Tuesday, December 12, 2006
How to Make a Jamaican Music Video
First there must be children. But take heed: all children are not the same. There are some who touch strange things like books and remain indoors. These children may be white, red, yellow, mulatto or black in a white kind of way. Please refrain from employing that sort of animal. Many other children are available, far more pleasing to the video camera. Dark like Marassa and Midnight, with big bellies, still growing teeth, blue school uniforms (with blue tie-the-pig ribbons!). If possible, please make sure they are barefooted and this is crucial people, they must always be smiling. This is essential for the behind the scenes special where the star can grab his chest and remark how with all these hardships surrounding them these children are always smiling, always happy. That way you can be like Anderson Cooper in Africa! Please rehearse this line, for if references to inexplicably happy Negro children are not made, said video will seem exploitative. Your audience will never believe that you have been transformed as a person until you break down at the sight of smiling blackies.
Your local crew must come from a smattering of variably coloured well-spoken semi-Negroes who are quick to point out their Italian, French, Scottish, or Cherokee blood. Not Irish for everybody knows Irish people are just Negroes turned inside out. They should have traveled widely, listen to groundbreaking acts like James Taylor and Creed and should be able to reassure you that they know every hoodlum in the ghetto and go there all the time. Please bear in mind that these men and women only go to the ghetto with a film crew and 1000 US dollars in hand, but don’t let that trouble you. Ghetto people are just people, except that they are from the ghetto.
Now comes your cast. School girls in dark blue uniforms are a must but so too are children who do not seem to go to school, especially if you are shooting on what is clearly a school day. Their purpose is the run behind your vehicle screaming and laughing. Nobody scowls in the ghetto. The sidewalk must be taken up with five to ten men, preferable old and playing dominoes. You must get the action right. Make sure you zoom in to a medium shot just as the winning Negro rises and slams the winning domino on the table, breaking the table in two. Next pan upwards to the cute ghetto girls looking out their window, pan back down to catch more ghetto kids running and smiling then scoot the dolly over to catch the Granny, whose toothy grin belies a lack of actual teeth. Make sure she smiles for two teeth are better than too many. Her hair should be in two pigtails like a Native American and she must be selling something, preferably fruits, vegetables and cigarettes. Under no circumstances should an adult man be shot beside a child. That would imply that he is the father and everybody knows that ghetto kids ain’t got no daddy.
Come to think of it, forget, the ghetto; you must shoot in the uberghetto. Remember that poor Jamaica is the real Jamaica. Forget high-rise buildings, Taino tribal grounds, the second oldest railroad track in the world, and the most fascinating network of underground caves in the Caribbean. You need bad roads, shit running down the side walks, zinc fences, tenements and gunmen, because this is the real Jamaica. Please have the locals stack 12 speakers together, 3 in a row and have the natives come out to wind their waists and slam dominoes on the table or your viewers will think that it’s Haiti. You must shoot in district of Waterhouse. This will be in your contract for Waterhouse is the music video ghetto of choice, probably because the quick to be violent blackies aren’t so violent there. But be sure to buy the men in mesh merinos a hot Guinness or you might not make it out of there alive. Remind yourself that if Alicia Keys can shoot there, you can too.
Should you meet a gunman make sure to genuflect in the usual fashion. But feel free to pass off an offensive comment so that the Jamaican crew can never shoot in that place again. The nature of that comment is up to you but forgo the racial for Jamaican Negroes are not black. Make sure you have extra film left for the midnight dance so you can remark how bestial and sexual the natives can be while dancing. Listen as the Jamaican producer remarks that this is in keeping with our African culture, even though he or she will not do such things until after the wrap when they take you to Quad Nightclub where uptown people grind each other. Try a dance yourself but restrict it to hands, you don’t need to remind us that white people cannot dance for us to remember that we’re still safe. Because once you take our dances we’ll have nothing left! Don’t forget the smiling children.
Make sure there is at least one Rasta, Rastafarian to you. Please try your hardest to find one that is old and almost toothless as the young ones might make a play for your women folk. The Rastaman capacity for seduction is legendary, just ask a certain vogue editor about her Bob Marley lost weekend. One must have at least one Rasta to show the world that yes; Bob Marley’s spirit approves this video. Try to get somebody to wear a Bob Marley T-Shirt while at it. While you cast for Rastas makes sure that wardrobe drapes the video in red, green and gold as these are the only colours that Jamaicans wear. Except the dark blue uniforms of the school children. Extra points if the Rasta is a coconut vendor for you can include a shot of him decapitating said nut and drinking the juice to reassure your women that a big black man with a machete is not a creature of violence but quaint beauty.
All women must be fat. Your video babe will be imported so there is no need to search for Jamaican women that American men find attractive. Your women must have big, big, big breasts. Mount Everbreasts. She must sport two wheelbarrows to carry each tit. And with big breasts must come wide hips and monstrous thighs that could squash a penis into a flounder. She must always have a basket of fruits on her head, even though this is the ghetto. She must blush when called for, wind her waist on cue and disappear as soon as a white woman enters the shot.
When you have wrapped up the ghetto scenes, then it’s time for the other real Jamaica. The deep blue seas, the wide expansive sunrises and the Rastas on the beach. Under no circumstances should you shoot a building that is more than two stories high or was built in the 20th century. In fact, make sure your structure or edifice is not taller than 12 speakers placed together in rows of three. This is to remind American viewers that Jamaicans party all the time and have no need for houses or workplaces. Never ever let on that any Jamaican works for a living in any other profession but selling fruit and cigarettes on the street corner. Have you gotten the sun rising over the mountains shot? The sun rising over the sea? The sun rising over the ghetto? Good. Now shoot your sunsets. When that’s done go to a market and shoot some more market women selling fruit. And running children.
Make sure all of this is done before you shoot your star or he or she may have to wait among poor people. This your star may find extremely unpleasant because then he or she will have to take pictures with babies who have never heard of her. And while no criminal lives in the ghetto you might still want to spring for extra security because it’s not their fault that they may want to take stuff that is not theirs. Private property? Bah!
Please also remember not to pay the extras. You will only create monsters that will then expect to be paid for actually working on your production. Believe the Jamaican producer when he tells you that the locals will be so happy to be in your video that they won’t even take your money, after all, what use is money to poor people? Make sure you thank the Jamaica Tourist Board for allowing you to film Jamaica in the way they like Jamaica to be filmed. Granted, nobody at the tourist board had ever seen or will ever see the ghetto (except in music videos), but they trust that you had found lots of smiling black children and a red green and gold color scheme to play with. And even if you did not, throw in two or three sunsets and they will call it even. And when you finally wrap up your shoot and fly back to where you came from, please come back again soon. Without you, there’s no work for the country to do.
PS: If you think I'm joking, google "Jamaican children," click images and see what comes up.