Debut Music Video: Thick Skin / by Sam Abelow

Throughout the process of directing this video I had no conceptual idea as to why I was doing the stop motion animation. Certainly, it all was inspired by the fact that I had amassed a large collection of collage materials: tear outs from vintage esoteric magazines, stolen images from newspapers, textiles, prints, scraps of drawings my sister brought home from college. Drawers filled with these images and textures inspired me to create.

As I began to piece together the segments of initial stop motion, I realized I needed more content. I went to my journals and began to do stop motion, moving through the pages, zooming in on compelling illustrations and crouching to the camera, overlooking the notebooks, until my knees crippled. When Interpreting this strong element in the video, the exposing of my journals, there is an obvious connection to the song "Thick Skin" which lyrically is so raw and upfront with vulnerabilities.

please enjoy watching the video before continuing...

In the lyrics of the song I honestly explain shortcomings, fears and struggles, which are usually left unsaid; remaining in a journal, therapist office or hidden behind brief glances, slammed doors and in between the brief silences of telephone call. In other words, I say out loud, in the song, troubles and doubts many of have experiences, but never wish to announce.

This song isn't just about a bad day, an unlucky week, or even a dark winter which persists in weakening our willpower or mood, it's about a dysfunction and disillusionment much more prolonged and interwoven into the most fundamental foundations of the psyche, which make the world and society seem unfathomable. It's a vast, overwhelming fear which makes everything seem undo-able, where all of life towers in its vastness.

Undeniably there is a sarcastic tone to the song, as if to say: "Yes, I know I'm complaining." There is something inherently ironic about a rock song, a John Lennon, George Harrison, or Lou Reed style guitar lick juxtaposed with such depressing lyrics. In a dramatic way, I exaggerate the theme, inspired by real emotions, and say during the refrain "everything seems to get at me."

During this phrase I imagined the food being splattered at my face, in the dimness of night, with contrasting light. The setup was relatively simple, but it all had to happen in one shot. Once my white shirt and face where spoiled with the blackness, the crud, the gloppy grossness, the shot could not be redone. We left the camera rolling for the whole song and what you see are the results of that moment.

The uncomfortable feeling you see is real and so is the fundamental theme of the song. In conclusion I can add something uplifting and say that life seems more inviting these days, girls easier to talk to, dreams much more pleasant and everything doesn't seem to get at me.