When we decided to make a music video for “I Hope Not,” we knew we wanted to move in a more upbeat direction than from the last video for “Lavender Town,” while also maintaining a level of seriousness. Many ideas were thrown around between Mike and our director, Ryan Beacher from SquareWare Studios, some including ghosts, mischief, and of course the occasional time machine. However, there was one aspect of the video that Ryan was very adamant on using, and that was the idea of incorporating 80s movies into the story.
The process, from that point on, was to pick the proper movies with the most iconic scenes, then weave a cohesive story in and out of these references. Easier said than done, of course. Especially when we wanted to keep the theme of the song relevant to the theme of the music video. So, the first thing we did when we were brainstorming was talk about what “I Hope Not,” is actually about.
The song, at it’s core, is about looking back at a year of your life, looking at the mistakes and things that went wrong, then trying to change your life for the better while moving forward. This was essentially why we decided that 80s movies would be a great vehicle for this music video. Not only are we looking back in a literal sense to the decade of the 80s, adding that bit of nostalgia necessary for such a project, but the overall theme of 80s teen movies truly fit the theme of the song. As Ryan said, “The work of John Hughes and other prominent 80's filmmakers really embodied the teen angst we all went through and is still relevant today.”
The three movies we decided to go with were Say Anything…, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, and Better Off Dead. However, we still were not sure how we were going to connect them with a cohesive storyline. That’s when we came up with the idea for the drive-in movie theater. We figured that in order to show that this character is reflecting on the past year of his life, we needed to physically watch him reflecting, not through flashbacks. So, what if our main character is watching the past year of his life projected on the screen as if it’s a movie? Not only would that hit home with the 80s movie theme, but it also provided a physical and outward expression of the characters internal conflict. We immediately loved the idea and realized that this video would be on a grander scale with more ambition than the last.
After we came up with that concept, the story came much easier. We decided to focus on three areas of our main characters life (relationship, friendship, and employment) and show how he essentially screwed them all up. For the relationship, we went with Say Anything… The iconic boom box scene was the perfect reference for a character that has messed up his relationship and tries to “make amends.”
Moving on to friendship, we decided that Ferris Beuller would take the cake. Almost everyone knows the story of how Ferris unwillingly sneaks Cameron out of school to take him on a day of crazy adventures and shampoo mohawks, all while Cameron just stares out into space. Though the original film focuses on whether or not the Cameron character can change, we decided to see if the Ferris character could change; whether or not he could put his friend’s needs and wants before his own.
Finally, we focused on his employment by using Better Off Dead. Every 80s movie has a character who works a terrible job at a burger joint, and none more iconic than this movie. One of the greatest artistic achievements in the 80s was the magic of claymation and stop motion. The iconic “Frankenburger” scene begins as John Cusack gets bored at work, has an epic daydream with a guitar soloing cheeseburger, and ends up destroying the kitchen. In our version, it’s pretty much the same deal. Our main character ends up destroying the kitchen, angers his boss, then heads on over to the drive-in to watch the last year of his life on the big screen.
After that, our protagonist decides he needs to make a change in his life. He apologizes to his girlfriend with the help of a boom box, he goes back to school to the delight of the Cameron character, and he returns to his job to clean up the mess and cook some burgers.
We were all so excited and proud of this video when it was finally completed, and enough could not be said about Ryan and all the amazing work he put into it. The reason we love it so much is because it is such a lighthearted, lets-have-fun video that is still relevant to the theme of the song. Oh, and of course the great The Breakfast Club finale. But I won’t ruin that one for you!