Making its world premiere on YouTube today, April 20, the 17th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, is a music video tackling issues related to teen suicide, bullying and gun violence in schools.
“When Will it End” is a collaboration between former Chicago filmmaker Sean Patrick Fahey, who has been working in Los Angeles since 2012, and alternative country artist Keith Carrington. It was shot by DP Jamieson Mulholland.
Choreographed to lyrics like, “she took her own life” and “school’s gonna pay,” the story reverses the tragic bullying scenario that has become all too familiar to lonely young Americans.
“We wanted to open up the dialog on this issue,” explains Fahey. “Are we doing enough to address the needs of the youth in America so that they know their voices can be heard when they feel lost?”
The narrative plays in a 360-degree virtual environment that corresponds to the movements of a smart phone.
“It gives you the view that you are the camera operator,” says Fahey, who felt that immersing viewers was the best way to support the song’s mission.
Fahey and Mulholland configured a VR 360 rig and six GoPro Hero4 cameras to capture every angle of scenes filmed in two impeccably upscale LA locations: a teenage girl’s bedroom and the outdoor lockers of Loyola Marymount high school. The resulting footage — stitched together in Kona Auto-Pano Pro, cleaned up in After Effects and assembled in Premiere Pro — is nothing short of elegant.
But the sacrifice required to film in every direction meant that the entire crew, including the director, had to leave the set when the cameras started rolling.
“It was like the old days when you’re shooting 35,” Fahey says. “You would rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and then trust your actors because you couldn’t even be in the room during the shoot.”
Fahey credits the cast for keeping it real. “Over 500 kids auditioned and we hired twenty,” he says. “They all had experience in bullying one way or the other and during production there were actually some tears.”
Anchoring their performance is Dieterich Gray, a Chicago-raised, LA-based actor who appeared in this season’s “American Horror Story.” According to Fahey, Gray was a perfect complement to the directing style and the narrative mood.
Working on socially conscious themes is not new to Fahey. He transformed America’s mortgage meltdown into a fun-loving adventure for the award-winning documentary, “Bailout.” But treating such intensely delicate emotions presented an altogether different challenge.
With the expertise of “Bailout” DP Mulholland and a spiritually mature ensemble of yooung talent, he nailed it.
Fahey first learned about “When Will It End” from singer / songwriter Keith Carradine, whom he met in the Topanga Canyon coffee shop that became his favorite place to write after relocating from Chicago. He agreed to direct the video immediately after hearing its theme.
“I experienced bullying as a kid,” he says. “I felt like I was going crazy and didn’t know who to talk to.”