By Director/Producer Steve Nguyen
To be given the opportunity to direct a youthful and vibrant talent such as 15-year old YouTube singer-songwriter Megan Lee has been one of the most rewarding experiences to date. Our commitment to making a piece that would encapsulate everything about Megan was always the number one priority going into this piece. Even when we had first introduced ourselves, it took almost a year to figure out how our styles would mesh.
People had asked me throughout the process if it was an honor to be chosen to direct Megan’s first music video, but the truth is that it almost didn’t happen. It wasn’t the fact that our schedules kept conflicting, but mostly because I wasn’t too familiar with what Megan was all about. I bet in the back of her mind, I probably wasn’t the first choice to direct it as well. Furthermore, side projects were the least on my mind because of prior commitments to my animated film, Hibakusha.
I reunited with Megan a year later to discuss a potential project that her mom had suggested to us. At this point in time, I became better acquainted with her work and learned more about what she wanted out of this piece. The one thing that I take from an artist is their ability to visualize how they see their ideas being executed, so I challenged Megan to come up with a concept that would represent the essence of the video. To my surprise, Megan replied within a matter of seconds with only with one word, “bubbles.”
To get a sense for what “Love, Laugh, & Live” really meant, I must have listened to the track over a thousand times until it became ingrained in my skull. In order to really develop the flow and dynamics of a music video such as this one, it is critical to listen to how the vocalist and the composers function together to take you on that ride. For me to go about constructing the story line, Megan and I had to carefully craft these mini stories around the song in order to make sure that it would illustrate to the audience how Megan would spread love and laughter.
I requested for two of the finest photographers I knew, Melly Lee and Tommy Su, if they wanted to try something a bit different than what they were accustomed to. They gladly accepted the challenge, and together, we were able to lock down locations, set up scenes, and film everything in less than two months.
Surprisingly, the prep time to get everything locked away and filmed was incredibly short and expendable. I give a lot of credit to Megan’s mother and father, Elaine and Steve, for being so supportive of her artistic talents and wanting for Megan to have everything that she needed in this music video. In many ways, Elaine was the brainchild behind a lot of the visual settings and props that you see in this piece. They both raised the bar for this film, and I can’t give them enough credit for their generous contributions toward making this film.
My inspiration was drawn from not only Megan, but the visionaries behind the music (Smash Hitta, JoanLee, and Brite Ma). Without this creative team, the concept would never exist. I made sure to collaborate with the composers on and off And I can’t thank Jeremy Crooks enough for deciding to be a part of it at the last minute. He really did come through in the clutch, and I’m amazed by the turn time it took to come up with the dance routine. To all the actors, family members, extras, and animals who took part in all of this, I congratulate all of you for bearing with my style of direction. Now that it is finished, I hope all of you can see through Megan’s eyes on how wonderful it is to love, laugh, and live.