Being an independent singer/songwriter, I wear many hats and juggle lots of responsibilities and duties. So as you can imagine, with all the moving parts in my day to day, I’m faced with the predicaments of things not always going exactly according to plan on a pretty regular basis. A musician backed out of a gig at the last minute; Plan B: contact alternate musician or do the gig without them. An engineer bailed in the middle of his job; Plan B: find a new engineer, and possibly have to postpone the album release date. But no matter what the situation is, whenever something hasn’t worked out in the past and I needed to adjust to Plan B, in hindsight I always seem to look back and say, “Phew! Thank God Plan A didn’t work out! This was the way it was supposed to be!”.
And yet, every time something goes askew, in the thick of it, I still worry. I still get scared. Will this work out? Can I pull this off? Why do I continually worry when you’d think by now I’d understand the beauty of Plan B’s interception? I don’t really have an answer for that except, yes, I run a business, but at the end of the day I am an artist and everything I put out to the world is a piece of me. I assume that other artists, filmmakers, and creatives can relate to this. There is an attachment to Plan A because it goes deep within us. It’s our artistic baby that we bear. When the outside visual doesn’t match the inside one, there’s a reasonable uncertainty and caution moving forward. Anxiety can be natural in that in-between space before we come up with another option, and even then Plan B simply doesn’t have the same appeal (at first) when our heart was interlaced with the initial image in our minds. So when compromising that image, at least for me, my first go-to emotions are panic, stress, and dread.
Watch "Delightful" by Katie Garibaldi. Director: Anna Haas
However, with the making of my music video “Delightful,” a lightbulb finally dinged above my head when I understood that things actually do happen for a reason. And because of that, I no longer have reason to worry. Why even waste any energy crying about the loss of Plan A? Why not just jump directly on to the excitement of planning a brand new blueprint with the same optimism that I had from the start?
I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I was on tour in Nashville, TN last May and had lined up filming the video on my one free day. My director, Anna Haas, came up with the video concept of my relationship gone awry and then taking myself out for a “me day,” doing things that most couples would do on a date but by myself, to find happiness in being independent. The scenes would be shot at different independent businesses around Nashville, including a scene at an outdoor concert. I was in town for a week playing shows, etc. and the weather was hot with sunny skies. But as it turned out, thunder storms and rain was predicted on our shoot date. I kept watch on the forecast, praying the rain would go away. But the night before we were scheduled to film, I got word the concert we planned to film at was canceled due to the rain. The concert in the park was going to be our final scene for my “me day”! Our shoot was scheduled for something like 6AM, and what were we going to do now? I even bought a brand new summery dress to wear in the video since I thought it would be sunny and hot. After talking with my director, she scouted a couple locations and came up with a Plan B scene for the concert idea, which was at a bar. I had my heart set on the concert idea, so I really didn’t like the bar idea at all. I couldn’t imagine it. I stressed out for hours. But I know Anna and her work is beautiful and I decided to trust her vision, even if I couldn’t see it.
Morning came, and sure enough it was pouring rain. I was disappointed, but did my best to stay calm. However, it quickly became clear as soon as we started shooting that the rain added a whole new beauty and character to the scenes and the emotion of the story. In the video, my character’s emotion starts off sad and transforms to happy, which by pure chance (or was it?!) actually went right along with the timing of the weather since the rain started out strong in the early shots and then cleared up later in the day as we moved through the scenes and the sun started coming out. We even got the added visuals of me dancing in the rain with a bright umbrella and it was perfect. And personally, I feel like my summery dress contrasting the rainy backdrop of the film turned out to be a great symbol for my character. Since the rain cleared up later on, the glow from the sky was gorgeous and we still managed to fit in the shot of me in the park, which changed a little bit from the original idea but ended up becoming my favorite scene in the video. When you see it, I think you’ll understand. Overall, the rain and weather became a character of its own–a metaphor that mirrored my character’s transformation. People have asked us how we knew it was going to rain that day and how we planned things so perfectly. They’re also surprised to find out that we shot it all in one 16-hour shoot day (except for the opening scene, which we shot quickly the next morning before my last show in town), because of the weather’s dramatic changes that happened all in that one day.
I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that when some things don’t work out, it turns out to be for the best. But for some reason, the lovely rain in this music video was a turning point for me in the way I handle setbacks. Disappointments can be the biggest hint of all to us that something beautiful and successful is on the horizon. We should see them as a clue for even greater possibilities. We may not be in control of what happens all the time, but we can control how we react. It might sound like a simple lesson to learn, but because of my stubborn tendencies and attachment to that first visual inside my thought bubble, I found it hard to let go and trust the process completely. Now, whenever I feel worry creep in, I take a breath and think of the rain. Though the inspiration behind my song “Delightful” did not come from a breakup like the video’s story, a key point of the song is the importance of owning our happiness. I believe happiness is a choice, no matter what outside circumstances are happening around you. The irony of the making of the video reminding me of my own song’s message is not lost on me. It makes me smile every time I think of it. The next time something “goes wrong” with your project, I hope you’ll consider happiness instead of worry; excitement instead of disappointment; and the concept that something gone wrong can definitely be delightful!
Follow Katie Garibaldi: