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Yard Act '100% Endurance' by James Slater

Rob Ulitski - 23rd May 2022

James Slater completes his excellent series of videos for Leeds band Yard Act's first album The Overload with a superb valedictory effort for the album's final track 100% Endurance - starring iconic actor David Thewlis.

Thewlis wakes up on a street bench, finding himself on a suburban housing estate, surrounded by its residents. They are familiar faces to anyone who has watched the previous Yard Act videos, as most have appeared in one or more, playing the characters that populate the 'Yard Act universe' - created by the band's frontman, James Smith. 

Smith has played some characters himself in the preceding videos - a dodgy magician (in Land Of The Blind), a slippery estate agent (in Payday), and obnoxious club owner Graham (in The Overload). But in 100% Endurance, Thewlis plays Smith, more or less. Appropriately he takes over lipsync duties for the album's least abrasive, most philosophical song, as a world-weary but wise figure wondering among his fellow housing estate inhabitants.

James Slater then delivers an additional delicious curveball. Suddenly, a giant hand drops down into the scene - David Thewlis's. It picks up what turns out to be a tiny figurine of himself (or is it Smith?), from a miniature model version of the housing estate. It's a sudden, comic twist that resonates with the overriding theme of the song: 'what's it all about, anyway?...'

[Thewlis] really bought into it all and delivered a brilliant performance, tying the whole thing together.

"Prior to shooting 100% Endurance, I'd already been lucky enough to shoot four videos from The Overload," confirms Slater. "It's given us the opportunity to create our own Yard Act cinematic universe, with characters and themes recurring across all the films. With this video we wanted to wrap everything up. 

"I thought we should have a go at answering (that question) by revealing that the universe (well, the Yard Act universe at least) is in fact a miniature model set, kept atop Thewlis' spare room.

 "James and David had been chatting for a while, as it turned out he was a big fan of the band. He let us know he'd be up for doing a video and thankfully liked the idea. We shot it in his native Blackpool. He really bought into it all and delivered a brilliant performance, tying the whole thing together. I think he'll go far!"

It's testament to James Slater and his vision for bringing our songs to life every time.

James Smith adds that his experience of making this video was a combination of enjoyment and disbelief. “It was great shooting this video," he says. "I barely had to do anything, and I didn’t have fake facial hair glued to [my] head for once.

"I still can’t believe David got involved. I was such a fan of his work from Naked through to Fargo, and when I told James Slater he was interested in working with us, he was so buzzing. A brilliant actor, and an absolute joy to watch work. Equally so, he is a thoroughly decent, down-to-earth person who is funny as fuck, and that goes a fair way I reckon."

Smith also pays tribute to Slater's work across five videos for The Overload. “This video also stands as testament, once more, to James Slater and his vision for bringing our songs to life every time," he says. "I always knew we would revisit the world one last time to bring the whole concept of the album full circle, and I knew the final video would be for 100% Endurance. But once the album came out and touring kicked in, I never knew when we would find the time. Finally we did, and getting all the cast of characters back together felt lovely too.

"We’ve met so many ace people making these videos and the more you meet them, the easier it is. Bless everyone who was on board throughout. If no one figures it out in the next five years, I’ll do a thorough breakdown of all the videos with every reference, easter egg and narrative hint we stuck in there.”

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Rob Ulitski - 23rd May 2022

Tags

  • Comedy
  • Director's notes
  • Narrative
  • Pick of the Day
  • Performance
  • Special projects
  • Rock
  • Post-Punk
  • Alternative
  • David Thewlis
  • Black & White
  • Housing estate
  • Miniatures

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Credits

Production/Creative

Director
James Slater
Producer
Jack Hartley
Producer
Rosie Ford
Production Company
1st AD
Ben Eve
Floor Runners
Lydia Shenton, Georgia Brown

Camera

Director of Photography
Aaron Dunleavy
Focus Puller
Sam James
2nd AC
Brody Salmon
Steadicam
Mihai Virlan

Lighting/Grip

Gaffer
Chris Sargent
Spark
Jordan Beaumont

Art

Production designer
Ruta Staseviciute
Art Director
Lucy Gregory
Model Maker
Ruta Staseviciute

Casting

Casting director
Jack Hartley
Lead actor
David Thewlis

Editorial

Editor
Matthew Prickett
Editing company
Edit Producer
Lola Cookman

Grading

Colourist
Andi Chu
Colour grade company
Black Kite Studios

Agent

Director's Representation

Commission

Commissioner
Sam Flynn
Label
Island Records

Misc

Colour Producer
Jade Denne

Rob Ulitski - 23rd May 2022

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