Randy Chriz is making waves in the interwebs once again. Not too long after his fan-made video to rapper Eminem’s track Godzilla caught the attention of Eminem himself, Randy is back in the news – but this time, after having brokered a successful partnership with Universal Music Group’s “Interscope”, the label representing Eminem and some of the world’s leading artists including the likes of Rolling Stones, Dr. Dre, and Lady Gaga.
With his most recent collaboration with Interscope, Randy has gone on to officially direct the lyric video for Eminem’s recent track, Tone Deaf. Commenting on his new creation, he said that Interscope has been in discussions with him about creating numerous visuals for several of their artists (singers), with Eminem being one.
He said the content creation process with a record label that deals with many such leading A-list artists hasn’t been easy, sharing that each project takes a considerable amount of time to get finalised. Therefore, the fact that he was able to release two videos for them within a year already is a big personal achievement.
He shared that the video was pitched to him in December 2020, the green light was given in January, and he delivered it in February 2021, a few weeks before its release this March. Randy said the video is also one of the most complex video productions he has ever made. “Doing a video for Eminem, who is a childhood idol of mine, means much more than I can express in words. I am truly honoured.”
Shedding a little more light on the behind-the-scenes process of working with global talent, Randy said that despite being stretched quite thin when Interscope asked him to do the video, he was ready to extend his work hours and accommodate the opportunity. However, he shared that Interscope generously gave him all the time he needed to finish the project.
“They have been incredibly respectful and accommodating of my creative needs. So I truly consider myself blessed to get to work with Interscope and with Eminem’s management team and the man himself. He was very specific about certain things like the lyrics and the accuracy of the timing of lyrics, as well as a few minor details of the video itself, but everything else was left to me to decide,” he said.
Randy commented that as a policy, he requires that his clients give him creative freedom beyond the initial brief, following which Portia and he would go through the toughest part of the process – brainstorming. “This is something Portia is an integral part of. She and I do a lot of research and listen to the track at least a 100 times before we think of ideas and finalise one,” he added.
He also spoke of the challenges posed by Tone Deaf as a project, stating that it was especially difficult considering that unlike most tracks, Tone Deaf didn’t have a climactic ascending; the whole track was maintained at an equal tempo from start to finish and it is five minutes long, whereas the norm is usually three to four minutes. He said that when it comes to animation, one extra minute means a lot of additional work.
He also said the track was “packed with references” and therefore they knew from the start that narrating a linear visual story was not suitable for it, which made the job extra difficult. The duo finally settled on a storyline courtesy of Portia, and Randy said the jumbled timeline allowed them to visualise almost all of Eminem’s reference points while maintaining a story, adding: “To my knowledge, this is the only music video to feature a jumbled timeline.”
They had to work around the challenges posed in illustrating as it took longer than usual, with a few samples of the Eminem avatar having to be sent to Eminem for approval. After the approval of the avatar, they completed all the illustrations needed, with the help of Ravija Wijethunga, their assistant artist. Finally, when it came to the animation, he once again reiterated that this project was one of the most complex videos he has ever made, having to request special assistance from Adobe to help solve a few issues with the software to help accommodate the scale of the project, as the total video had above 68,000 layers, which is far exceeding than what’s normal.
Having undergone the varying challenges, however, upon delivery of the project, Randy stated that the team at Interscope were thrilled with it and “replied saying it is one of the most amazing things we have ever seen”.
Randy shared that the challenging project was an incredible opportunity, sharing that the best part about all of it was the fact that he got to take Eminem on a journey of his choosing. “They gave me complete creative freedom and I always appreciate that.”
Being a self-taught artist/animator and visual director, Randy’s achievements are astronomical, and it’s evident that hard work do pay off, as is evidenced by his over 15-year dedication to the profession, having worked in media, advertising, and entertainment sectors, both locally and internationally, and carefully cultivating a reputation for his unique style of art and animation.
Moving forward, we can be sure to see Randy Chriz pop up quite often as the creator is set for the stars. Sharing a snippet of what’s to come, Randy spoke of Meraki United, his own production house, which he established in 2018, together with his partner Portia. He shared that since then, Portia and he have been expanding their portfolio in the entertainment industry and that their work has earned them a steady and loyal following and clientele, both locally and internationally.
He said his passion for music and prior experience in making music videos became the reason to populate their portfolio with music videos. However, their focus as a company is not solely in the music industry.