Interviews

Jess Macc chats with Rachel Bickert and Lauren Meyering about creativity and her new video clip

Firstly, if you haven’t already wrapped your ears around Win Some, Lose Some, the new single from Jess Macc, stop what you’re doing and check it out now. Last week, when Jess first unveiled the track, we were immediately captivated by her heartfelt and reassuring brand of music.

Since then, the Sydney-based singer-songwriter has shared a video clip for the same track. Created with an all-female production crew, the video clip is a dreamy, pastel-coloured visual feast, perfectly complimenting the song’s various spellbinding qualities. So, fresh off the video’s release, Jess caught up with two of the brilliant women who helped bring the clip together — Rachel Bickert (cinematographer) and Lauren Meyering (director) — to chat all about the process of creating the video, and do a little bit of heartwarming gushing over one another.

Creative women empowering creative women: Jess Macc chats with Rachel Bickert and Lauren Meyering about her new music video.

JESS: I think one of my favourite moments on set was when we were filming at 150% speed (so that we could slow it down in post), I was finding it so hard to play guitar that fast. You know those moments where you just become so aware that you might be missing the mark in front of everyone and you’re kinda embarrassed but bummed at yourself at the same time? I remember Lauren, not really knowing that I was struggling, in the middle of a take just screamed out “You got it Jess!! YESSSS!! YOU’RE DOING SO GOOD!!!!”

That shifted me so quick from where I was at. I believed her. I trusted her. I was like, “Fuck yeah! I CAN do it!” And we got the shots that we needed. I’m obsessed with women like that – so secure in themselves they don’t have to tear anyone down, just lift them up. Super encouraging but also just so great at their job that they know how to get what they need too. Lauren, THANK YOU. You’re just such a boss and an absolute dream to work with. What was your favourite moment on set?

LAUREN: Thanks Jess! I think my favourite thing was getting to collaborate with an artist who was so in tune visually with what they wanted. I just remember you were so instinctual about your performance, and the different looks and style for each of the rooms too. If you thought something wasn’t right or didn’t work, you weren’t afraid to speak your mind. This is something that I personally think as a director is so rare. Half the time the battle is not only feeling confident in yourself as a director but also confident in your artist’s performance in the video.

I remember thinking, “Yeah it worked,” and you (Jess) spoke up and actually said, “Hey I feel like it’s a bit awkward, I think we should change this and do it one more time…” For me, I love that push back as a director because it means the performer actually cares. I also LOVED getting to see you succeed when we sped up the song. You just nailed it Jess. Take one you were so afraid and were like, “I really don’t know if I can play it this fast.” But, by take two you absolutely had it – cheering you on off-screen was just super fun and so rewarding.

I think it would be interesting, Jess, if you talked about the process from the original video idea to the end result.

JESS: Yes!!! Ok, I originally wasn’t going to sing to camera. It was going to be more of a scripted, acted-out short film that told the story in pictures. I tried to get an actor that I’m fond of in LA but our schedules collided so we had to swiftly change the concept. The song wasn’t written about my husband. It was an older idea I’d had that set fire when we jumped in the studio. So I was a little apprehensive about having my husband in the video but it actually became a cool moment where he went from observing the process to briefly being in front of the camera. We had a good laugh about his hand sliding up my face too. I think he enjoyed the whole thing and now I’m actually really stoked that he’s in it. Great memory for us.

Rachel, your ARRI camera is a hefty weight to be lifting for hours on set. I’m so impressed by your muscles, haha. Perhaps a little more impressed by your work ethic though, and your ability to create such beautiful films. What has your experience been like as a gay woman in the film industry?

RACHEL: Being a gay woman in the film industry has definitely been interesting. It’s opened up doors for me to work on other queer sets with other queer people. Which is amazing because those are the stories I really love to tell, and as a cinematographer, we don’t always necessarily get to pick and choose the stories we get to be a part of. I also think the queer side of me has made me a very strong woman and given me a very strong voice. It’s an extremely important thing to have in this industry, especially to be able to guide and manage your crew properly.

Lauren, working with and empowering women is super important to all three of us. What would your advice be to girls wanting to get into the film industry?

LAUREN: The advice I always give to women who want to get into the film industry, is that you are not depicted as bossy just because you know what you want and have stepped up to be a leader. I remember when I first got into film, I said I either wanted to be a DP or a producer – anything but a director because I always thought the director was the person who was so bossy and controlled everything. I only ever saw the “notable/classic” directors to be depicted/referenced to as men.

I was really shy when I first got into film and didn’t think that the art form would be for me. I remember being on set years ago as a 15-year old in high school and the director wasn’t doing a job and I would secretly go up to the actors and be like, “Hey…” And give them notes on their performance. It was something that kept me up at night. I learnt about myself that this is the thing that drives me the most in filmmaking. If the performances in a film aren’t good, it disrupts me the most. I don’t care about the camera, I don’t care about the sound, at the end of the day I care about the person and performance on screen. My advice to women who want to be in the film industry is if you feel that way about any aspect of film, SPEAK UP. You will become a leader amongst those who don’t say anything. A leader doesn’t mean that you are “bossy” it means that you are “passionate” about the piece. You won’t be seen as “bossy,” you’ll be seen as courageous.

I have a question for Rach! What is your favourite part of the Win Some, Lose Some video?

RACHEL: Honestly I don’t have just one single favourite part of the video! But I have to say, the popping colours and Jess, your incredible costumes were so great. Cinematography is nothing without something beautiful and interesting in front of the camera so working with you was fantastic – your wigs and jewellery, just your presence and entire being is so unique. Working with two amazing, strong women on this shoot was such an awesome experience.

Women that are so accepting of others opinions and creative ideas – that is a cinematographers dream! Getting to play with different filters, and lighting effects and just having everyone be open to making everything better. There was no ego – it was super freeing and totally low pressure. That kind of environment is when the most creative side of you can actually come out. I love this music video. Honestly, it’s one of my all-time favourites that I’ve ever shot.

Jess, how does it feel to have the video finally out? And when are we gonna work together again?!

JESS: It feels SO amazing to have the video out!! We’ve been sitting on it for a while so I am definitely ready to have it released. It’s like a weight has lifted and now we can just celebrate the work. We’re composing new songs at the moment so, hopefully, COVID will have settled a bit more by then and we can get you both into Aus to shoot the next one! Thank you both so much for everything.