Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Reshuffling The Deck

There's always new stuff going on.  Things get reshuffled.  Not in a bad way--in a logistical way.  Here's the plan for now and I'm pretty sure that this plan will stay as is.  Hopefully no more push-back's!

We're beginning shooting a new music video for Chicago rock band, Deep Space Pilots tomorrow morning.  Lots of bits and pieces to it.  A different kind of tone and narrative for this project but I want to try something a bit off-range from what I typically do.....but, that being said, it's still very much in my wheelhouse.  Looking forward to it.  Very cool band, terrific song.

I'm not going to blab-blab-blab about what it is and what it's about but, ergh........

"Beauty and the Beast" upside-down inside-out in reverse, "Easy Rider", "The Man Who Fell To Earth".  That's enough hinting.  This project should be done this fall and online around Halloween.

Bonkers fairy tale short film "Midnight Recipe" is a lot of fun to watch, quite an elaborate headache to make, and will be up online and in fests for Valentine's Day 2017.  Yes, this shit's been delayed but, hey, it's coming along.  So Valentine's Day.  Hugs, hearts, kisses, chubby baby angels.

There may be 2 more music videos (?) in 2017 but, I'm not sure, we'll talk about it later.

There is definitely a different......thing........that we'll be working on with collaborators that I'm not allowed to talk about right now so......we'll talk about that later too (sorry).  But it's very interesting and you girls and guys will be into it.  Either 2017 or 2018 because it's quite an elaborate and exciting beast that's going to take all kinds of reachable (thankfully!) bells and whistles but some bells and whistles nonetheless.  I want to tell you about it but I can't.  What I can say is that it's a legit, old-fashioned partnership and that feels really nice right now.

And, yes, there certainly will be a feature film--a horror-comedy to be precise--that we'll be working on beginning next year and that will be available for viewing in 2018.

People make fun of me for always drinking those trashy energy drinks that you get at convenience stores but now you know why I need to be constantly zippy.  Lots to do.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I'm Here! I'm Here!

I ain't dead yet, kids!

Yeah, so, it's 2016 now.  I've decided that this year is the year of blinding (painful? relentless?) clarity so let's cut right to the chase.....

The really weird/creepy/hopefully amazing fairy tale short film that we've been working on (and continue to work on)--it's called "Midnight Recipe"--is absolutely chugging along and we're still filming it.  It's elaborate to the point of being self-destructive and, yes, I've bitten off more than I can chew with it.  So, there, I said it.  There's some honesty for you.  It's coming along well, it's pretty damn expensive for an indie short, and it's a huge hassle to wrangle.  I feel like that sums it up.  Because "Midnight Recipe" is a big weirdo, I have to promote it the right way, carefully.  I originally planned for it to be up for viewing on Valentine's Day--meaning that I would push the film as something of a twisted Valentine's Day love story--of this year but I realized around New Year's that there was no way that we could pull that off.

My other option that I thought of in the middle of the night in early February was that I could push "Midnight Recipe" as a bizarro Christmastime fairy tale--because the Yultide Season is the season of magic and folk stories--and do it that way instead.  So that's how we're going to do it.

"Midnight Recipe" will be up for viewing in December 2016 which means that your Christmas is going to be more queasy, surreal, and uncomfortable (all adjectives that could describe "Midnight Recipe"!) than it usually is.

And this also means that I can edit and fuss with this short film to my heart's desire from now until Thanksgiving which, as a filmmaker, is always a luxury.

It's possible that I might do another music video with The Baby Magic this year but we've gotta figure it out.

And, after this year is over, I'll be starting on our first Independent Feature Film (tah-dah!) that we'll be shooting in '17.  It's a horror-comedy.  It's scary, not only because of blood and butchery, but because it's going to be a challenging project to tackle and, yes, I'm already losing sleep over it.  I'm kind of terrified to do it but hopefully it will come out the way that we're aiming for.  I hope that people will enjoy it.  The characters are extremely mean, salty (but hilarious) motherfuckers.  It's one of those films in which you have to choose which bad guy you want to root for because everyone in it is trouble and they all have legitimate reasons for being horrible to each other.  It's going to be trashy, glamorous, silly, unnerving, and a whole lot of fun; the film is centered around quantum physics, privilege, creatures from other dimensions, the undead, and extremely reckless people.  I'm currently obsessed with "Little Shop of Horrors", "Poltergeist", "Valley of the Dolls", "Clueless", "The Great Gatsby", "Weird Science", "Leprechaun", and all things John Waters.  There will be (clearly) fake documentaries, American history, shady companies, and gross relationships.

