Zach Braff phoned PopWatch earlier this week, during a lunch break on the Scrubs set… not to talk about which network the episode he’s currently shooting will air on next season. “I don’t want to get in trouble with giant corporations, because they’re scary,” he says. “No, I just know that the cast has been asked not to talk about it, so I’m officially not talking about it.” (But he did quickly plug NBC’s May 8 season finale, an epic homage to The Princess Bride that he directed.) Instead, Braff wanted to chat about the music video that he’s directing for former Jump Little Children frontman Jay Clifford (pictured, right), “Know When to Walk Away.” Braff’s vision: People from all over the globe film themselves lip-syncing the track, in their own music video, and submit the footage on jaycliffordmusicvideo.com by May 30. He’ll edit together the best scenes and include them in the official video, for which he’s already shot Clifford “singing and doing some cool stuff on a rooftop.” Why enlist the help of the masses? Besides the fact that he thinks Clifford is an artist people should know about, Braff says, “I’ve been really active on MySpace, just because I enjoy that sort of discourse with people who like, or don’t like, what I’m doing. And something that I always get is, ‘I want to get into filmmaking,” or ‘Hey, I make videos.’ I had this daydream about finding a way to collaborate with people that I’ve never met. Then I was listening to the song in the car one day, after I’d just woken up, and it just all came together: Why don’t I try to set up a thing where everyone can submit their own version of the music video, and then I’ll cut them together? It’ll be a way to collaborate with people from all over the world, because I get email on MySpace from people from Africa, Europe, South America, and the most random places you would ever think would even know who I am or have Internet access.”
Yes, he knows there’s a famous Nickelback videothat features random people and celebrities lip-syncing, but his goalis different. “It’s about regular people making their own version ofthe video, with a concept of their own that highlights something aboutthemselves, who they are and where they live,” he says. “ ‘Know When toWalk Away,’ you could make it about a job, about a bad situation inyour life, about anything. I already said on the site, I don’t wantpeople submitting video of them getting kicked in the balls — save thatfor YouTube. This if for people who have an interest in making videosor films. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to spendmoney, but it should be thought out and original enough to stand outamongst what we hope are gonna be hundreds and hundreds of entries.”
Waiting to see if your project is one of the chosen ones issomething that Braff can relate to, by the way. He’s hoping Fox picksup the pilot, Night Life, that he just directed (and wouldserve as an exec producer on, if it went to series). Written by hisbrother Adam, it follows “a regular suburban guy who gives up his dayjob because he’s just feeling so uninspired, and decides to become anEMT in the inner city of Baltimore,” Zach says. “The only shift theyhave is the night shift. So he’s experiencing all this craziness atnight in the inner city, but during the day, trying to maintain hislife as a suburban father. It’s got a lot of action and drama in it,but also a really dry humor to it, hopefully in the spirit of the CoenBrothers. That’s what we sort of aimed at.”
Good luck to everyone.