Things seem to be going well for Ne-Yo on the surface, but as soon as the clip begins we can feel the walls closing in and all the success and adulation mean nothing compared to the fear of losing that one special girl. Director Ryan Pallotta crafts a blast of emotion and dance that feels like a story, but is really more like four and half minutes of us being pulled inside an artist torn between career and real life. If only all anxiety was as nice to look at and had such cool dance moves.
Ryan Pallotta, director: "It was very important to build this level of chaos and claustrophobia, so the intro helped establish that. Also, I like the idea of building suspense and hooking people with an intro like that. We needed to see his world falling apart around him and how his career can cause personal chaos, which is why the strobes in the press conference trigger these images of his girl cheating on him.
We spent a lot of time trying to build a story out of mostly performances. It's a dance song, and Ne-Yo is an incredible dancer, so telling a story when half of your video is dance is a challenge. Seeing Ne-Yo alone in the rehearsal space helped us feel his loneliness in a career where he is always surrounded by people."
Jacquelyn London, editor: "I knew the introduction was important to Ryan so we spent a lot of time on it to really set the pace/story for the rest of the video. The idea was to get into the mind of Ne-Yo and the anxiety of having professional obligations, but knowing you are neglecting a loved one. I wanted it to feel like an anxiety attack (a nightmare), with an exhale/release at the end. Once I had the introduction cut in the style we wanted, I knew that I could do the same thing with the entire video.Editorially, in broad strokes, the idea was to build a chaotic environment while remaining true to the artist's intimate emotional moments."
--> watch "Forever Now"
Ne-Yo "Forever Now" (Island Def Jam)
Ryan Pallotta, director | Andrew Lerios, producer | Black Hand Cinema, production co | Danny Hiele, DP | Jacquelyn London @ Sunset Edit, editor | Brandon Chavez, colorist | Greg Lang, art | Heather Heller, Anthony Mandler, exec. producers | Margo Wainwright, commissioner
Doug Stern also writes music video treatments and does amazing rainy street choreography.