If everything goes according to plan, this indie horror film (I can't tell you the title yet because it gives away too too much) will turn out to be the enjoyable hot mess/guilty pleasure that we want it to be.  But I'm already revealing more than I should.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Spooky Nice

We had the pleasure, earlier this year, of being featured on some of the web's very best paranormal studies and folklore sites for our "Spirits of Detroit" short documentary.  Here at Addovolt we want to send some very Special Thank You!'s to Mysterious Heartland, The Moonlit Road, Timothy Yohe at Paranormal Insights, and Unearthly News.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Silent Smile

I don't want to talk too much about our upcoming film "Midnight Recipe" which is a postmodern "Disco-Medieval" short film based on an old European fairy tale.  But I'll share a few things about it and where we're at right now:

*Everyone has gone above and beyond with their performances (Lauren Hearter, Michael Marius Massett, and Michael Moody are hilarious and brilliant and I'm a very lucky director).

*Everyone involved has been extremely patient with me (yikes!).  We've been shooting this film in fits and starts for well over a year and I'm not proud of that fact.  It's gotten significantly more pricey as it's gone along--even though it's a bare-bones indie--because it's taken on a Winchester Mystery House aspect in the sense that I keeping gutting certain parts of it, reshooting other stuff, and adding more and more nonsense and set pieces to it.  Because I keep getting more "ideas" for it and it's one of those projects that, I'll admit, has gone a bit off the rails.....but not to the point of doom.

*That being said, it should (as long as nothing implodes/explodes) be online by Valentine's Day 2016.

*I watched "The Wiz", "Fellini Satyricon", "The Warriors", "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "H.R. Pufnstuf", Hanna-Barbera cartoons, "Welcome To The Dollhouse",  Molly Ringwald-era John Hughes movies, "Xanadu", and vintage Disney documentaries before and while we were shooting this project.  Those are the influences.  How they all mix together....?.....well.....we'll see, won't we?

*The music will be great.

*It was nice doing a film where I didn't really have to worry about diagetic sound while shooting it.

*People have been extremely kind and accommodating to us while we've been shooting it (sometimes in places that we probably shouldn't have been but.....oh well).

*"Midnight Recipe" takes place in a mishmash parallel world in which it's the 1480's, 1980's, and 2180's at the same time.  Just go along with it, kids.  "Disco-Medieval".

*It's a creepy film.....

*....but it has a lot of heart to it as well.

*It's a coming-of-age film about an extremely frustrated princess, paranoia, addiction, goblins, and enchanted baked goods.

The images in this posting are stills of what we've shot so far (but we have some more to do yet).

What we're going for is, basically,:  "glittery, jittery, literate stoner extravaganza film".  

So far, so good.

Featured Project

This November, I'm thankful for all the eccentric innovators and creators who share their work with the public and inspire through their efforts.

And that's why, for this month, our featured project (an older project) focuses on an acres-long stack of crazy in Spring Green, Wisconsin:  the one and only House on the Rock created by Alex Jordan, Jr.

The House's Wikipedia page is HERE to fill you in on the essentials about this place.

Five years back, when a couple of friends and I visited this attraction, they said to me:  "Seriously, Derek, make sure that you bring your camera.....".  I don't bring my camera out very often--I don't like shooting footage for the sake of shooting random footage; I want to know that there's a point to it--but I took their word for it.  They were right.  House on the Rock is amazing (and bewildering and impressive and brilliant, slightly terrifying, melancholic, awe-inspiring, etc., etc., etc....).  To believe it, you have to go there and see it for yourself.

The documentary that I made using my visitor's footage was named by my friend Matt L. who titled it perfectly as:

"Baptized In Weirdness:  an unauthorized journey through The House on the Rock"

Three things to note:

1.) Technically, this place is called House on the Rock, not The House on the Rock.  So that mistake is on me.

