equipment, time, or talent as a tax receipt.  That is not why I do it.  I do it because from high school as the geeky little Dawson’s Creekesque kid, I learned that video can bring out raw emotion, sounds and images combined together can make a message stand taller than on paper.  I do it because I feel it would be a waste of my talent to only choose projects that pay my bills.

So today, I am saddened and somewhat baffled by a series of events unfolding.  Last year, I was approached by two very wonderful women- complete strangers to be asking if I would take part in a brand new charity event they had been planning.  The Breast Ride Ever.  They kinda had my pledge at the name alone!  I had just finished up with Transition To Betterness main video commitment for the year and thought: “I’m kinda stretched with all that’s going on this summer but what’s one day, right?”.  I signed on and since that time, I’ve seen nothing but warmth and a general urge to help from both of them and the entire organization.  The 2010 Breast Ride Ever was a smashing success.  There were more motorcycle riders than they had hoped for, the weather was beautiful, and sponsors came out of nowhere to assist (always risky to support a first time charity event because you don’t know if the organizers have it in them to properly go the distance.)

One of the most amazing things that happened was the International Dragon Boats took The Breast Ride under their wing.  This included allowing The Breast Ride Ever to host their ride on the same weekend as the Dragon Boats, use the Dragon Boats home base at Riverside & Manning to have their registration tent, have their riders take part in the beautiful rose ceremony and tribute to loved ones lost, and then kick-off and end their motorcycle ride at the grounds.

My job in all of this was simple.  Bring my camera, film the day, take the footage and edit it together in a way that can be touching, thank the sponsors, and help draw attention to the event for future years of fundraising.  That I did and we posted the video online under a Youtube account I created.  You can see the video here: .

So here’s where the silliness starts.  In that video, you hear music by four artists.  Three local:  Jody Raffoul, Rick Rock, Glen MacNeil and then The Afters.  In the video, you will also see the Dragon Boat logo modified to have a motorcycle across it.

This logo was modified with full knowledge by The Dragon Boat organizers; they even provided the original art files to The Breast Ride Ever.  The logo was used on banners, all promotional material, and websites, in addition to my video.  Heck, you can see it on all the Breast Ride Ever t-shirts the riders are wearing in the video- the point being – clearly present on the day of the ride and all marketing leading up to the event day.

The song by Glen MacNeil was written for The International Dragon Boats and I filmed it as he performed it during the rose ceremony which you can see in the above Youtube page link (song starts around 1:12 in the video).  Again, the song was provided to The Breast Ride Ever from Dragon Boat organizers on a compact disc which was then passed on to me so I could ingest it into my editing system and use it in the video to blend seamlessly with Glen’s live performance.

The video was released November 24, 2010 and was emailed around to as many people involved with The Breast Ride Ever; including members of The International Dragon Boats.  The comments and emails I received were glowing – I’m not tooting my own horn, I don’t need praise, I’m just happy to know that the video I created served its purpose and can be a heartwarming look back at something a group of Windsorites banded together to create and help fight the ongoing battle to find a cure for cancer.  That’s what it’s all about, right?  That’s what all these cancer charities should be spending their time and budget and efforts and focus on, right?  Finding a cure.  Doing their part to raise the money they can through their fundraising efforts to find a cure?  (Obviously some of the charities help cancer and patients in other ways, I’m not forgetting that fact).

So WHY the next part I’m about to explain to you is happening is beyond me.

This year, the 2011 Breast Ride Ever took place as a completely separate event from The International Dragon Boats.  In fact, the ONLY crossover this year was the fact that in order to ride along the water on our beautiful Riverside Drive, the motorcycle riders passed by the park where The Dragon Boats were taking place once again.  Actually, most of the riders honked and waved and showed their support for their fellow cancer charity- I know, I was there having my hair whipped in my eyes as I filmed from the back of a truck.

