The persistence of vision
With burlesque queer as the theme for a music video from New Plymouth vocal loop artist EJ Barrett's single, Paint Me A Picture, Tairawhiti TV producer/director Tee Wells knew the ideal setting for the shoot.
“I thought ‘There's only one place we can shoot this',” said Wells who took on the role of executive producer/cinematographer for the music video.
“The War Memorial Theatre. The setting provided for the theme for stage performances and the stage was very much a part of the film. It was a focus for a solo, queer artist performing onstage.”
Paint Me a Picture is about representation for the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning) community, Barrett told The Gisborne Herald last week. The state-of-the-art theatre's LED lighting even provided the production with LGBTQ+ colours of the rainbow.
“We knew they'd deliver the lighting,” said Wells.
“It came out really beautiful.”
As camera operator, Wells doesn't appear in the video but was responsible for everything that does appear and everything off camera. This included scheduling, cast and crew safety and post-production. While the music video will be a seamless production, Wells' job involved much stopping and starting.
“There's a lot of magic and logistical planning on the day before you sit down at the end of the day and go over your material. We have finished the rough cut and are now going into further post-production where we will enhance the colours and performance through the visuals.”
Tairawhiti TV does a lot of work outside the region as well as local productions that involved local people, said Wells.
“It's mainly an island of one at the moment though.”
The island of one has a strong background in TV and film. Wells began in broadcasting in 1991 with student radio Te Kakano. The station is now Turanga FM which is where Wells now works as digital manager.
Television was the next step. In 1999, Wells moved to the Cook Islands and worked in TV in Rarotonga for a year and later worked for Maori TV and TVNZ before starting up a production company.
After working in Cambodia, then Melbourne, Wells returned to Gisborne.
“I thought I'd give it a year. Four years later I'm still here.”