2.) It's not really a very good project on my part (the shooting and editing aren't terrific--it was shot a bit too casually because I didn't realize that we were shooting a proper documentary until we were half-way through it) but it's fun to watch because of the incredible displays inside House on the Rock.  The rooms speak for themselves.  House on the Rock is impressive but this documentary is not really anything to write home about.  Despite that, people really seem to like it--Thanks!!(?....)--so that's why I'm posting it, at this moment, as our featured project.

3.)  "Baptized In Weirdness" gives only a small sample--a tiny sliver--of the overwhelming, strange bounty that the House on the Rock complex contains.  If you enjoy this short documentary, then you'll go nuts for the actual place.

Go to House on the Rock.  Go visit it.  You won't regret it.

Until you do, in the meantime, check out our short documentary about it right HERE.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Baby Magic's "Huts" music video press release

Information and images in this posting may be used freely by any news outlet, reporter, blogger, publicist, website, etc. for the purpose of featuring or mentioning the music video for "Huts" by The Baby Magic.

No Wave rock band, The Baby Magic, has released their new music video for "Huts", a single from their most recent album, Rent a Place in Hell (2014).  Shot in Chicago through the summer of 2015, the satirical "Huts" video features the band wondering if it would be better to just go back to the land instead of clawing their way through different American identities.

Hear more from The Baby Magic on Bandcamp and Facebook.

"Huts" was shot and edited by Derek Quint, Addovolt Productions, 2015.

Oh, The Things That People Say....

.....or the things that they write, rather.

I'm cleaning up this blog over the next couple of weeks.

Cleaning it up!

I'll be deleting some old (....dumb, regrettable....) posts that I've written on here and revising the main pages of certain Addovolt films.

Do you ever look back on some of the old things that you've written way back when and think to yourself:  "Good Lord!!  What was I thinking!?  Why would I ever write and share something like this!?"

Well, I sure have.  A lot lately.


We've got some interesting new projects coming up within the next couple of years (that we need to promote) and we really need to be putting our best foot forward in a lot of ways....

You know what I mean?

Basically, we need to polish our shoes and tuck in our shirts around here.  Not to be a pain in the ass or anything (Addovolt is pretty punk rock, it always will be, let's face it, who are we kidding?) but.....we need to make a more determined effort to be a bit more held-together.

Well, as much as we can stomach.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Baby Magic "Huts" music video

The American Dream gets a bit murky in "Huts", a new music video from The Baby Magic.

The video is right HERE on Youtube.

The press release for this project is HERE.

Get more of The Baby Magic on their Bandcamp page (which links to their Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc.).

All the collaborations between Addovolt Productions and The Baby Magic are collected HERE.

The "Huts" music video was shot and edited by Derek Quint.  This project premiered online August 24th, 2015 and has been featured on Punk Globe, Radio One Chicago, Deli Magazine, After Ellen, and Diamond Deposits among other journals.

Most of the concepts/narrative crumbs were thought up by Mary Beth, the lead singer, since she wanted to explore differences in personal identity and intent through the video for this song.

I see "Huts" as being a giddy (and devilishly catchy) song about modern American anxiety--a sharp, self-contained rock contradiction that clocks in under 3 minutes.  It was a pleasure working with the band to create a hilarious/disturbing visual collage illustrating contemporary neurosis with dashes of 1950's idealism gone off the rails.

The Baby Magic lets me get away with being ridiculous in my own ways (which is one of the reasons I adore them).  I actually prefer pre-worn, slightly aged visuals for a lot of my projects--to remove them from specific time and location--and I spend a lot of effort making sure that my projects aren't too pretty too look at, not too crystal clear, or hi-HD.  I've always loved the 16 mm film aesthetic, a sort of retro Canadian Public Access Channel kind of look.  Rather than create immediacy and "bring you into the screen", for a lot of my projects, I want there to be a dream-like haze, a scrim, that subtly disconnects the viewer from what's happening in front of them.  I don't want viewers to get too comfortable and I like to create a bit of distance.  Sometimes people don't understand why I do this to some projects but oh well, oh well.

With the "Huts" video, we were asking:  How does a person today spend their waking hours?  What worries them, what turns them on, what wears them down?  What do they fantasize about and how do they toy with self-destruction?

The Baby Magic--brilliant, original, gutsy, talented--know that humor and candor are perfect lenses through which to view these themes.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Let's See, What's New....?....

