Happy Palentine's Day! If you haven't seen Christina Xing's dreamy music video for Claud's track "Never Meant To Call," we're excited to transport you back to the first time you ever walked through the doors of a house party, knowing your crush was somewhere inside. Read below for our conversation about making the jump from narrative film to music videos, love, and friendship.
Check out the Behind The Scenes video here.
RICHELLE CHEN: How did you come up with the concept for Never Meant To Call? Was it something you had in your head for a while, or did you come up with it when you heard the track?
CHRISTINA XING: So, basically what happened was Claude sent me two songs—one that's not released yet and "Never Meant To Call." And they were just like, "Yo, let me know which one resonates with you." And at first I couldn't think of shit and I was just like, "Welp, I'm fucked... I was never meant to make commercials or music videos!" And then I was thinking about it [while] I was listening to "Never Meant To Call," and I just closed my eyes and the intro sounded so much like outside of a party. I started thinking about, like, my high school days, [and I] remembered this really cheesy moment where I went to my first party when I was a sophomore in high school in Alabama and how fucking awkward it was to walk into a party. It's kind of like the whole idea of when you see someone [from] across the room and you wish you had them. I'm kind of a hopeless romantic, so that's where it came from.
RC: Oh, yeah. I remember that feeling. I still have those walking into a party. Did you have someone in mind when you thought about the concept?
CX: Wow, you really get into [what's] juicy! I love that you're getting the tea. Oh yes, I did. I definitely did. The blow-up doll is based off a real person that I wish I had actually had the nerve to tell that I was into. But I never did.
RC: I love that the blow-up doll's name is Patricia.
CX: It just looks like a Patricia. I don't know if it could be named anything else!
RC: So, this is your first music video. How was directing a music video different from directing your previous narrative work?
CX: I learned a lot. It made me realize that narrative filmmaking...is all about being performance-oriented. You tend to slow things down in narrative just because you really want to enjoy the deliciousness of a moment, but in music videos, when we are editing it, like, holy shit—some of these takes are three minutes long. We only need like ten seconds of each clip. It was so hard [for me] to edit. My friend Joe [editor] did a great job, because I came into directing it like it was a narrative rather than a music video. Does that make any sense?
RC: Yeah! Like, as a director you need that editor's eye to cut things out. It's hard when you've directed something and you can't let go of a shot. It's your baby—you don't want to let it go.
CX: That's it exactly. Like, mad respect for commercial directors and music video directors. That's so much harder than narrative.
RC: It's so interesting for you to say that, because I know that people who start off as music-video and commercial directors find it difficult to move into narrative. The pacing is so different and they suddenly have this room to breathe, but they don't know how to use it.
CX: I've never thought about it that way. Did you start out as music video or narrative?
RC: My background is [in editing] for commercials, so my pacing is, like, off the wazoo. It's strategic, but it's so quick. So my experience is completely [the] opposite of yours. It was difficult on my end going and doing narrative and having the patience to let things breathe.
CX: That's crazy to hear! It's so funny that it's flipped.
RC: So much of your work revolves around love, and it's Valentine's week. I want to know—what's your definition of love?
CX: Oh shit. Well, I used to think that love was this idea...in the traditional idea of a soulmate, but as I get older and I make more stuff with people that I genuinely love, there's no other [way] to describe [it] other than just [as] an overwhelming emotion. As I work with and talk to these people, I'm starting to realize that love is basically when you're not scared to be yourself. This person makes you a better version yourself each time you spend time with them. You don't need them necessarily and they don't need you, but together you guys are just better... and that's that's love in friendships, family, and romantic relationships.
RC: Yeah, you're totally right. People think that friendships aren't as important as romantic relationships, but honestly friendship might be more important.
CX: Actually, it's funny—I was watching your Instagram story the other day and saw Alli was changing the tire on the freeway. And that's it. That frame looks like something straight out of a romantic film but, like, amplified on top of that, I could just tell that y'all fucking love each other. Like, that's love right there, you know what I mean? ...I feel like my relationships with my best friends are, like, far more intimate than people I'm peeping. [Romantic] relationships are there to help you grow as a person, but that best friend is like your rock.
To all of my friends, I love you all. Thanks for being in my life. I'm really grateful that I've had twenty years on this planet and have gotten to meet all you people and make all the stuff that we have. If I had never met you, I don't know if I'd ever be who I am today. Also, support your local Girl Scouts. They're selling Girl Scout cookies at Ralph's!
Music by Claud
Director: Christina Xing
DP: Aaron Seller
Assistant Camera: Jaxon Schriever
Gaffer: Ted Nevison
Editor: Joe Murayama
Colorist: Shane Bagwell
1st AD: John Chigas
2nd AD: May He
Art Director: Amelia Yessayantz
Makeup/Wardrobe: Miya Omori
Cast: Claud Mintz, Gabby Mendez, Rebecca Oderoha, Rakiya Unamorro, Reese Albertson, Esterelle Lieu,
Shianne Yang, Liat Benezra, Mia Gifford, Tori Schachne, Laura Frias, Olivia Nolan, Erica Brown
Annie Walton Doyle