Hello everybody, this is another podcast episode of Film Direct and this time we’re here with Halsey’s creative director, Nach. Today we’re going to be discussing how and why Halsey’s ‘Room 93’ promotional campaign has been so successful and has attracted so much appeal since its release. Hey Nach, why don’t you introduce yourself to the audience? Who are you and what do you do?
Hey, my name is Nach, and I directed the video for Halsey’s debut single Is There Somewhere, I’m also was responsible for creating her website and digipak.
So the video has just been released. Who do you think will gravitate towards the music video the most?
I mean I hope that Halsey’s fans will see the appeal in it. I remember Halsey coming to me and telling me about how she wanted the video to appeal to her most loyal Thai young fans, but also have a video that’s universal enough to be appreciated by 18 to 24 year olds worldwide.
We’re gonna get back to that in a second. How did you achieve this appeal?
Well, I listened to the song and I really tried to imagine what the narrative would be like. For those who don’t know, the video is essentially a sequence of a girl’s memories of her previous relationship. I feel like this resonated a lot of teenage girls because they would most likely identify with the song more. The audience views the sequence of events from a very close third perspective and at times, a first person perspective. And this is achieved by the use of very close framing of the couple and the use of POV shots respectively. Therefore I think that the narrative and the way the story is put together impacts the way the audience engages the video.
What about the characters?
I definitely think that characters were a huge factor in the appeal of the video. The fact that the girl I chose to portray in the video has similar clothing, similar characteristics and is of similar age as as my target audience, helps engage the viewer. Both the girl and guy are also portrayed to be in similar situations so they can easily relate to them.
So you mentioned creating a video that has universal themes and issues a second ago. Could you clarify why this might engage the audience?
I set out to create a video that contained messages that can be understood by everyone. Accessible themes such as heartbreak is obviously important, because it’s not a region-specific emotion. Everyone knows what it is, so they’re able to get it. Even glancing audiences will be able to see it and be engaged right away because on the screen they can identify with the feeling, no matter who they are. Teenagers will get it even more I think, as they’re probably more able to feel these emotions more intensely and so will engage with it more.
But at the same time, there’s a lot of nuance in the video such as the scene where the girl uses her phone to text “is there somewhere you can meet me” to the guy. Aside from the fact that the girl is using technology to distance herself, the text really says a lot. Normally you would say “Is there somewhere I can meet you” which would normally imply weakness, that the girl depends on the guy. But here she’s doing the opposite, which is an attempt to mask her heartbreak. This is kind of an implicit critique of technology because it has really given us the ability to hide our emotions through text without confronting the other person. I mean like in the video, we don’t actually see them confront each other about how they’ve drifted like at all. This complex issue appeals to my target audience because underneath a video that’s easy to understand, there’s a message that hasn’t really been touched upon by other videos. So I think that a touch of originality will appeal to fans of alternative music who always seek videos that had something new to say.
What about your website?
Well for my website I would say that the two factors that helped me engage Halsey’s audience is through the use of colours and the visuals. The colour scheme is primarily blues and blacks, it’s dark, it’s mysterious, obviously capturing my target audience with that since it would seem that they would prefer colours that may be a little brooding, which actually is also reds and purples and oranges since it would remind them of nightlife, a popular pastime by my target audience. As for my visuals, the layout is quite minimalistic, and that’s quite an important method because clutter is becoming more and more distracting to teenagers nowadays, so a simplistic design with an aesthetically pleasing layout is a better way to engage my audience’s attention.
Would you say that the digipak is any different?
Yes and no. Yes because I still used the same methods to attract the viewer but the outcome is quite different. The bluish purple used in my digipak is still brooding and reminds the audience of artificial light, as often seen at night. Also the layout is very clean, which is a contemporary design trend, so teens respond to this more favorably. Other than that, I occasionally used a handwriting font in both my digipak and website. This can be seen in the home-page pop-up for my website, and the lyrics booklet for my digipak. This mimics the handwriting of the artist and also presumably the audience as well, so a relationship between the artist and the audience is already established because of this.
That’s great. Thank you for being on the show.