I still remember it. Just a simple Twitter DM could make my heart pump fast and my hands shake. What the hell have I just read here?
iMMa is currently Mika's backing singer and before the music video happened, I had only met her twice and talked to her on Twitter a couple of times. Now she was asking me to be a part of her own musical project! Quite a big ask if you ask me, so I was absolutely honoured.
A few messages later and I was asked if I could round up 7 other dancers which, even though I go to a dance school and know quite a few dancers, was quite hard to do!! It took quite a number of weeks to get everyone together and it was a close call too!! After sending iMMa everyone's names, pictures and measurements, it was nearly show time. I was emailed a call sheet and passed it on to everyone else and before I had time to blink, the morning of the first shoot arrived.
I woke up painfully early and decided to check my emails and eat my Coco Pops before getting ready. I had an e-mail from iMMa, asking if any of the dancers and I had any of these clothing items...
Picture this: This email was almost as long as my arm; my tired eyes suddenly became very awake and the arm holding my spoon that was full of Coco Pops rested near my mouth, unable to go any further from complete terror. I sat there frozen trying to take everything in: trilbee hats, clinch belts, brogues, white shirts, 50's style dresses, petticoats, leather jackets...you name it, it was there on that list. I woolfed down my breakfast and rummaged my wardrobe for anything that could be worthwhile and wrote a 5 page text message essay to each and every dancer.
We arrived at the station with our suitcases and had a nice ol' catch up with old dancing friends and new ones throughout the journey to Bethnal Green. We were slightly late due to being a little bit lost, but Laura (iMMa's manager) came to our rescue! iMMa greeted us with a welcoming smile and a nice warm hug, and we all stepped to one side so they could look through our clothes and get changed. Turns out that very little of what we brought was useful (and lugging a big suitcase round London in the rain is never fun!!) but luckily they were equipped with lots of things as well. We were given our roles based on our height, so the tall ones were dudes and the short ones dudettes. Quite glad I was a female - the guys had to have a bandage round their chests to flatten their boobs!! And that wouldn't have gone down very well with me...!
After several changes, we had a quick bite to eat and met Cat - the producer - for the first time, who is an absolute treasure!! So easy to talk to and generally just loveliness in human form. After that we were taken to another room to have our hair done (Maria - Mika's wardrobe assistant was one of the helpers!) and they all swapped stories of people they've styled and what life was like on the road. I also found out at this moment that Ida Falk Winland - the woman who sings on "Happy Ending" and is one of Mika's friends - was going to be an extra too! Surprise!! As our hair was being done, iMMa was shooting her performance bit on the stage.
After that it was makeup time, and soon after iMMa picked her 3 main girls (Gemma, Sarah, and...oh, me!!) and we began to shoot!
The first scene was of us three running down the stairs and entering the club, looking around, and then running to the bar. Sounds dead easy but took several, several shots. After that wrapped, the boy version of iMMa and the other "boys" sat by a table and did general "bad blokes" stuff like drinking, smoking (HERBAL cigarettes I'd like to add...), roughing it up, chatting up the ladies...
At one point when we were just sitting around waiting,, Ida sat on a chair opposite me. It was the first time I had ever seen and met her, and just kind of wanted to say hello and introduce myself really. So I said "You're Ida, right?" and she replied "Yes I am, who are you?" whilst extending out her hand so that I could shake it. One thing that struck me was her accent - I believe she's of Scandinavian descent (but if I'm wrong, lemme know) and looking at her in this man's outfit you'd never believe she was an Opera singer! Whilst shaking her hand I said "I'm Caroline, I'm erm..." and I just thought yikes, what the hell do I say now? Oh well, might as well come out with the truth... "I'm one of Mika's fans." Ida smiled and laughed a bit, but our conversation was cut short due to her phone ringing.
That was pretty much it for day 1! We all went home and had a good ol' rest...had to be up at 5:30 tomorrow for a super early start!!
The good thing about my clothes not being any good was that I no longer had to travel with a big suitcase!! We all arrived before iMMa did and we met our choreographer Christina who was very nice, talented and a gem. We all partnered up and began with the footwork. Luckily the routine was simple so was very easy to pick up - Joe Yoshida, the drummer, said that it was already starting to look slick and clean despite only learning it for 10 minutes! Dancing in my shoes was literally a pain though, as they were a size too big and had to stuff tissue down them which made my toes sore!
For absolute hours we were doing this dance as the camera men wanted to do several shots. I lost count how many times we did it, the camera men even got a dolly and track out and everything! Exciting stuff. At one point whilst waiting for the cameras to roll, I was practicing on my own and flicked my arm out...accidentally hitting someone! I thought it was probably a dancer but it wasn't, it was Ida! And it was quite a hard whack! I felt so bad and apologised profusely...
We were constantly having our makeup retouched and always going over things, but it was so much fun! We soon had a break and I decided that this was my chance...
To say thank you, I decided to buy iMMa something. It was only a box of chocolates but I was so grateful and happy to be a part of something so amazing and something that meant so much to her, the trust she put in me as well...I approached her and announced that I had a gift, and to my complete surprise iMMa bounced up and said "I have something for you, too!"
She ran off and then came back holding a bundle, jumped up and down like an excited child and said "you first!!", so I handed over the box of Thorntons chocolates, and then she began to explain her gift to me. She said "This was something I bought in Japan and I wore it for a show, but I'd like you to have it..."
Already I was stunned and I hadn't even seen it yet! Not only because it was from Japan but because it was so personal. I took it from her and it was this lovely black kimono style jacket. As I thanked her I broke out into this geeky mini speech about how pleased I was to be involved in this music video and that I never thought I'd ever get to do this in my life and I got choked up and everything xD Man I need to work on my cool streak...
She then drew a picture for me in my memory book, complete with a very sweet message!
|"Thank you for all of your help...you have been amazing, all your support - this video would not have happened without you!! Dance through life gracefully!!"|
After the break we did a bit more dancing, then shots of the 3 main girls running onto the dance floor, and even a kissing scene! But I shall not elaborate, I'll let you watch the video.
After they had finished with us, iMMa put a few gifts in a bag, and everyone put their hand in and grabbed something! Bit like lucky dip. I got this pretty hair clip with a dangling flower which I believe is from Sweden, while Chelsea - another dancer - got her hands on iMMa's first E.P!
That was pretty much all that happened, as far as I can remember! Here is a video of what happened behind the scenes:
A few pictures:
And of course...the video itself!!
I sincerely hope you all like it, it was such a BLAST to make and I would love nothing more than to do more!!
I've said it so many times, but thank you again iMMa so much. It wasn't just a privilige to be in your video, but to actually work with you as well including the wonderful team that support you. Each and every one of you helped make this video AWESOME.
Congratulations on a great video everyone! We all worked really hard and the final product was SO worth it.
Here are some links:
ARTIST - iMMa
PRODUCER - Cat Knowles Fitton
CHOREOGRAPHER - CHRISTINA ANDREA