Separate why?  Well, that’s a long story of its own but we all know how it goes… sometimes people try to work together, either one or both parties don’t have as pleasant an experience they hoped for and they go their separate ways.  Except we are living in Windsor, which, if the world is two degrees of separation, then Windsor is two degrees and if you include Facebook having a stranglehold on containing us all to being each others friends, then it’s less than that… in fact, you should probably make sure the person you’re sleeping with isn’t related… it’s that small of a community.  So by living here in our lovely little gossip fueled blue collar city, rarely can people walk away from a less than pleasant working experience or artistic endeavour without having to start an all out smear campaign and do whatever they can to rain on the other party’s parade.  Again, I won’t get into full details, those can be disclosed by the people that know them the best.  That’s not the point for this letter- so let’s just leave it at accusations were made, feelings were hurt- and that in my opinion is where it should have stopped, knowing both charity events could live on as completely separate entities.

Where I come in is that The Breast Ride Ever organizers relayed to me not long ago that there may need to be revisions on last year’s video that would remove the Glen MacNeil song and all reference to the Dragon Boat logo w/ the Breast Ride Motorcycle on it.  The organizers of The International Dragon Boats have claimed it is trademarked/copyright material.  To this, I had a full belly laugh and forgot all about.   Today, I get a follow up call stating that The Breast Ride Ever has been served legal papers in the form of a cease and desist claiming once again that the video is infringing on The International Dragon Boats trademarks/copyright material.

The material they are speaking of?  You guessed it:  Glen MacNeil’s song and the altered logo.

My initial reaction?

“They can go fuck themselves!  How does this help anyone with a heart for raising funds to fight cancer and all the problems it creates for the patients and families suffering?!”

My second reaction was much more in-depth as I started thinking back to the 2010 ride.  The song was written for International Dragon Boats but was given to me to use in the video from Dragon Boat organizers.  The live video of Glen performing the song has been in the video since it was posted November 24th, 2010.  The logo was used with permission, again recapping, provided to The Breast Ride Ever and myself from Dragon Boat organizers and their graphic design master file.

So why a cease and desist now?  Also, why a cease and desist at all?

Why now?

Well, because this is where pettiness takes over and one organization wants to pee on another’s parade since they are no longer united.  Is it fear of a 2nd year organization outgrowing The Dragon Boats and competing with them as they continue to grow?  Is it a beef from one organizer to the next instead of focusing on what matters- making YOUR charity event as successful as you can.  Why get lawyers now to ask for a video to be removed when it’s a video that paints your organization in a positive light?  A video that brings attention to your cause?  It’s so ludicrous for this to even be happening.

Why at all?

Now in the corporate world, sure, snuff out your competition, go for your “enemies” at the throat… big business (insert grunting and chest thumping here)- yes, yes I get that.  We’re talking about a charity here.  Why would you go out of your way to cause problems and hold some form of a petty grudge with a charity?  They aren’t your competition!  You’re on the same team.  It’s two different approaches to the same goal.  Heck, we need five more events that take place the same weekend and target different community members to get involved and raise money for cancer.  We need more Terry Foxes and Dragon Boats and Breast Rides and secondary school Walk-A-Thons – bring them on!  Don’t pit them against one another.  HOW FUCKING STUPID, RIGHT?  So what!  You had a bad experience- suck it up and forget about it – don’t even turn an eye of attention towards the people/organization you no longer agree with.  Spend that time finding more sponsors, getting more pledges, adding another team to your races – don’t weigh down the other charity with legal matters over what amounts to pretty much squat all at the end of the day.  How gracious that The Breast Ride Ever organizers allowed you to be included in their video!  They didn’t make it exclusive, they were gracious and loved Glen’s song and loved that it was included.  That’s amazing, not a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Anyhow, here’s the other part.  I, Gavin Booth, created that video from scratch.  I filmed it, I edited it, I produced it, I added the music, the graphics.  Me, me, me.  I made this video of my own free will and my own free offering and own the copyright on all the material created by me within in the video.   The International Dragon Boats are sending the cease and desist to the wrong people.  The Breast Ride Ever did not pay me, I have not signed anything relinquishing my rights to my artistic vision in this short documentary.  So here it is:

I have no plans to remove the video, to alter the video, or to play into something as silly as this.  Both organizations have credit in the community for raising money for cancer – it’s a cause I believe in – and nothing in my video is offensive, nor is there any reason it shouldn’t remain on the Youtube page I created encouraging people to take part in future years of the event.  The altered logo was created with permission, the song was provided to me via the organizers of the Dragon Boats so to turn around NOW and actually take the time and effort to seek out legal council on this is just down right stupidity.