All kinds of new stuff happening.

Schedule changes.

So that's happening.

That seems to happen a lot.  Especially indie stuff (have you ever noticed that?) but it's alright.

*The warped fairy tale short film, "Midnight Recipe", won't be online until Valentine's Day 2016.  That's quite a wait but we're accommodating the schedules of our main actors to tackle all the scenes that I want for this project.  This film is bonkers and it's going to be a tasty little slice of cult filmmaking in the ways that you want it to be.  I hope that you girls and guys really like it.  I think that you will.  But, yeah, you're going to have to be patient for a while.  I wanted to have it online for Christmas but that isn't gonna happen.  Most of it is shot already but there's still some scenes left to shoot.

*The new music video for The Baby Magic's upcoming single, "Huts" should be online at the end of this summer as long as everything goes according to plan (which it is at this moment).  So far so good.  The song is incredible (it's safe to say that it's my favorite song from The Baby Magic as of now) and the video is a lot of fun--as much fun as a song about money and modern anxiety could possibly be!  In the meantime, I have a lot of editing to do and we have a couple more scenes to shoot......while I'm simultaneously shooting "Midnight Recipe".

Here's a couple of stills of Mary Beth, the lead singer of The Baby Magic, in the "Huts" video (rock n' roll, 80's, 90's, now, existential angst, cash money, humor, America, stress, indulgence, etc., etc.  I'm not 100% sure why we were going for a Bruce Springsteen/Don Henley Through The Looking Glass type of thing, but....uh....well, that's how it's playing out for some reason):

*Next year, I'm shooting a horror-comedy movie.  A feature-length indie film.  Yes, a "real movie" (smart-asses....).  [Even though I will defend short films to the death and I insist that short films are "real movies" too except that they don't eat up your entire evening; there is a place for short films, they're an underappreciated format, and I think that more movies should be shorter--not longer!--if possible--but anyway....]  I am very tempted to blab-blab-blab about the plot of this horror-comedy but I'm going to keep myself in check at this time.  All I can say is that the storyline is ridiculous and that the "villain"/monster is more of a desadian anti-hero than monster.  There will be gore, there will be amazing locations, there will be fabulous/WTF costumes, plot lines from Dimension X, mean people that you're sorta/kinda rooting for, fancy things, gritty things, and dialogue to make your heart sing (or at least give you some belly laughs).  It's not going to be a regular horror film, however.....this is a business film.  There is a personal initiative behind it.  I want it to make some money and I want people to watch it and enjoy it.  Yes, obviously, Addovolt is indie as heck but we're going to do the best that we can with this and see how it goes.  We've never really done a "business film" before (we've only done underground art films, essentially, and some small documentaries and indie music videos) but this is the 21st century.  Let's utilize what we can even though I'm working with a limited $ reach when it comes to promo.  Regardless, let's do the best that we can do, aim for that tiny international cult audience that likes weird, underground stuff and has been supportive of my bizarro little projects over the years, and let's just.....see how it goes.  With realistic expectations and make it a learning process.  I love independent cinema that features storytelling played in an unusual emotional key--that's the kind of stuff that I aim to do--and I want to continue on that road for the moment.  My work, when it comes to plot, is actually not all that strange (the story hooks are not very abstract at all, really, and that's done on purpose) but it feels weird.  Odd textures, strange vibes, atypical aesthetics.  The point, when it all boils down to it, is to try to communicate things from my perspective and/or the perspective of certain characters.  Inevitably, those perspectives show up looking a bit "different" (haha) for better or for worse.  But different is good.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pale Horseman "Conquistador" music video

The music video for Pale Horseman's single "Conquistador" is now online and it can be viewed right HERE.

Pale Horseman "Conquistador"
from their album Mourn The Black Lotus
(their Facebook page is HERE, their Bandcamp page is HERE, and their profile in the Encyclopedia Metallum is HERE)

a video by Derek Quint
Addovolt Productions

France Jean-Baptiste as the Silver Witch
Joy Donovan as the Gold Witch
Shane Simmons as the Silver King
Michael Moody as the Gold King

fight choreography by Michael Moody
makeup by Erin Rose Almaraz
on-set photography by Howard Wait

Special Thanks to:  the witches and warlocks, Mount G., Debi P.W., T. Finnerty, A. Leahy, J.&N. Quint, H., M.M., Howard Wait, Ben Carson, and The City of Gary

The video premiered on on February 23rd, 2015.

