If, at any point in my life, you had ever told me that one day I’d be a dancer in a music video, I’d laugh and laugh and write you off a complete and utter whackjob. But that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday – a music video was shot, and I was a one of the dancers! Who’s the whackjob now?
I got a picture of me and the music video’s star during a break:
It’s RICHARD SIMMONS!
Here’s the backstory: Last fall, Richard wrote and recorded a whole slew of new songs. It was the first time he’s dabbled in songwriting, and he worked with some very talented producers and singers to bring these songs to life. I’ve heard a lot of them (if not all of them), because Richard has been playing them periodically during his classes for the past few months, and, as you might imagine, they’re upbeat and fun.
Richard decided to make his first ever music video. I’m not going to get into specifics about what the song is or what it’s about, because I don’t want to spoil a single thing, but the music video is a big deal. They’re shooting it over 3 or 4 days, with a big-time director and crew, in about 8 locations, one of them being Slimmons, Richard’s workout studio in Beverly Hills. Richard put out an open invitation for dancers, and since I thought it’d be fun to be in a video, I showed up.
There was filming equipment everywhere, both inside and out:
There was about 30 dancers altogether, give or take a few, including a few of my friends from class. I spent a lot of the downtime chatting with Gerry or Joanne. Joanne is my friend that appeared with me in Richard’s infomercial, and Gerry… well, Gerry is a dear friend. I met Gerry when I first started taking classes at Slimmons, way back in 2010. She’s now 91 years old, has incredible energy, and is sharp as a tack. She works out at Slimmons most days of the week. When I was just getting started and weighed 400 pounds, I would look at Gerry during Richard’s classes and think, ‘If she can do this, I can do this.’
Here I am with Gerry and Joanne:
Shooting the video was great fun. They rigged all sorts of lights and curtains in the studio to get the look they wanted. First we had a rehearsal to learn the choreography, and most of the steps were just like what we would do in a typical Richard class. They moved us around so we looked good on camera – being tall and not having a dance background meant I got put in the back row… fine with me!
Then it came time to shoot. We shot the same routine a dozen times, so they could get it from every angle, as well as the wide shots and close-ups they wanted. The studio was hot – it was full of lights and it isn’t air conditioned – so in between takes we headed out to the lobby, where it was cooler, while they set up for the next shot.
OH! Want some behind-the-scenes magic? We shot the routine a couple times in slow motion, and how that works is like this: They sped the music up twice as fast (so it sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks), and we did the routine twice as fast. Then, in the editing room, when they slow the music down to normal speed, TA-DA! All the dancers are moving in slow motion!
It took about three and a half hours for them to get all the shots they wanted. At one point, Richard gave the entire crew tank tops, and he made them put them on right then and there, so it was fun to look out and see a dozen crew guys all wearing Richard Simmons’ tanks. Richard gave the dancers tank tops, too:
I don’t know when the video will premiere but you can be sure that I’ll share it right here on this blog!
A couple other quick pics before I sign off for the weekend:
1) Remember how I lost my driver license and it almost made me miss a flight? Look what I got in the mail yesterday! Woo-hoo!
2) At the recommendation of my new personal trailer, I bought a heart rate monitor. I’m still playing around with it, but it’s pretty cool, and check out this awesome deal I got at Big 5 Sporting Goods: A $130 monitor on sale for $30! I do love a bargain. Who doesn’t?
Keep It Up, David!