Moodoïd x Nick Roney: When the Audition Becomes the Music Video Itself

When the casting call came out in Los Angeles for the role of Miss Smith in French rock band Moodoïd’s new music video (itself entitled Miss Smith), little did the responding actresses know that the casting process was being filmed and would become the music video itself. Director Nick Roney’s resulting video is a maze of meta wormholes in which the viewer cannot tell music video apart and the music video’s production itself.

“Sometimes casting gets a little too personal”, reads the only text to guide viewers through Miss Smith. While Moodoïd’s song itself addresses the replacement of love loss, Nick Roney and Moodoïd frontman Pablo Padovani’s video is an assemblage of self-referential material which raises the bar for interdisciplinary fusions of music video and short film.

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After some searching, we found the right dimension in which to ask director Nick Roney some questions.

THE PLUS: This is a very creative video. What was idea behind creating the music video in this way?
Nick Roney:
The idea was partly inspired by Salaam Cinema, an Iranian meta experiment in which the auditions for the film are the film. Actors, unaware they’ve already landed starring roles just by auditioning, are put through a series of theatre exercises. A vulnerability emerges from these improvised scenes that is instantly gripping and funny. It’s the type of stripped-down, emotionally charged humour to which I aspire.

TP: Tell us about the shoot – where was it and how long did it take?
NR:
We shot in Grenada Hills for 15 hours at an Eichler home. 

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TP: What was it like working with Moodoïd?
NR:
Pablo Padovani, the Moodoïd frontman made this happen. He reached out to me a couple of times last year and our schedules finally aligned. It was probably the most collaborative relationship I’ve had with an artist. We found ourselves not just swapping ideas but also spit.  

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TP: What’s your opinion on art that dissolves the distinction between aesthetics and real life?
NR:
Drama that plays out in reality has higher stakes than fiction, which means it’s more entertaining. I think because of the internet/reality TV we expect things to be real and if they’re not, they increasingly seem mild. For that reason, I wanted to follow through on the verité aspects of the concept as much as possible. A couple of scenes came out of this process I never would have thought of on my own, such as the actress leaving. I even tried to get the real Miss Smith to show up at the end, but the label wasn’t down. 

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TP: What do you, and don’t you, enjoy about casting?
NR:
There’s a lot of excitement in casting, a nervous energy. The actors don’t know what they’re doing and I haven’t figured out what I’m doing yet, so we’re forced to experiment. It’s liberating and fun.

TP: When can we expect your next video?
NR:
Not sure! Nothing on the horizon at the moment. Hopefully I can book something soon. 

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TP: Should a music video communicate the message of the music or can it be semi-autonomous?
NR:
I think the purpose of music videos is to show that the artist can portray the character they’re pretending to be in their music. For a music video to be successful you need to make that character believable or if they’re already established, take that character to a new place. Of course there are loads of videos without the artists in them. In which case, the video is less about their character and more about the band’s image, but I think the same idea applies. Ultimately, you’re having a conversation with the fans and you want to give them something to chew on.

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