Meet Gavin Michael Booth: Weightless with Third Eye Blind
I had the pleasure of interviewing Gavin Michael Booth on behalf of 3EB LIFESTYLE, a site dedicated to celebrating Front Man Stephan Jenkins and Third Eye Blind for 20 Years In The Blind.
There is nothing like interviewing someone who is excited about the interview, because it gets you equally excited and more involved with the background of the person you’re interviewing.
I knew Gavin had an extensive history with Third Eye Blind, however, I was unaware of just how involved he truly is with every aspect of production for more than just music videos. To prepare for my interview, I headed directly to his website and I found myself intrigued in a whirlwind of music videos by various artists, movie trailers, and more Third Eye Blind footage... for hours.
[Nicole Coletta] Hi Gavin! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with 3EB Lifestyle, our Experts are so excited to hear from you about your view from the production side of working with Third Eye Blind. In this interview, we are hoping to cover Third Eye Blind (of course) and the video premiere from their EP, We Are Drugs, Weightless, other projects you have been working on, and your personal life - if thats cool? Don't worry, I won't dig too deep! (laughing)
A little bit about myself, so you know who is interviewing you -- My name is Nicole Coletta, I am Head of Operations and a Creative at 3EB Lifestyle, I also run the 3EB Misfits. I've been a die hard fan of Third Eye Blind, since the beginning, 1997 and I have seen them LIVE over 30 times now. I really want to see "The Scarehouse" even though I will probably have nightmares for the rest of my life. (laughing) Lets get started!
[NC] So Gavin, it seems like you are a jack of all trades - you are an award winning film maker first and foremost - but you are also a writer, producer, director, cinematographer, and editor. What is your all time favorite job to do? Why?
[Gavin Michael Booth] That's a tough one, but, I will say writing. I set out to write movies originally. Growing up in small town Canada, I didn't know anyone who made films. There wasn't social media back when I started out, so no way of posting "hey I want to make a movie I wrote, who can direct? Who can edit?" I learned all of it on my own. In high school, I was that typical Audio/Visual geek, running around making short films for my projects instead of writing essays. If you ever watch "The Goldbergs" the character Adam, that is basically me. The camcorder went everywhere and as my writing evolved, I picked up the filmmaking skills along the way and fell in love with other areas.
Still today, writing is my favorite part. You are free to make it anything, to be as experimental as you want, you don't have to have deadlines, collaborate, or worry about budget. You are creative and that's all that matters. Every other step of filmmaking is quite grueling and heartbreaking, as it is just a series of things forcing you to move away from the original script idea, due to one form of constraint or another.
[NC] Theres "To Hell, With Love" and "The Scarehouse", both horror films, and then there is "Orange Lipstick", more of a drama. All three have a deep and dark message, but, are so different at the same time. Do you use real life scenarios you've personally dealt with as inspiration for these films? Or do you just have a incredible imagination?
[GMB] I mean, yes. In the loosest term, yes. Have I murdered people? No. Have I wanted to murder someone? On the record, no, but you know... your blood boils sometimes. I think anything that I've written, there are tidbits of my views, my thoughts, my stamp on character traits, etc. But, largely, thankfully, "The Scarehouse" and "To Hell, With Love" were born out of pure fiction. Even then, "The Scarehouse" is a real place in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. My best friend, Shawn Lippert, owns and operates it as my home city's annual Halloween fun house. I saw the behinds-the-scenes in there with all the lights on for a change and the ideas started flowing - right then and there I thought, "What if two people built a fun house specifically to murder people that didn't realize they were walking into a trap?" Shawn, having the expertise and the access to a fun house, gave me so much to think about and work with in writing the film. So yes, some real life scenarios, but not in the way you might think. Also, with "To Hell, With Love", I've never murdered a prostitute (that they can charge me with!) but I do wonder a lot about the afterlife, especially being an atheist. The scripts are always born out of things that I like and am interested in and I think I can tell a story unlike other stories I've seen on the screen.
However, with "Orange Lipstick", I didn't write the film, that is the work of leading lady, Kristina Denton. I was brought on as the director and editor. I've written dramatic projects in the past and my next feature film shooting soon is a drama. I don't like just one genre. Same with music videos, they sometimes are dark, sometimes bubble gum light, sometimes off the wall ideas, sometimes melodramatic; I just kind of like doing it all and don't only want to do one style.