We had a really good time making it despite some cold and snow (we shot the video in bits and pieces from late November '14 to February '15).  I was kind of concerned about the weather when shooting inside the church (because we shot that scene right after Thanksgiving) but, luckily, everyone was fine, Pale Horseman sounded fantastic, and it turned out to be the last warm day of the year was the day that we shot that particular sequence.  The church still has really good acoustics even though it's in ruins. The battling knights scenes (inside of a crumbling auditorium, this time) were genuinely frigid but both actors ignored the weather completely and put on great performances.

There were a lot of moving parts to this project and I have to give Pale Horseman extra thanks letting me use the overall themes of "Conquistador" (a heavy and terrific song) and take some of my own creative risks using their work.

The Story

This is a music video so, in the case of "Conquistador", there's six and a half minutes to tell a story.  The narrative has a more dense backstory (detailed at the end of this post) imagined for it but here's the quick(er) version:

Two powerful witches--long-standing enemies--settle an argument by playing a game of fate.  No one can agree on who is right and who is wrong so, rather than starting an all-out war, they choose to take a more "civilized" approach in finding a resolution.  They'll let the game decide.  A few additional witches and warlocks (some powerful themselves, others just apprentices), understanding the gravity of the situation, have decided to serve as witnesses to the game taking place to make sure that things stay fair.  During the game, they listen to music (naturally).  On the table are instruments and symbols to be used throughout the game including a crumbling toy structure and poppets that represent the two matriarchs.  The witches, rather than battling in their own world, have spirits battling for them on an appointed stage.  The champion of the Silver Witch is a Silver King while the Gold Witch uses a Gold King to fight for her.  The game turns nasty and aspects of the battle begin to penetrate the room.  The Silver Witch wins the game meaning that the Silver King defeats the Gold King.  Unexpectedly, the Silver King presents his witch with a choice of two gifts that she may use according to her will:  a rose to offer the Gold Witch as a symbol of resolving peace (the nice option) or.....a pin.  The poppet of the Gold Witch is just within reach (uh oh).  The Silver Witch lets hate get the best of her and she stabs the Gold Witch's poppet, killing the woman it represents.  The Silver Witch could have chosen mercy but, instead, she decides to execute her defeated enemy.  From now on, the other witches and warlocks will view the Silver Witch differently than they used to.


There were plenty of influences for the tone and feel of this music video:  David Lynch, Dario Argento, Alexandro Jodorowsky, Tarantino, "American Horror Story", Hammer Horror films, "Dark Shadows", "Flowers In The Attic", others, etc.

Pale Horseman's song is about the Spanish soldiers who explored (and caused havoc) in parts of North, Central, and South America in the 16th century.  Because this music video was shot in Indiana and Illinois (where everyone involved on this project was based at the time), doing a straightforward visual interpretation of the song wasn't a possibility.  We're on a budget here; a 10-person trip to a desert or a south-of-the-border ancient temple was a no-go.  If we were based in Arizona, California, or Mexico, for example, it's entirely possible that this music video would have featured a different storyline because we would have had different topography to work with (sure, we could have done something using green screen but I'd rather not).  So we ended up going with a mystery and mayhem story that abstractly alluded to the band's original inspiration behind the song.  At one point, I was thinking about doing something that involved a really gross, gory, undead conquistador (could've been interesting....) but, instead, I wanted to do b-roll that went closer to the themes sung (annihilation, betrayal, blood-thirst) without being as literal as featuring an angry corpse with his face falling off.

When it came to where we wanted to shoot the band, we went with an incredible place not too far from Chicago.  We had never been anywhere like United Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana.  "Wow" is putting it mildly....

From what I understand, parts of "Nightmare On Elm Street" (the 2010 remake) and one of the "Transformers" movies shot scenes there.  It's a magnificent, highly unusual location.  United Methodist was opened in 1925 but was only in use for around half a century until its congregation shrank in the 1970's.  It was later completely abandoned and fell into ruin.  A history of United Methodist is detailed HERE.  It's impossible to be in this building and not have an emotional reaction to it.  It's a massive, complicated structure and the pictures don't do it justice.

