EXCLUSIVE: DJay Brawner On Directing William Beckett’s ‘Benny And Joon’ Video

Yesterday, the talented and handsome William Beckett premiered a new music video for his latest perfectly pop single, “Benny And Joon.” The new video has everything you could want from a Beckett feature. Humor, he bats is beautiful eyes at the camera and we even see him rolling around in bed! To get an idea of what making this video was like, we reached out to the video’s talented director DJay Brawner. Brawner has been directing for years working with Buzznet favorites like The Used and Gym Class Heroes, just to name a few. You guys have definitely seen his work.

Take a look at this exclusive Q&A about working on William Beckett’s “Benny And Joon.”

Who came up with the concept for the video? How involved was William in the process?

When you receive such a rad track it’s easy to write a concept for the video. So, I wrote one. I knew I wanted to create something that played off of the theme of the film “Benny & Joon” but also had a bit of David Lynch thrown in. After William read my concept he gave me a call and we chatted through some things to make sure we were on the same page. He pretty much wanted to do a video just like what I wrote so it worked out really well.

Did it take any convincing for William to open the video in his undies? He seems pretty modest in real life.

The day before the shoot he called me to go over everything for the next day and we talked wardrobe. He asked me, “What is your vision for the opening bedroom scene?” and my reply was, “How do you see that scene playing out?” He threw out that he should probably be in boxer briefs to make seem more real. I was hoping for at least jeans and no shirt. But he opted for the undies and the rest is history.

What was the biggest challenge of the shoot?

We actually filmed the video in downtown Chicago, which was in its own right a bit of a challenge because of the travel. Three of us flew out from Los Angeles and luckily my family is from Illinois and we had a place to stay just down the street with some built in family chauffeurs to help us lug our gear around. The location we filmed in was a two-story loft space with a narrow spiral staircase which we had to move between for a couple scenes, add in 15 people between crew and talent and we had a pretty tight operating space. The local crew in Chicago were really great to us and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them

Which scenes were your favorites?

I love the car scene. When doing the beginning stages of prep for the shoot I knew we needed a cool car to use. Asked my friends and family out there if they knew of anything, and my Uncle let me know he could bring the ’87 Porsche out from the suburbs. That car is really special to me because it brings back a lot of childhood memories visiting them from California and getting driven around in the Porsche. My family is pretty small and we are all very close, so having that car in the scene and having my Uncle there to watch us film it was just really special. Plus the scene really adds a whimsical falsehood to what seemed like a reality in the video.

The charm of the story relies a lot on William’s charm, was it hard to get that out or him, or was he as natural as he appears?

William is a talented dude. In certain situations it’s hard to get people to be open and laugh and have fun, but William really was a natural.

And of course, what was it like to work with Mr. Beckett?

It was great. He really cared about making this music video. We had never met before this shoot, but by the end of the day it felt like we had known each other for years. We were joking and telling stories throughout the day and he made everyone feel comfortable with him from the start. I hope to work with him again soon.

For more on DJay’s work check out his site. And for more from WB, pick up his new album, Genuine & Counterfeit on August 20th.

What do you think of the video?

Let’s talk music, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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