If you think that Glen MacNeil is unhappy about his song and image being used in the video from the 2010 Breast Ride Ever – you’re mistaken.  If fact, here’s an email from Glen stating quite the opposite.

From: Glen MacNeil <****************>
To: Nikki Campeau <**********>
Sent: Sat, December 11, 2010 11:46:04 AM
Subject: Re: [The Breast Ride Ever] Please share this video and join us on Saturday,…

Glen MacNeil commented on your post in The Breast Ride Ever.

Glen MacNeil

11:46am Dec 11

Great job on the video. It was a nice surprise to hear my song as part of your wonderful cause. All the best in 2011…

That email says to me that he’s happy to have been part of it, maybe even flattered his song was included and its reach was expanded beyond JUST the Dragon Boats in 2010.  He even sends his best to The Breast Ride Ever for their 2011 event.  What a gentleman.  So the issue doesn’t lie with the artist (whom I presume still retains the publishing rights to the music).  If anything, you would think a local talent like Glen would be happy to be alongside an internationally known band such as the Afters.  Now, Glen didn’t write the song to find fame for himself or new fans but hey, I can’t imagine anyone crying over more people discovering their music… especially not at a ratio of roughly 30:1 (800+ views on the Youtube video with his song included versus the 33 plays of the song on Glen’s Myspace page).

As for The Breast Ride Ever removing the video from their website.  I’m not a lawyer but I’m pretty sure as they are not hosting the video on their site and it’s simply a link from a Youtube video, they retain the right to include whatever video link they would like.  Again – the letter is sent to the wrong organization.

If the Dragon Boats can logically explain to me what about the video I created is offensive or causing an issue for their ongoing fundraising, I might be inclined to remove it.  I do warn though that I have a video camera on my hip like a cowboy has a gun in holster, so I can’t promise I wouldn’t want to make said conversation public.  Until then, I think it’s gonna stay right where it is.  I’ll ask my personal trainer for additional neck muscle exercises to do at home, that way I’m fully prepared for the head shaking I will do if I’m served with a letter next.  Wouldn’t want to have to counter-sue for whiplash or anything.

So the summary:  anyone willing to put time and effort into the fight against cancer is an amazing spirit and any tool used to promote those efforts (especially when it’s free and people are promoting you and not even charging you) is fantastic.  Focus on the charity efforts and not the petty on-goings between organizations you may or may not have had a falling out with.



To the rest of you- I know I haven’t updated my blog in a long time… I’m terrible for not wanting to write unless I have something to say – just consider yourselves lucky that I realize not everything I think and feel is blog worthy.

Cast A Spell

December 9, 2010

A few days ago we had our first round of casting for the new film project.  Technically it was also casting for a few music videos at the same time.  Much thanks to LAFA and Sarah I. for organizing these auditions.  So many fresh faces and talented people that came out.  Really excited about shooting the new film here in Windsor and being able to continue what’s been an almost decade long mission now of spotlighting the actors and crew in Windsor.  Our recent Afters music video did that in a huge way.  The cast of that video have now been seen over 160,000 times online as well as broadcasting to over 47 million households on cable television.  Even if you were to combine all the independent films, stage plays, and commercials that the entire cast of the video had done in the past would not equal the amount of audience reach they have experienced from this music video alone.  That’s exciting, no?  The idea that a music video shot here has been seen on that wide of a scale?  Other videos here are getting Canada-wide coverage.  Films shot here are playing at festivals.  Our next film will hit cinemas around the world.  It will be undeniable soon that media created in Windsor can and does stand up against the world’s meter stick of success.

I’ve been exhausted lately.  Sick as a dog through my birthday at the end of November.  That didn’t help much.  Still trying to kick this ear infection.  I’m back to training with Andy 4-5 days a week.  I feel great in that respect.  I’ve never been so flexible and never felt better physically.  Hurricane Training is the way to go.  I dare you to check out his boot camp classes.  Killer workout!  Even that once a week you’d notice a difference in your body and your lifestyle.  I guess I need to find a more regular sleeping pattern but with all the pre-production work to be done, planning for the Still Here premiere and the editing pile of music videos and such to finish up it’s so hard to make that happen.  Not to mention Netflix is obsessive.  So much great tv and films I’ve never seen and I don’t even have to leave the couch to view them!