[NC] You seem to be partial to Third Eye Blind, what keeps you coming back for more with these guys? What is the difference between working with Third Eye Blind as opposed to other artists?
[GMB] I'm actually very fortunate to have a handful of artists that continue to build a working relationship with me. For example, Gavin Slate, an indie singer-songwriter, I've done all seven of his music videos thus far, have shot two more and have no plans at stopping there. A good creative marriage shouldn't be broken up. If it works, it works. You get to know what styles each others likes and expectations will be. You are able to get to the goal that much faster knowing that all walking into the project each time.
With Third Eye Blind, they've always been good to me from the very beginning days of my career and continue to come up with fun and exciting projects. Beyond just the work, I cannot begin to list or explain how many other creative partnerships and friendships have grown out of knowing and working with the guys. I have friends, very dear to me, in places all over North America that began through a Third Eye Blind concert or video shoot. It is actually staggering how much I really owe to the guys (note: past and present members) for career opportunities.
Third Eye Blind is a prime example of a band with a vision. Stephan, specifically, knows what he wants and wants you to always be honing in on that vision.
It's an exercise in bringing an understanding and ability to execute ideas that best represent the band or a specific song. Most artists, I work with, allow me to pitch the idea, and I’ll handle all production set up and see through editing and everything else. But with the guys, specifically Stephan, they are very collaborative and hands on in a way that is always refreshing to me and keeps me on my toes.
[NC] How did you first meet Third Eye Blind?
[GMB] That's a whole story in itself. The story goes something like this: I was living back home in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Which is right next to Detroit, Michigan. I started making fake Canadian media passes in order to get access to bands I wanted to meet or shows that I wanted to see for free. Third Eye Blind was one of the first bands to buy the schtick back in 2003. I forget who the tour managers was at the time, but, thank you for believing my terrible acting skills and getting me in. I was able to interview Stephan before the show and that was supposed to be it; I was supposed to leave but as I was being escorted out, Arion chatted me up, and we hit it off right away talking about movies. He had just had a cameo in the second Matrix movie and eventually he asked if I wanted a better, all access pass. Yes! Of course I did. So I stayed, and I filmed the show and chatted with Stephan, Arion and Vanessa Carlton, who was there than night - who I went on to work with a few years later. I went home, I stayed up all night on RedBull and edited a little four minute clip together. Keep in mind this is pre-Youtube! I emailed a clip to their management at the time and was called the next day saying how much they liked it. That begun the working relationship of being called in to film even more live material. It's been on and off through the years ever since then, and it is the best concert I've ever attended given the results!
[NC] Are fans of other celebrities and artists you have worked with in the past as passionate about the artist they follow as fans of Third Eye Blind are?
[GMB] Every band has their super fans, but, Third Eye Blind fans are a magical bunch. I'm not going to lie, they can be bizarre! However, it is a strange crowd as the age range is so varied, with the band's music finding younger generations all the time. It is really fascinating to see. Other bands that have gone the distance of twenty years, have mostly fans that are also now twenty years older, but Third Eye Blind's songs keeps connecting with college kids and bringing them out to the live shows. Old and new fans seem to have a thriving passion for being fans.
[NC] Have you ever had the pleasure of involving fans in music videos? What was it like? If not, would you consider?
[GMB] Yes, I've shot a few live acoustic shows where fans were interviewed and included in small audiences, but, with Third Eye Blind we actually shot a music video a little while ago that largely involves fans. We set up in several cities, the day of shows so we were able to use 100% real, true fans in the videos. That's all I can say about that for the time being since it isn't complete or released yet!
[NC] Talk to me about Blumhouses "Fifteen" It was the worlds first live stream movie (congrats!!) using Periscope. What went into making this happen? It seems to have been incredibly successful - do you plan on doing another?
[GMB] It is the world's first live stream movie using Periscope or any other format! Record books, baby! That was an idea I came up with the first time I used Periscope and thought someone should make a Blair Witch style film using live streaming... then I thought *I* should make that movie. I had a meeting with Blumhouse and they loved it. That was in August 2015 and in October 2015, we went live right before Halloween and it was incredibly refreshing to see the reaction. People genuinely loved it. We had a massive viewership and some people thought it was real - it was designed to have a bit of a War of the Worlds feel to it. That began as a radio broadcast in the 1930's that people didn't know was a radio drama. So we had people calling the police and writing Twitter/Periscope to shut the feed down when they thought a murderer was live streaming his evil deeds. I'd love to do another live event/movie somehow. I have a few ideas, but, like any movie or creative project, someone has to put up the budget and help get it made. It is always a balance between what I want to do and what I can get done.