When it came to the battling knights, I wanted to go with another location that happens to be close to the church.  Although I loved shooting in United Methodist, I also found that place to be deeply intimidating and distracting (it just is--you'll understand if you go there.).  On a different day, we had to have a place that would be conductive to a fight sequence and, therefore, I needed a lot of easy floor space to work with.  The abandoned Memorial Auditorium in Gary fit the bill because of its available, clear floor space and it looked aesthetically linked to the church even though it's actually a few blocks away.  It isn't difficult to imagine phantoms dueling with each other in there (maybe they do in the middle of the night when no one is looking--who knows?).  The Auditorium's dramatic staircases and crumbling doorways were perfectly suited to the story that we wanted to tell.  The history of Memorial Auditorium is summarized HERE.

I would definitely recommend shooting in Gary, Indiana because of these places (among others) and the fact that the Gary Film Office is very cool and really helped us in securing the perfect locations for this project.  A very, very big "Thank You!" belongs to the Film Office (Ben C., especially) and, also, to the City of Gary for keeping these breathtaking structures available to artists.  Decayed buildings can teach us a lot about history, nature, and architecture as well as adding emotional and metaphoric context to photographs, films, videos, paintings, etc.  I wish that other cities would find ways to keep their ruins too.  There's a rumor going around that they want to eventually turn United Methodist into a safer version of itself, a "ruin garden", similar to work done in Europe but whether or not that's true, I don't know.

My favorite visual style is the look of 16mm film.  I don't like overly-pretty, fussy visuals and lighting; that sort of thing pisses me off sometimes.  For a lot of my projects, I actually prefer "ugly", fucked-up lighting and aesthetics in specific cases partially because the kind of work that I do usually features outlandish storylines, strange costumes, surreal characters, etc. so--in order to balance those out and to give my work a certain anchor of grit, timelessness, and  believability--I intentionally prefer to keep things a bit dirty and rough, camera-wise.  Not always but, with some projects, I prefer for them to look as though the film stock took an extra-long dip in the acid bath; to look a bit neglected and to have a kind of distant, aged, "found footage", mixed-media feel to them.  Footage from a documentary of a dream, that sort of thing.

more about the characters and backstory, as imagined for this music video:

(If you enjoyed the music video, and want to learn more about the characters just for the fun of it, here you are...)

What are the two main witches fighting over?  Over the years, they've battled over plenty of issues.  This time?  Real estate.  The two main witches were taught by the same warlock who has now died and it was revealed that he owned a piece of property that, at one point, served as a church (a front in order to get approval for licensing and to deflect neighborhood suspicion).  When the story that we see takes place, the witches have just learned that he was the true owner (no one knew this until an old document was found in a drawer in his study).  Although this piece of property was always considered special to him, no one was quite sure why exactly.....

The significance of the building (now in ruins) has nothing to do with what's in it but, rather, some of the materials that it's made of.  Almost a century ago, the warlock smuggled half a cargo plane worth of expensive, extremely rare, and powerful crystals from Mexico and Peru.  These were taken without consent from their respective locations, angering plenty of other witches, sorcerers, and shamans (to the point where this warlock's death may have occurred due to their retribution rather than old age but no one is certain; only rumors).  These crystals were embedded in some concrete and bricks that were used to build the walls and foundation, turning the structure into something of an occult power generator.  The building, practically pulsating with energy, might as well have become a convention center for spirits, demons, and angels and, also, for practitioners looking to mine its power for use in whatever Light and/or Dark Arts that they might be engaged in.  The eventual abandonment and ruin of the building was circumstantial.  The warlock was intending on revealing the truth about the ownership and nature of the building but he died shortly beforehand, creating a clusterfuck of legal confusion and unanswered questions that remained unanswered for decades (partially due to a rush-job on the lawyer's end, greed, neglect, lost documents, and bureaucratic foolery).  Until now.

