Video: Andy Wants To Be A Star

Music video I created for Ripper Girls – and a love letter to a TV show the band grew up with.

For the music video for their single ‘Andy Wants To Be A Star‘, Berlin-based band Ripper Girls (formerly Ghost Pony) asked me to help them re-create a segment from ’80s TV series The Mini Playback Show, in which kids would dress up and mime songs by their favourite pop and rock stars.

Ghost Pony ‘Andy Wants To Be A Star’ – Official Music Video

Behind-the-Scenes:


Pre-Production

The video should evoke the TV show for people who had grown up with it. However, I had never seen it before – so I played catch-up by studying several episodes, creating a style bible of camera angles, lighting and colour, and even re-cutting clips from the original show to Ghost Pony’s track:

With only a small budget, my task was to figure out how to emulate the look and feel of the TV show on a scale we could manage:

  • instead of multi-cam setup covering a single take, we’d use one camera (me) to cover multiple takes from different angles:
Ghost Pony - 'Andy Wants To Be A Star' - shooting plan
Ghost Pony ‘Andy Wants To Be A Star’ – shooting plan
  • for Covid safety and efficiency, I asked the band members to each cast and coach their “mini-double” (two family members and one drum pupil, all 6-7 years old)
  • the band secured a live music venue, which was temporarily closed due to lockdown, that would let us transform their stage into our TV studio for a day
  • we enlisted lighting tech Vitali to design and build a mixture of TV studio-style key and practical lighting that would evoke the original show
  • band photographer Petra volunteered to play the TV show host, Mareike Armado
  • drummer Hannes built a miniature replica of The Mini Playback Show‘s most distinctive stage design elements:

Production

We learned why “never work with animals or kids” is a saying: a constantly shifting landscape of energies and moods, together with unexpected technical problems, kept things… lively:

Making Ghost Pony - 'Andy Wants To Be A Star'
Making Ghost Pony – ‘Andy Wants To Be A Star’

My first time directing children had been made more challenging by our distanced preparation. To avoid confusing or intimidating them on the day, I indirectly-directed each “mini-double” via their band member coach, with whom they’d already developed a relationship:

And when the kids weren’t convinced, the band jumped up and showed them how it was done (and all the fun they too could be having!):

Post-Production

Finally, I experimented with techniques to achieve the degraded VHS look of the various YouTube uploads of the show (click to enlarge):

And voilà – ‘The Ghost Pony Mini Playback Show’ (or ‘The Mini Pony Show’, perhaps?):

Ghost Pony ‘Andy Wants To Be A Star’ – Official Music Video

Ghost Pony – ‘Andy Wants To Be A Star’
Starring Frida, Leni, and Bruno as Ghost Pony, and Petra Valdimarsdottir as Mareike Armado
Conceived and produced by Ghost Pony (Julia Beresikowa, Elisa Bischoff, Hannes Neupert)
Lighting Design by Vitali Kirsch
Set Design and Construction by Hannes Neupert
Directed, shot, edited, colour graded, and VHSFX’d by Ray Wassef

Supported by Initiative Musik GmbH (Initiative Musik gemeinnützige Projektgesellschaft mbH) with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media (Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien)