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Your Shot: The Story Behind *That* Young Thug Promo



Director Ryan Staake on turning a production nightmare into viral success

Your Shot: The Story Behind *That* Young Thug Promo

We’re not even done with January yet and already we have a contender for music promo of the year. What’s more, the whole project was almost a complete disaster. We’re referring to Young Thug’s ‘Wyclef Jean’ which, at time of writing, has over 7.5 million views on YouTube. Were it not for some crazy resourceful creativity from director Ryan Staake, that figure would have almost certainly been zero. LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Ryan to get his thoughts on this masterpiece of a nightmare.

NB: Be sure to check out the film below before you read the interview. 

LBB> Tell us a bit about how this project initially kicked off… what were you thinking when the job came in and how did you initially see it panning out?

RS> I thought this would be a stylish hip hop video with a bit of a twist. I thought it would be wrapped and delivered less than a month after we shot. It ultimately took four and a half months.


LBB> You received the brief by audio file - has that ever happened to you before? Were any alarm bells ringing when that happened?

RS> No that was totally new. There were definitely alarm bells, but I foolishly ignored them. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t such a bizarre idea. I later found out that was a recording of him talking to another director, John Colombo.


LBB> What was the mood like on set as the hours ticked by without him showing up?

RS> It just became more and more dire, then quickly popped beyond that into being incredibly funny and bizarre.


LBB> And by the time he’d officially left and the shoot was over - how was the vibe?

RS> It was bleak. Probably similar to the vibe in the US Embassy during The Fall of Saigon.


LBB> When did the Cheeto scene arrive in your inbox? Were you expecting any content from Young Thug?

RS> We received a drive via FedEx, I had no idea what to expect. It was like Christmas morning.


LBB> Did you ever get an explanation for the inclusion of Cheetos…?

RS> No but I fucking love it.


LBB> It’s one heck of a save that you came up with to finish the project like this - when did the idea spring to mind?

RS> I had a quick glimpse of the idea on set when I saw the three cars for the night time performance shot, and asked the camera operator to film where he would be so I could add YT in post.


LBB> Did you ever expect Young Thug to go for it? Why do you think he did?

RS> I thought there was a 50/50 chance. When you put someone between a choice of dumping $100,000 in the toilet and salvaging it, they’ll do crazy things. Apparently, that’s where I thrive — between a rock and a hard place.


LBB> What would have been the consequence if he didn’t approve the final idea?

RS> The label probably would’ve withheld the post budget until I threatened a lawsuit. Nothing would’ve come out, and millions of people would miss out on this bizarre piece of content.


LBB> If you had to sum up the experience of producing this film in one sentence, how would you do it?

RS> Scant at best.


LBB> What was your most memorable moment of the shoot?

RS> The models deciding together that they would do the sausage scene.


LBB> Anyway, massive kudos for a whopper of a video - any parting thoughts?

RS> I am so floored at the reception for this video. Thank you all so much, it’s truly made me so optimistic about everything.

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Genres: Comedy

Categories: Music video, Short films

LBB Editorial, Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:07:39 GMT