SHERYL CROW & STING
“Always On Your Side”
(video version 1)
Video director: Nigel Dick (Commissioned writing project.)
Always on your side is a perfectly executed and timeless ballad. I want to create a seamless video that reflects its exquisite and classic feeling. The song doesn’t resort to cheap gimmicks and histrionics to get its emotion across and neither will the video. There will be no clichéd crane shots and no overdone celebrity subterfuge. Instead, I envision a clip using subtle and gentle hand held shots that magnify the power and intimacy of Sheryl and Sting’s beautiful ballad.
The place is a curiously captivating beach house. As we catch the first glimpses of it, we quickly see that it is not your average house, but a gorgeous one with breathtaking views. Still, everything about the place is a unique brand of funky casual – undeniably Sheryl’s kind of place. Outside it’s one of those gray, lazy, and breezy beach days where you’re lucky to have a place like this to retreat to. The house provides the perfect backdrop for organic and heartfelt performances from Sheryl and Sting. It’s almost as if we are privy to some of their private moments together, and the resulting effect on us is magical.
We first see Sheryl alone at a wooden piano. As the track begins her fingers move gracefully across the keys. We tilt up to her as she starts to sing. As she continues through the verse we intercut her performance with glimpses of her surroundings — showcasing more and more of this funky cool beach house. Leaning on a far wall in a stripe of sunlight are a few worn surfboards. Near the surfboards is a bicycle with sandy handlebars. Sheryl’s bare feet tickle he ground of the room that is made of unpolished wooden planks. We follow the lines of the planks to a corner where a beautiful cello is propped on a stand. Through a window, we see a guy in a sweatshirt sitting on a log and enjoying the ocean breeze. The energy of this place is almost surreal.
As Sheryl sings, we notice more details about her. Her style is simple, casual, and beautiful without being over the top. The various sun dresses/outfits she wears, show off the frame of her toned body in a tasteful way. As she continues, we notice another figure, Sting, sitting on a high stool close by waiting for his turn to sing. His style is equally simple, solid, casual. The two are not facing each other, but each can easily watch the other while they are performing — adding to the organic, relaxed, and real feeling of the video. Sheryl and Sting are not pretending to be lovers. On occasion, the focus slips back and forth between them as if grabbing a special moment rather than following a plan.
The song continues and we see both Sheryl and Sting singing their lyrics. In each case, they are in their own shots and framed against a window or another, yet unseen portion of the beach house. We continue to intercut the two main performances with various shots:
Sheryl lies atop her cotton bed sheets, flips through magazines, and rips pages out. In another cutaway, we see Sheryl as she re-paints a faded windowsill. Through the glass before her we can see the foaming ebb and flow of the ocean. Sitting on the rough kitchen table near her is a half-eaten cherry pie. We also see shots intercut of Sting, pencil and music composition paper in hand, creating — thinking and scrawling notes and lyrics to the song.
On the occasions where we do venture outside, we see shots of a retriever bounding through the shallow surf to fetch a Frisbee, and perhaps some old sneakers and some snorkel gear left out to dry on the front wooden steps. We even see Sheryl walking on the breezy beach, dragging her feet through the sandy surf. The various and almost abstract b-roll shots contribute to the overall ethereal quality of the song and video.
As the strings play out the final bars we focus on Sheryl and Sting’s faces as the music fades down. There is a look between them that is small and understated but real and natural that says, “I enjoyed that. Can we do it again?”
The video will be shot full screen on 35 mm stock, with b-roll being shot on a Boelex. All of it will be transferred with cooling colors that are muted and flattering.