Two new music videos produced by Margo Cavis and Howard M. Christopherson premiered on November 27th at the Parkway Theater highlighting new songs by Minnesota singer/ song writer Paul Metsa. The Parkway Theater event Skyway to Hell is a celebration of Paul Metsa’s 30 years performing and a CD - DVD release. Each high definition video DVD will be included in Paul Metsa and Sony Earl’s newest EP CD titled No Money Down.
Videos Produced by: Margo Cavis / Digital Elves & Howard M. Christopherson / People, Places & Dreams
It all started when Paul Metsa shared his new song No Money Down with his long- time friend Howard M. Christopherson. “No Money Down spoke to me; these have been tough days with a suffering economy and many of my friends are out of work. Paul’s song expresses these hard times.” – Howard M. Christopherson
Recently Howard M. Christopherson had worked with Margo Cavis on a documentary project in South Dakota and he had an idea. He asked Margo if she would be interested in collaborating together on a music video for Paul’s new song. Immediately after hearing it, Margo agreed and together they asked Paul if he wanted a music video for No Money Down and Paul said yes.
“Howard M. Christopherson is not only a friend, but also one of my favorite photographers. I jumped at the chance to work with he and Margo Cavis. Both videos, while different, totally reflect the mood and sentiment of each song. We have packaged them on their own disc, along with the 6 song EP/CD that is called No Money Down. It was also a pleasure shooting No Money Down in Nordeast, my neighborhood since 1996.” – Paul Metsa
“As soon as Howard sent me Paul’s song “No Money Down”, I knew I’d have to make a music video for him. The song had this gritty emotion to it that immediately conjured up images and ideas in my mind. The 3 of us met to brainstorm and the excitement grew. As soon as we began to shoot the video, things just fell into place. Both Paul Metsa and Howard Christopherson have this amazing ability to get complete strangers excited and willing to be involved. Not only did we find many interesting strangers along the way, but we also were able to enlist the help of several family members and friends – which really made the whole project very personal.” – Margo Cavis
No Money Down is mostly shot in and around the Northrup King Building in N.E. Minneapolis, home to many art studios and art related businesses including Christopherson’s Icebox Quality Framing & Gallery.
The old red brick warehouse gives the video texture and grit to a song about wishing for perfection in a world that runs less than perfectly on money. The majority of the video was shot in two beautiful days in September. Paul Metsa dressed in a vintage brown blazer plays an old beat up guitar that he was given years ago throughout the video. Sony Earl, who plays harmonica on the song, wears a vest and hat along with a belt filled with harmonicas and performs along with Paul in a freight elevator and outside in the shadow of a grain elevator.
Scenes include people met during the shooting under railway bridges, in a NE bar, a used car dealership and a man repairing bicycles with his tiny dog. “Things just kept appearing in front of us that made so much sense to the video. The video seemed to grow from a seed. We walked into a corner bar just before they started karaoke and the bartender let Paul play to the crowd while Margo filmed. The people got so into it they threw money at Paul and danced. When we were under a bridge shooting, a man walked by and we ended up including him. He started singing No Money Down with Paul; it could not have been better. A group of people shopping for used cars on a Sunday afternoon got caught up in the song. Margo was shooting as we walked around. Soon we encountered a NE resident sitting outside his house repairing a bicycle. Without a second thought he invited Paul to sit next to him and his dog for No Money Down. “–Howard M. Christopherson
Howard M. Christopherson was concentrating on Paul and Sony’s energy, people they encountered, light and location. Margo Cavis was filming every moment as they moved from location to location. They moved quickly from place to place. It was Margo Cavis who took all the pieces and matched them so perfectly to the song. Her sense of timing is as good as her natural ability to put the puzzle pieces together.
Other scenes in No Money Down include a young girl holding a picture of Jesus separated from Paul by a fence. The same girl is wishing with a dandelion and saving her pennies to give to the musician. Two young girls dressed like they are going to a funeral pray for change. Sony Earl appears to be sidetracked by a woman who wants his money. An old freight elevator appears to lower both musicians to hell. A mystery woman drives away with and without Paul Metsa in a shiny black Studebaker. A poor man sleeps on a park bench and kids play catch with a ball.
The No Money Down video is wonderfully edited by Margo Cavis and punctuated with graphic words emphasizing the lyrics and summed up near the end with still images by Howard M. Christopherson and an ending in B&W very reminiscent of a Charlie Chaplin movie with both musicians walking away down a railroad track.
“How about another video?” asked Paul Metsa near the completion of No Money Down. Margo Cavis was up to her eyeballs still editing the No Money Down video when Paul asked them if they wanted to work on his second new song Whiskey or the Rain.
“As I was still editing No Money Down, Paul asked if I’d consider filming another video. Originally we were just going to shoot Paul & Sonny in the studio, but then Howard had an idea. The “Whiskey or the Rain” video was Howard’s vision – simple and elegant. I was able to use my connection to Hennepin Technical College to have a studio, 3 matching high-quality HD cameras and a crew to shoot this video in one evening. Jeanie did a wonderful job dancing – truly captivating.” – Margo Cavis
“Paul Metsa sent me the song Whiskey or the Rain late one night and I listened to it several times. I loved the song and the melody but felt exhausted from the No Money Down project and did not know where to go with this much slower love song. I kept listing to the song but I could not connect the visual to it in a literal way like we had on No Money Down. I decided to tell Paul that I did not know what to do with it and he would have to be happy with one video. I left my studio late that night and found my car covered in beaded up raindrops. It stopped me in my tracks. I remember asking myself should I climb four flights of stairs and forgo eating my already late dinner just to grab my camera? I did and I came back to my car and shot some images through the windows with my digital camera and liked what I saw. I immediately drove into downtown Minneapolis that night shooting with my camera in one hand filling up a memory card with rainy night images of lights, rain drops, people and traffic. It was the background for a vision I now had for the song. A woman would be dancing in the streets to the song Whiskey or the Rain. “ –Howard M. Christopherson
Paul Metsa and Sony Earl both like the idea after seeing the colorful night images of Minneapolis. They gave the go ahead and Howard called a model / dancer friend Jeanie who he knew would be perfect for the project. Jeanie loved the song and the visuals and agreed to choreograph the song and dance it straight through in front of a green screen.
Margo Cavis took over at that point, organizing a crew to film Jeanie dancing. Margo later took Christopherson’s still images and animated them behind Jeanie dancing fluidly in a red dress as if she is on the streets in a whiskey-induced dream. Jeanie amazed all when she started dancing to the song, we all new she was perfect. Margo Cavis did her magic again on this video adding mood-setting sound effects to the credits and superb editing throughout.
Whiskey or the Rain is a different video than No Money Down. It is not as power- packed or literal. Whiskey or the Rain is beautifully simple, allowing the viewer to get lost in the lyrics of the song and be mesmerized by the colors and beauty of dance.