We did it! We completed one of our biggest and most intense projects so far. We were given the chance to produce what we call “Hero Packages” for Fall Out Boy’s ‘MA N I A’ tour.
So, what does that mean? This: we were tasked with creating cohesive video content that was played on a massive LED screen behind the band; the goal being to compliment their performances without being totally distracting. We shot, edited, and produced videos that accompanied songs like, “Uma Thurman,” and “Phoenix,”, as well as a fun intermission video that plays half way through the set. Our buddy and Cinema 4D badass Matt Barker even got to play one of the llamas in the video.
All this content had to be subtle enough to not pull from the main attraction, yet stunning enough to add an extra dimension to the tour. So, in order to do this, we had to take a trip to Cleveland, and spend a week making sure everything was up to speed and executed according to what the band wanted and expected. We posted up in an arena where the band would rehearse for a whole week leading up to the first show. While hundreds of people assembled the stages (of which there were three, not to mention a really long catwalk), and tested the sound and the lights, we were working on edits, animations, and ideas that we thought might lend themselves to the aesthetic and attitude of the tour.
It was a crazy up and down experience, with many peaks and valleys that we had to power through. It was something that we hadn’t really experienced before. If you keep up with our projects, you’ll remember that we did this with Train for their Play That Song tour earlier this year. Due to the powerhouse that is Fall Out Boy, and their devout fan base that has stuck around since the beginning of their colorful career, we took painstaking time to deliver content that would please the fans and the band alike. We had to really be on call in case that, at the last minute, the band management or the guys themselves wanted something changed. That could be the timing of an edit in accordance with an FOB song, or something as drastic as scrambling to put together a different video entirely. That type of on-the- fly video work was definitely a challenge, but it was an unforgettable learning experience too.
Once the day finally came for the tour to be unveiled to the public, we watched the stage get torn down, moved, and reassembled again, this time at the Quicken Loans Arena (this massive process of megalithic set up and teardown is worthy of a blog in itself, or hell, even a documentary). Then, as the day wore on, we watched fans fill the arena. We worked on some last minute details, as always seems to be the case, and the evening arrived quicker than seemed possible. When the lights went down, and the countdown intro video began, the crowd erupted. Being able to see our work that we had slaved over on the big screen, seeing all the people dancing and singing, the pyrotechnics, and the whole production, was a major highlight of 2017 for us. Knowing that we had been able to contribute to such a big project, and to see people really reacting to what we had worked on, suddenly all the long hours didn’t seem so long. We were still as tired as dogs, but it was accompanied by a huge swell of fulfillment. There was a large amount of pressure on us to really pull our weight and perform our best, and to see all of that hard work really appreciated by both the band and the crowd really lifted that weight.
The big thing we now know we have to remember is that, on a project like this, sometimes what we like ends up not being what “they” like! In the end, it is their content, their show, and their vision. As artists, we do respect that. We were there to do a job and execute what they wanted to the best of our ability, so that is what we did. Sure, it’s a bummer when what we are really proud of and what we worked hard on isn’t what they’re looking for, but that’s the job, and it pushes us to do our best, again and again. So even if it’s a bummer, it’s a necessary one. The experience as a whole was exhilarating, in an exhausting, and sometimes defeating way. It’s an experience that we can pull from and learn from, and will do so going forward. We sincerely hope the FOB fans like what we’ve prepared for them!