Music by VICE

Catching Up With the Directors of Daniel Caesar's Prism Prize Winning Video

Caesar's "Freudian, A Visual" won the Audience Award at the ceremony last week, so we spoke to Sean Brown and Keavan Yazdani about their experiences making the video.

by Noisey Canada Staff
May 24 2018, 3:45pm

Last week, the Prism Prize presented the best Canadian music videos of last year and chose a winner: Charlotte Day-Wilson's minimalist "Work." The win awarded $15,000 to Wilson and director Fantavious Fritz, who pledged to donate the money to a women's shelter and a grant for one female director to make a music video. Fritz told CBC Music that "we wanted to make sure that the prize was used for something that we also value in a way that can either make space for people or help those who need it," matching the "Work" video's theme of inclusion.

Daniel Caesar's "Freudian, a Visual" won the Audience Award, and the sprawling visual accompaniment to the acclaimed album certainly makes sense as a popular favourite. We caught up with directors Sean Brown and Keavan Yazdani to ask about their process and how the win has affected them.

Noisey: How many days did it take you to shoot the entire video?
Sean Brown: The entire shoot was two full days.

The Freudian visual (as well as "Best Part") has this interesting split-screen/warm and cold feel. Why is that visual style so important to you?
Sean: In Freudian, the split-screen was signifying Daniel's parallel consciousness. The women in his life on one side, and the relationship with his mother on the other. We also tried to get that point across in the audio between left and right [speakers]. "Best Part" was about us dividing the mediums. Digital vs. film. Night vs. day. Keavan and I wrote that concept a few months back and it was if a light bulb went off. To me, "Best Part" was a bit more challenging because we had to visualize the feel of the song while maintaining our sense of simplicity.
Keavan Yazdani: The split-screen also was used to visualizer the theme of duality. A theme that runs heavy in Freudian. That everything is not just black and white, there's layers to a concept and consciousness. It was important to have a visual representation of the concepts we were exploring—seeing the warm and cold.

The video has runs parallel with the themes of the album itself which is what a good visual should aim for. How much input did you take from Daniel and how much of that was your own vision?
Sean: Freudian, A Visual is the pillar of the album, visually. It represents the album's underlying theme. That was Daniel and Keavan's concept. From there, Keavan and I put the treatment together and got to work on how we were going to bring it to life. A large part of that video was choreography. Shout out to Jordan Evans!
Keavan: Me and Danny came up with the concept one night while out in LA and we were like "Damn, this is like the whole thing." Once we knew where we wanted to go conceptually, Sean and myself wrote the treatment to bring the process to life. As Sean mentioned, the choreography really bought the video to the next level, Jordan [Evans] really killed that shit.

A week after your win, have you figured out what's next?
Sean: We were on to the next before the win. Being recognized for art is fire, but its best to keep working and not think about it too much.
Keavan: As Sean said, what's next started a long time ago, hahaha.

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