“You’re So Pony” Interview Part 1 – Liz Manashil
Liz Manashil is the director of the music video for Beth Thornley’s song “You’re So Pony”. We asked her a few questions about what it was like being a female director and what she likes to nerd out about.
1) What inspired you to do this video? Especially, what gave you the idea to have adults play the kids and kids play the adults?
To be honest, I was really really bored. When I was in film school, I always had projects to look forward to and wrap my mind around. After graduating, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was at my day job and put on Jersey Shore to distract me. I heard the song and something took over. Even though I had never directed a music video and had only heard the song once, I just found Beth’s website and emailed her and asked if she wanted a music video for “You’re So Pony.” I got really lucky as Beth is pretty much the coolest woman in the world. Regarding the concept- When I heard the lyrics “you’re so pony” I kept thinking about that cliche the little girls all want to own ponies. I interpreted her song as her liking her mate as much as a little girl would love a pony– I felt the song was an expression of childlike enthusiasm. Thats what prompted the concept of an inversion of ages. Beth is an adult but she’s singing about tapping into energy that only a child can access. To make it more fun, we brought the ages up a little bit because who doesn’t love an awkward spin the bottle party?!
2) What is the process like working on a music video like this?
The process of making the music video was much like every other project I did at USC film school. Compiling a crew, setting the dates, asking questions- Constantly being in communication. Beth and I had phone calls and emails all the time. They were great because she really was respectful to the process but also helped morph the concept into what it is now- a project that I am so proud of and love! This project came together inch by inch and email by email. We were so fortunate that a lot of people were willing to take pay cuts because it was an opportunity to work on something that will actually get seen by an audience. Beth has a loyal and active following. Most of all, I felt a lot of freedom in working on a music video because I had always been so tied to documentary and dialogue based films. This process was an opportunity to let go and trust the camera and editing and the concept (along with the amazing song Beth wrote) to tell the story.
3) What was the experience for you as a female director? Are there any special challenges with that?
I haven’t really faced the problems of being a woman director yet. I have been warned by a lot of men in the industry that I’ve been lucky and that kind of discrimination is still out there. My cast and crew were there and listened to my vision and were right there to suggest alternatives if things weren’t working or to trust me when I knew they would. I really grew up on “You’re So Pony.” My AD Michael Callahan saw me struggling on set one day and pulled me aside and told me to trust my instincts. That’s something you really need to do. So I struggled more as a shy nervous director than as a woman.
4) What other projects have you done recently? Can you tell us about any differences working on those projects?
I just finished my second feature script and am sending it out- its a darker romantic comedy about the lack of importance of mental stability in order for a romance to survive, it’s called “Bread and Butter.” I’d love to do another music video and I’m currently looking for bands and looking to collaborate. I also am a director and on-air reviewer for www.justseenit.com- a great movie review webisode and I work for fabulous TV director Michael A Simon!
5) Last question is a bit off topic, but… Here at Nerds in Babeland, we like to nerd out about things. What is something you nerd out about?
In addition to my obsession with the movies, I’m a big oldies nerd. I love the Beatles (of course) and I’m a big big Buddy Holly fan. I’m just a huge huge dork about oldies. My boss, during downtimes, will play “Name that Tune” with me and he’ll play the opening seconds of a 60s or 50s song and I usually identify right off the bat. But 90s? Not so good.
That concludes Part 1 of our interview. Part 2 will be with the artist, Beth Thornley. You can find the video for “You’re So Pony” here.
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