The woman nicknamed the Gold Witch believes that the property should belong to her because of a supposed vow that the warlock had made to her coyly stating that he was going to leave her someplace special (not something) upon his death and that he was meeting with his lawyer (because changing documents using magic is more trouble than it's worth, especially if there are multiple copies and locations involved; it's better to just go about it the normal way, in most cases; plus he didn't foresee actually dying half a week later) to make some changes to his will.  The warlock ended up dying 3 or 4 days before this supposed meeting with the lawyer was due to take place.  The Gold Witch's sister-in-training (the woman nicknamed the Silver Witch) disagrees, believing that--due to the warlock's official, registered will (from which she received slightly more) and her elevated status within the community--the property should belong to her.  And this is how we end up with a big disagreement over a strangely valuable piece of land between two former allies who've hated each other for years (via various misunderstandings, back-stabbings, disagreements, and competitions which would require an entire novel to describe).

The Gold King and the Silver King are just spirits playing roles.  They're not actual knights, even in the story that we watch.  Their battle is symbolic.  Spirits don't bleed and they don't die but they will understand the concepts of humans fighting, bleeding, and dying in order to solve an argument and to make a point.  The Gold and Silver Kings are daemons hiding behind archetypes, standing in as the warring spiritual avatars of the two main witches.

When the Silver Witch kills the Gold Witch, she creates an entirely new series of problems for herself and her community.

The "Conquistador" Music Video Annotated

Some of the images in the "Conquistador" music video are overt while others are more subversive.  Now that you've read the full version of the story that takes place within the video, there are all kinds of things to notice when you view it again.

*Stairways To Heaven:  Stairs are everywhere in this music video, from the ruined buildings to inside the toy model near the game poppets.  When the band appears (who are muses to the witches within the story taking place), we first see them descending down a staircase.  Ditto for the Gold King (the Silver King appears through a doorway but he has his own staircase behind him too).  In faith and folklore, holy beings travel down to earth using ladders and staircases.  Sacrifices took place at the top of staircases on Aztec temples (like the ones overtaken by conquistadors).  Staircases and ladders represent transformation, transition, and travel from one dimension to another.  Jacob's Ladder is the perfect example.  We can see a ladder in the background while the witches play their game at 1:04 in the video.

*Valley Of The Dolls:  The poppets representing the Witches, Kings, and the band are made of plastic, plaster, rubber, tape, weeds, leather, metal, paint, and bones.  Their overall design concepts were inspired by objects displayed in the Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum.

*Drinking Buddies:  To spark up visions, seers throughout history have guzzled special elixirs before engaging in rituals.  These Witches are no different; they're served a vivid, green liquid (absinthe?) that spikes their teas before the dice start to roll and the wheels begin to spin.

*Bloody Mess:  Beware of crimson.  There's danger mixed in the dice (3 white, 1 red) that the Witches utilize in their game, the paint that they use to mark the injuries of the Kings, the jewel topping the pin, the cynicism of the Silver King's rose, and (of course) the blood that appears when the Gold Witch and King are defeated.

*The Writing's On The Wall:  The church and the battle court are defaced by graffiti, traces of long-lost messages; the toy building on the witches' game table is also coated with old stories and messages in the form of newspapers that mimic the graphic lines of bricks and stones.

*Eyes On The Prize:  The Gold Witch focuses on a vision of the church (at 5:32) right after she/her King gets hit in the eye.  Even though she suffers at that point in the game, she's still in it to win it.

*Stargazers:  Lillies (flowers representing death and mourning) are placed uncomfortably close to the doomed Gold Witch throughout the game.

*Stay Golden:  The Silver King wears mainly white and silver just like the Silver Witch.  The Gold King wears mostly black and gold just like his witch (who even has gold fingernails).  Apparently, not all of the warlock's smuggled crystals ended up inside of the church walls; the Silver Witch is wearing some of that stash on her fingers and wrists.

*Friends In High Places:  There are the characters within the story....and then there are the other characters within the story.  The witches are watched throughout their game by skulls, preserved animals, paintings, and additional sorcerers.  On the base of the alter in the church, the face of a Sun God leers out at us at 0:06 while the band plays on.  And for all the story about the warlock whose actions lead up to the game/duel, you'd think that he should appear at some point in the video, even though he's dead.  Well, he does.  That's a portrait of him, perched on an easel, behind the Silver Witch at 7:02.  Should we be surprised that she won?

*Call Us If You Need Anything:  On top of the crumbling toy building, the witches place poppets of musicians (Pale Horseman) before they start their game at 0:54.  A proper duel deserves a nice soundtrack.