"Nothing is what it seems because we live in a collective dream."

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Februari 2020, the Covid pandemic was about to break out and everyone was required to stay indoors. It didn't matter much to me because I would be locked in my room for the next eight months anyway. I was about to dive head first into my graduation assignment.

The assignment: Create a valuable and usable interactive/multimedia product. My initial idea was to make some kind of installation which combined music and visuals to create an immersive experience. And since I was a big fan of Delic’s music and art, his name was the first that popped into my head when I thought about source material. The first step was to ask Delic for permission to use his work.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Thursday, February 20, 2020
First Meeting
So I wrote him an email in which I explained my idea and sent him some of my own work. He must have seen something in my work because he replied by inviting me to his home to discuss some ideas. A couple of weeks later I was sitting in his living room. I remember being a bit nervous, because here was this guy I always looked up to and now I’m in his house.

We discussed some ideas and agreed that I could make use of his work for my project. But at the end of the conversation, Delic brought up another proposition. One that didn’t really correspond with my graduation assignment, but something I always wanted to do. He offered me a chance to make a music video for an upcoming song called: Behind the Curtain.

Now anyone with some sense would reject this offer. But because I’m an idiot who doesn’t like taking the easy route, I accepted this offer. Of course it would complicate my graduation assignment because I wasn’t meeting the exact conditions anymore. On the other hand, this was what I always dreamed of. It would have been much more safe and convenient to stay within the bounds of the project. But In this case I decided to follow my heart instead of my head. That's not something I would normally do, but I was cool with the risk involved.

So we started to schedule our meetings to lay a framework for the video. We’d set up a clear structure of assignments and deadlines, usually planning calls every week on the same day. We deliberately set it up as straightforwardly as possible. Because when you’re dealing with scatterbrained people like us, any change in rhythm can derail the process to some extent. This happened a few times during the project, after which I learned that I work best on regularity and clarity. Skip as much bullshit as possible and get right to the point.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
February 20 - March 17, 2020
Stage one - The story and Pre-visualization
The first important step was figuring out the essence of the song. What does Behind the Curtain mean? I asked Delic this question and this was his answer:

“Not everything is what our brains think it is. Our daily reality is actually a 'construction of the senses'. In reality, there is only a constantly moving field from which an incredible amount of data enters our senses and our brain creates an everyday picture of this.

A chameleon translates all this input from this field into a completely different picture than humans, for example. 

So we all live in our own dreams. Humanity lives in a collective dream.” 

Now, this is quite an abstract concept. So Delic added his personal interpretation:

“Breaking patterns. Mastering your mind. Evolve from a (reactive) robot into a human with authority over your own mind.” 

The most important aspect of the videoclip was its visual appeal. The story didn't have to be complex. Storywise, I wanted it to be somewhat generic so anyone could relate to it. Delic and Huda insisted that we’d stay away from any political, social or societal theme but instead had to focus on the personal aspect of human beings. With that being said, It was just a matter of filling in a traditional three-act story structure: The setup, confrontation and resolution. So this is what we came up with after our second appointment:
February 20 - March 17, 2020
March, 2020
The Setup:

Our main character is locked in an empty room. In other words: Locked in his own mind which is a hypnotized state of being. He sits on a couch staring at the TV. His eyes are twirling, indicating his hypnotized state. Then something happens which makes him snap out of it. I chose a chameleon to be the disruptive factor. One could argue that I chose a chameleon because of its metaphoric value. The truth is, I just thought a chameleon had a great visual appeal because of all its weird features.

The confrontation:

The chameleon interrupts the connection between the main character and the TV. This causes some kind of short-circuit that releases a force which I called ‘the Frequence’. This symbolized the energy that represents breaking free from patterns that prevent you from evolving. In other words: Mastering your Mind. The main character is sucked into the TV after which he falls into some kind of dream. In this dream he sees multiple copies of himself sitting at a richly set table. But before he gets a chance to join, all the food gets devoured by his copies. This symbolizes his own selfishness. The copies transform into demons that haunt him into the darkness.

The resolution:

The main character falls through a black hole out of the sky. He has now seen the light which is symbolized by the energy field around him. It makes him float over a city. As he looks down he sees all people are hypnotized. So he decides to spread the frequency throughout the city and set everyone free.
March, 2020
March, 2020
With the foundation of the story in place, I could start the pre-visualization process. This meant that I had to make concept art, character designs and a storyboard.
March, 2020

Music videos serve as a visual accompaniment to the song. Therefore, the visual style is an essential component. By creating concept art, the visual style can be determined. Furthermore, it can serve as an inspiration source for the rest of the process.


Sketch 1


Sketch 2


Sketch 3

This trio of sketches was the first step towards the final visual style of the video. Delic and Huda were excited about them, even though the character looked quite similar to the figures from the music videos of the Gorillaz. Therefore, the next step was to create character designs:


Sketch 1


Sketch 2


Sketch 3


Sketch 4


Sketch 5


Sketch 6

This design got picked for the main character:

Mannetje Design_oud

Version 1

Mannetje Design

Final Version

Slightly modified

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March - October, 2020
Production Process
With the pre-visualization done, the production started. The first step was to turn the storyboard into an animatic. This way
March - October, 2020