Anyhoo, I’m getting back to editing a music video and finding something to eat this morning.  Hope you’re well.  Remember if you have any inkling about acting for us in a music video or working behind the scene, send us a headshot and a resume to:

TIFF Experience

September 14, 2010

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival would have been brilliant for me (and to me I suspect!).  I had access to major parties, exclusive parties, screenings.  It was my first time with all these invites instead of looking at the festival from outside the windows of everything cool.  However, since I’m still a working man, I remained dedicated to clients here in Windsor for corporate video work.  You know the stuff that pays bills and keeps things afloat and has served me kindly for years of getting a major film production off the ground.  So alas… the passes, the invites have fallen by the way-side.  Heartbreaking in one sense and couldn’t care less on the other.  Our production schedule is so full for the next 2-3 years that it would be silly to meet another producer interested in project discussion because there’s no way anything could be started until after the Mayan calendar ends… and since that’s the end of the world, I plan on retiring from film shortly before it so I can have a Twin Peaks marathon and wait the four horsemen to knock at my door.  So it would have been awesome… fun, exciting, oh-ah… celebrities but life is good here, projects daily here are going great – can’t complain one bit.

Brendan and I decided to not miss the festival entirely.  Our Canadian distribution company invited us up for their private cocktail party on Sunday.  Windsor to Toronto is roughly a four hour drive.  So we loaded up in the car that day after corporate video shoots were done and hit the 401 highway and made our way to TIFF for this event.  It was held in the Distillery District (which sadly I’ve never been to before!).  Fantastic area.  The bar it was in, name fails me at the time, was swanky yet cozy.  Right off the bat before getting inside we bumped into Tony who updated us on some project statuses with the company and what that could mean for our first film.  Exciting!  All thoughts I had about how shitty it was to be making a roundtrip drive in a single day melted away.

Inside the party was just as exciting.  I don’t think Brendan and I stopped grinning the whole time.  “I’m sorry president of such and such, have you met Brendan and Gavin, the guys behind our film Cheer For Your Life?”  Nothing like having on president of a film company introduce you to the heads of other film companies.  We gained such great insight to international sales and distribution as well as countless tips and cost-saving ideas for our production.  There is NOTHING like picking the brains of soldiers that have been in the trenches for countless battles about how to survive and do it in most time-saving, stress-reduced way possible.

I’m always renewed and refreshed at each stage of this production.  Sunday night was no exception.  The drive home had a lot of good ideas and things to consider as our pre-production starts it’s early stages.  That’s one good thing about being the flighty, hard to get focused me – you lock me in a car with my producer for eight hours and after the first thirty minutes of box-office talk, pressing Patton Oswalt comedy on you, and discussing the current state of Lady GaGa’s fashion crisis- I will get into work mode and we always seem to strike a few points of brilliance in our own world on how to proceed.  I almost wish we had reason to do the drive more often.  The scenery sucks outside the car but the canvas painted inside always ends up worth hanging… at least on the fridge with a magnet.

I may travel back up to TIFF tomorrow night for a screening of Monsters and a few other short events.  I’m dying to see Monsters.  I’d love to talk with the director.  Our distributor is releasing Monsters in Canada.  So exciting.  Thrilling to know they want to work with the likes of us Essex County numb-nuts when they have worldwide talents like Gareth Edwards on the roster too!  If I knew anything about sports I’d imagine the nerves that are on fire under my skin are of the same feeling a pitcher would have throwing the first ball as player in the major leagues… pressure extreme!

Anyhow, I’m off to finalize a music video script.  Bringing that band there back from that big successful label type thing next week and want to make sure we have everything right… explosions in this video too!  Somewhere Michael Bay just smiled a little wider chewing his fruit loops this morning.


P.S. – Be sure to read this shameless plug for our community – if you are an actor or interested in every being an extra in films/music videos/television made in Windsor, send your name/photo/contact information to  Watch Windsor is compiling a list of actors and extras to help aid the local filmmakers find the talent necessary to make their upcoming productions!

P.P.S. – There are a few other blogs and sites locally that you need to check out to support the local community.  If you are reading this and made it this far through my drivel then you will REALLY enjoy, since it’s on a much more entertaining and important scale: