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Thursday May 1st, 2014

Posted at 2:00pm

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Using social networking to fulfill his dreams, a local director is helping someone else do the same.

Gavin Michael Booth has been involved in many unique projects. A video blog to meet his inspirations, Starbucks prank and surprise wedding are just a few examples. While they’ve all gained national attention, the list will soon be getting bigger.

On Tuesday, April 22nd, Emma-Lee began her campaign for What Would Tom Petty Do? The song is her attempt at meeting and writing something with the man himself. A week before the single was available for purchase on iTunes, Booth’s video was front and center to kick-off the campaign.

While not filmed in Windsor, he visited some familiar Los Angeles locations with Emma-Lee.

“The video concept is spending time with Emma-Lee in and around Los Angeles,” said Booth. “Sometimes filming at locations where Tom Petty filmed scenes from his iconic videos in the 80’s and 90’s; notably Free Fallin’. We wanted to have a ‘fun in the sun’ vibe and showcase a calling to Los Angeles that many artists pursue in their music careers.”

Getting a break from the polar vortex, one benefit was a warm climate during the winter. Another was the tight crew Booth used: While he directed and shot the video, his wife Sarah produced it and Emma-Lee was the only person in front of the camera. Having shot three videos together now, including Windsor’s Leighton Bain’s song Planes, has propelled the husband and wife team to excel with their barebones approach.

This, coupled with their loose concept, created a relaxed shoot that wasn’t pressed for time. Not having a set schedule allowed Gavin to experiment as well. Still, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t thinking about his usual crew while he was away.

“I did miss out on having my regular Windsor-based crew, which have been crucial to Emma-Lee’s last two videos,” he said. “In particular, a music video crew without Sarah FitzGerald, Matt Diamante, Clinton Hammond and Mike Carriere involved truly makes me feel like I’m missing the greatest production collaborators I’ve had.”

Gavin has previously directed two Emma-Lee videos in the area. Figure It Out was shot in an Amherstburg grocery store and Shadow Of A Ghost was filmed in Windsor at several locations, one being the Raindance Film Centre building. This venue was also used for Gavin’s upcoming feature-film, The Scarehouse.

As one of his favourite artists, Gavin always enjoys collaborating with Emma-Lee. Feeling they share an energy to keep themselves challenged, the result is always unique.

“Editing an Emma-Lee video is a great process,” he said. “I do a rough cut and then invite her in to watch the cut. She has a fantastic vision that often sees things that I don’t — or perhaps better stated, her ideas always compliment and build my own to another level. She really understands storytelling and how music videos can showcase her music. It’s always fun to bounce ideas back and forth and come out with the strongest video possible …Emma-Lee’s never looked better on camera in this video. Seeing a more fun and free performance angle of her is really great to me.”

Getting Gavin on board for this particular project was fairly easy too. Hearing a demo of the song had him singing along in his head. Beyond its catchiness, being a huge tom Petty fan allowed him to catch references spread throughout the track and connect with it on another level.

In the spirit of the campaign, Gavin took a stab at what he’d do with Tom Petty as well

“If it’s a song that already has a video – it would be Won’t Back Down,” he said. “That song stands as an anthem to me in terms of chasing your dreams and fighting for what you believe in. It’s right up my alley for video concepts. If it was a song that doesn’t have a video (at least that I’m aware of) it would be King’s Highway from his album Into The Great Wide Open. Whenever I listen to music I think in terms of what the video would look like to me. I have this twisted Tim Burton meets Sir Lancelot story that plays out when this track comes on.”

Although this project is available for all to see, Gavin still has more on the way. His film, The Scarehouse, came back to Windsor in March for a day of filming and is now complete. While he couldn’t give any specifics on a release date, the director teased that a trailer and promotional art would be “going out into the world in the not too distant future.” A Windsor-premiere is also being scheduled to celebrate the work of his local crew.

As far as planning more local productions?

“Always, always, always,” said Booth. “There is a new film in the works and a handful of new music videos. Windsor will always be my first choice for filming as long as the logistics keep working out. Just last week I was on set visiting the creators of the local series “Cooked” and was pumped to meet some new faces to the Windsor filmmaking scene. I hope they can all be collaborators of mine in the very near future. It is inspiring to see new projects launched here and new avenues for Windsor cast and crew to create their art in. I look forward to being involved in this community’s film scene however I can for the rest of my life.”

Emma-Lee’s new single can be purchased on iTunes right now. To help with her campaign’s success, fans are encouraged to share the video on Tom Petty’s facebook page, twitter account (@tompetty) with the hashtag #WWTPD, local newspapers, radio and TV stations.

While slightly biased, the Toronto-artist already has one strong supporter at least.

“Having done a daily video blog for years called How Many Days,” said Booth. “In my quest to meet the people that inspired my film career- and getting to meet the likes of Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino along the way — I believe that with the right message, Youtube and the power of six degrees of separation anything is possible. For Emma-Lee to sit down and write a song with Tom Petty? It’s 100-per-cent realistic. If it doesn’t happen I’ll be shocked. This isn’t just a gimmick – she’s a super creative songwriter and a charming human being …She’s already playing in the major leagues so Tom… TOM! Over here! Look at this video! Hear her amazing tribute to your songs and lyrics woven throughout it, pick up the phone and call her! Now, Not later. TOM? She’s waiting! Don’t make a lady wait like that, it’s just downright impolite.”

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