David Knight - 9th June 2009

From the parade of crying faces in Godley & Creme's Cry, to Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2U, to Jon Glazer's vid for Nick Cave's In Your Arms.... there are few more affecting sights in videos than having people blubbing directly to camera.

This is Terri duo Cory Creasey and Ian Kibbey's first video in ages, and a bit different from their usual meticulous approach on account of being turned around extremely quickly. But it still happens to be one of the best things they've done. The casting was all-important, and the casting is great - and it's a perfect role for indie ice-queen Annie.

Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey on making the video for St Vincent's Actor Out Of Work

Corey: We hadn't done a video for a year, and then this kind of fell into our lap. We were in the middle of a commercial when we were asked to write on St Vincent. We said we'd love to, but had to come up with an idea very quickly.

Ian: It was shooting a week later. We loved the track, and were trying to come up with something - and then our executive producer Jason Botkin had the simple idea of having actors making themselves cry at a casting call. It was a weird one because usually we do everything ourselves - especially coming up with the idea for the treatment. But this one was a real collaboration from start to finish.

Corey: And it was a break from our usual stuff doing something less scripted.

Ian: What we realized with the casting was that we were capturing each event with each actor. Once they'd done [the crying] once it was very hard for them to do it again, so we had to be pretty flexible.

Corey: It was all about capturing the artificiality of it. There was a weird tension, and people had really different responses. They approached it as a skill or an ability - and I'm not sure how much they understood exactly what we were trying to capture. We weren't hiding it. But it was like asking a magician to show us all their tricks. Some people were pinching themselves to make themselves cry, others had no trouble.

Ian: It was interesting to see them go from zero to crying in no time. A lot of actors are happy to show those tricks. And we were very happy to get actors with real soap opera pedigree. We got the casting tapes and saw fifty people in a row just bawling.

Corey: We never had to make an actor cry before. And when you can't imagine yourself doing it, you worry. We were making these elaborate plans to make people cry. The problem became the opposite. We needed to show that 'it was all an act'. In fact, Logan our editor did a really good job at finding those moments that told the story.

Ian: Annie had immediately responded positively to the treatment we wrote and she was very keen on the idea. And when you see her in person she's very striking - big eyes. It was a weird set for her to walk on to and see what we were doing with the actors. But she was unbelievably patient.

Corey: She must have sung the song fifty times straight through. She worked out perfectly. What's great is that she has a real persona. We knew that Annie's performance tends to be calm - engaging but cool. It would not have been the same video with someone else.

David Knight - 9th June 2009

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