BTS: The adaptation of SHANN.N’s ‘Love Dressed Down’ with Valiant Film Company

Dive behind the scenes with Michael Irwin from Valiant Film as we explore the cinematic journey of SHANN.N

SHANN.N has recently stepped into her solo career with “Love Dressed Down,” a soulful track co-written with PattyBoomba.

In an exclusive interview with HAPPY MAG, Michael from Valiant Film Company shares the behind-the-scenes of the visually compelling adaptation of “Love Dressed Down.”

Hindered by Melbourne’s lockdowns, Michael found a silver lining, allowing him time to dissect the song’s components. Insights into shadow usage, the dark backdrop, and the eerie lamppost flickering add layers to the storytelling.

Check out SHANN.N’s music video for ‘Love Dressed Down” below:

HAPPY: ‘Love Dressed Down’ (LDD) has a lot of different moving parts to the story its telling in the song. Did that affect the way you approached telling the same story visually? 

MICHAEL: The whole process of developing LDD visually and breaking it down to its component story parts took, on and off, about 2 years.

Shan approached me in mid 2021 with the idea of visually adapting it and because of the lockdowns here in Melbourne, we kept getting delayed.

Thankfully, that ended up being a real blessing in disguise from a development point of view. 

HAPPY: Why do you say that? 

MICHAEL: It gave me more time to actually sit with the song and work out how I could adapt it visually. The story of the song was already really strong through its structure so my job was really to find a way to help an audience align with that story through visuals while the song would tie all those visuals together emotionally in the way it builds. 

HAPPY: You mentioned structure before. Is there a reason why the song would be difficult to adapt from that point of view? 

MICHAEL: Yeah, when Shan first sent me the lyrics, the first thing I noticed was how each verse ran backwards in time.

Verse 1 was a Friday Night. Verse 2 was a Thursday Night and Verse 3 was a Wednesday Night.

I’ve always loved the structure of stories when they’re told in a non-linear way so when I saw that, I knew pretty quickly that was the best way of visualising the passage of time to the audience and get them invested in who Shan is and what she’s gone through in the relationship in the song. 

HAPPY: Was that a challenging process? 

MICHAEL: It was at first. I began approaching it like a short film but instead of having a script, I used the song to build the narrative structure.

That told me what I needed in order to make the sound and the visuals marry into each other and not feel like 2 separate layers of storytelling.

What did become difficult was finding a visual device in the story that allowed us to explore Shan’s point of view in the way the song progresses. 

HAPPY: Would that be the way you use shadows in the music video? 

MICHAEL: Yeah. The way the song builds makes it feel like it’s building to a moment of realisation for Shan.

In order for that realisation to be satisfying for the audience though, I had to make sure at a certain point in the song, it felt like that might never happen.

This is where we introduced the idea of her being surrounded and trapped by this endless black void. 

HAPPY: Did you always have that kind of feeling in mind with the shadows? 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Valiant Film Company (@valiantfilmco)

MICHAEL: I think initially Shan had gravitated to the idea of a darker backdrop in relation to the feeling in the song in initial meetings.

I did too but I felt it needed to come from a place of relatability for the audience.

We settled on this idea of this venetian blind untangling itself and dropping to create a dark bedroom space.

It grounds the idea in an everyday, relatable object but the context it grows into starts to make a permanent impact on Shan’s life, where she sees a lamppost flickering or shadows growing in the space she lives in with her partner. 

HAPPY: The lamppost flickering has a really unnerving feel to it. Can you talk about how you did that? 

MICHAEL: The lamppost was a combination of a few filmmaking tricks.

All the way through making LDD, I wanted to keep the feeling grounded and as real as I could for Shan.

That said, making a public lamppost flicker in camera would’ve been extremely difficult.

What my cinematographer Sean did was shoot a flickering light source in the space to simulate the interactive light for Shan to react to.

We then later filmed and composited a large miniature lamppost in the spot a real one would be. 

HAPPY: Where can we see more of your work? 

MICHAEL: Instagram is our main social platform so if you look up ‘Valiant Film Company’, you’ll see more info on how we made ‘Love Dressed Down’.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Valiant Film Company (@valiantfilmco)