[NC] The "Weightless" video was released today and has been received incredibly well by the fanbase. How much creative freedom does the band give you when you are working with them on music videos (specifically this one?)
[GMB] That's great to hear that fans love it! This video Stephan gave me a lot of freedom. It's a strange beast, as it was evolving as we shot. The video included footage we had previously shot and not put to use yet. There was a vibe Stephan wanted to aim for and I was given a lot of freedom to shoot it how I saw that vibe. This video in particular is unique as the bulk of it was shot in the Cayman Islands. We were much more relaxed in shooting it versus the usual time crunch and mad race to the finish line to meet deadlines. That adds to the scope of the video. Again, a really unique part of this video is having become friends with Kryz Reid. Anyone who knows knows Kryz, knows that he has a film making background and is a camera / tech geek when he's not killing it on guitar. He always has drones and GoPros and Sony cameras with him and he’s always shooting. It was great to involve his talents in this one and he fully deserves a full camera operator / drone operator credit for this video. Rarely are music videos made by just one person or a tiny crew, of course, but Kryz brought some great ideas and some of the most fantastic shots to Weightless.
[NC] DRONES! Lets talk about them, obviously Kryz is a huge drone guy. How much input did he have with the use of "Lil Geek" in the video "Weightless"?
[GMB] I don't think Lil Geek shot with us - I forget all the pet names, I'm much more in love with his guitar pet names since they are all Star Wars names and I'm a massive Star Wars nerd. As mentioned above, Kryz is the drone master and killed it with this video. He even managed to land a drone on a moving boat (which is a huge challenge) in order to get a sunset shot that I wanted. The man has serious skills with a DJI Phantom drone!
[GMB] The ideas come formed to me, so to be honest, I don't often know who's genius the idea was; where the inspiration came from. As much as we're friends and collaborators, I also do communicate often through their management. As for Stephan, I'm no push over and I'll fight for what I think is right in a creative project, but, Stephan is Stephan. I can respect a man that knows what he wants and has a singular focus to get there. Like I said earlier, it is refreshing and challenging and I'm always proud of the work we create together at the end of the day. That and Stephan has been overly generous in everything from mentorship and opportunity to networking me to other people through the years and I owe a big part of my career trajectory to him.
[NC] Summer Gods Tour is coming! Do you plan on attending any shows?
[GMB] Oh I'm sure I'll be around. It would be hard to believe if I wasn't at a good handful of shows and cities this year. It will depend on my shooting schedule for other projects, but, I'd say count on it.
[NC] What can we look forward to next from you?
[GMB] I have three music videos coming out in the next few weeks: Tim Hicks, Rosi Golan, Curtis Peoples (who wrote with Third Eye Blind on Dopamine and We Are Drugs, by the way!) I'm shooting a new film this year, it's under wraps right now, but, it's a drama and I'm very excited to get back on set for a feature film; it's been a few years. Other than that, there's always irons in the fire but it's terrible, no good, bad luck to talk about them until they are 100% set.
[NC] Anything else you would like to say to the 3EB Lifestyle members or the Third Eye Blind fanbase in general?
[GMB] I look forward to meeting more of you and forming friendships. Fans are the lifeline of any band. Third Eye Blind fans are the reason I get to keep working with the band! Fans want content. Fans support concerts, which means budgets for music videos, so by extension, in some small, teenie-tiny way, its all of Third Eye Blind's fans that made me sneaking into that first concert and the beginning of my career too. So... THANK YOU. I'll say THANK YOU.
I wanted to personally thank Gavin again, to sit down with me for this. It was more than a pleasure and I'm excited to announce this was my first interview with 3EB Lifestyle! So I hope you enjoyed it! Please take time to check out his work at gavinmichaelbooth.com or follow him on twitter to keep an up-to-date eye on his work with Third Eye Blind and other talented artists.
Have you bought your tickets to see Third Eye Blind this summer for the Summer Gods Tour? Get your tickets now!
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