Squint: Movies From The Soundtrack

[Image: 'Squint: Movies From The Soundtrack' Front Cover]

© 1994 Warner Bros. Records Inc.
VHS · WVC-4303



  1. Smug
  2. The Moshing Floor
  3. Jesus Is For Losers
  4. Bannerman
  5. Sock Heaven
  6. Cash Cow (A Rock Opera In Three Small Acts)
  7. The Finish Line

About The Video

From Steve Taylor on Staring into the Sun: Squint or You'll Miss It, True Tunes News, Winter 1993:

Along with Warner Alliance's enthusiasm, they wanted to see a long form video come out of this. I came back with the idea of doing this thing "Around The World." At first they thought they couldn't afford it, but I said "Let me come back to you with what I think it would cost." What we did was put some money aside and bought a 35mm camera, which was immediately a step up, since most videos are done on 16mm or video. We got a great deal on a used one.

I got together with my friend Ben Pearson who is a still photographer, but had done a lot of stuff with the band. I knew that he was the kind of guy that, even though he had never done it before, would pick it up very quickly. I had Russ, the guy that engineered the album, to do sound, and Mark Hollingsworth, who is one of my managers, to road manage. We got four around the world tickets to all the places I'd always wanted to go.

We started in Hong Kong, then to Vietnam. The point there was nothing political, I just wanted to go to places that no one had seen before. You can't get much more remote than North Vietnam because it's been locked off for so long. I also knew that they were trying to open things up, so we managed to hit it at just the right time. At first it didn't look good, but then at the last minute they decided they wanted us to come so they made it possible to get visas.

From Interviews: Steve Taylor, Cornerstone Magazine, Q1(?) 1994:

Why go around the world just to shoot a rock video?

Warner was interested in doing some sort of video production, and since I had a fair amount of experience I just started dreaming on it--if I could do anything, what would I do? Instead of staying in Nashville and trying to use the same locations a thousand country groups are using, or building something in a studio which costs a ton of money, we could find the best backdrops in the world and just go there and shoot. You'd think it would cost lots of money, but I called travel agents and was able to get four round-the-world fares for about three thousand dollars each--not too bad. That took care of the crew and myself. We also took part of the budget and bought a thirty-five millimeter camera so we could shoot the project with real film instead of sixteen millimeter video. Video is cheaper but you don't get the same look. Then I had to decide where I wanted to go.

I wanted to go to really remote places, and I figured not many people have seen North Vietnam or the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. Well, I quickly found out Tibet was a no-go. The Chinese have overrun it, and it's very difficult to get in as a tourist, much less to film. So we wound up going to Nepal which is right to the south but still in the Himalayas. It didn't look like Vietnam was gonna happen either. There still aren't official ties with the United States. But we sent in a request and they decided at the last minute the filming would be a good idea.

Were you making any kind of statement by choosing those particular countries?

I just wanted to find a backdrop no one else had used, and I figured North Vietnam would be real interesting with the combination of Asian and French architecture in it. So for better or worse, there was no political agenda at all in going there. Still, it was funny--Oliver Stone can't even get in to film a movie, but somehow this was the first music video ever shot in Vietnam.

Another reason I thought it would be especially interesting is I don't exactly blend into crowds, especially crowds where the average height is four foot eleven.

From Cornerstone 1994 Press Conference, The Phantom Tollbooth, July 2nd, 1994:

Audience: I saw your videos. I was wondering, when you went overseas, if you already had everything all planned out, what you were going to do with them, or if in fact you just got there and said, "wow, this is a cool looking place, let's shoot here." Did you just travel around and do it that way, or did you have stuff in mind?

ST: Yeah, that's a really good question. It was sort of a combination, probably erring more towards the "wow, this is a really cool place." [audience laughs]

On certain songs I had a rough idea of what to go for, and other ones it was just--we also knew pretty well certain locations that we were going to go for. We had sort of a sophisticated way of finding that out: I'd go through tour books and see a photo and think, "wow, that looks like a cool place!" So we'd go there.

At the end of the "The Finish Line", for those of you who've seen the video, there's these limestone pools, and it's a real amazing-looking place. It was just going through a travel book and seeing a photo, and, "wow, that looks like fun," and so we went there.

It was one of those things that just by the grace of God, it all worked out. We shipped the film home every two or three days from Nepal, or Vietnam, or wherever we were, and what do you know, when we got home and got it developed, it actually looked pretty good.

Audience: Yeah, it was a lot different than your other videos. It was like you went National Geographic on this one. [audience laughs] The other ones were, you know--

ST: Well, a lot of it, too, is when you're in Nepal you don't have to get people to sign release forms. [audience laughs] Point- and-shoot, you know.

From Sonfest '95 Press Conference, Peter T. Chattaway, July 28th, 1995:

Peter T. Chattaway: When you went on your tour, did you have any plans for what you wanted your videos to look like?

Steve Taylor: Yeah, I had some plans, and knew, like, I'd sort of narrowed it down to, like, countries. I knew we were gonna shoot "The Finish Line" in Vietnam and it would end up at this place in Turkey called--I forget the name of it, but the place where the waterfalls are--and I knew that "Jesus Is For Losers" would be filmed primarily in England in the countryside, and so I sort of had it spread out geographically, but then a lot of it was making it up when we got there, and with "Bannerman", which is sort of like, grab stuff and shoot 'em in all the different countries. And in fact, the situation with "Bannerman", if anyone's seen the video, there's a band that plays along, and that was actually the house band of the restaurant we ate at in Thailand. We just asked them if they would mind learning the song really quick and lip-synching to it, and they agreed. It just happened right there.

From Steve Taylor's Musical Matinee, Christian Music Crossroads, October 1995:

When the time came for Taylor to venture back into the Christian music scene in 1993 with the album Squint, part of the bigger picture of the project was another long-form video. This time, with the help of photographer Ben Pearson, Taylor started thinking on a global scale and used his production budget to take a very small crew to shoot in more than half a dozen countries.

The finished product showcased videos with a vibrant simplicity that took great advantage of their locales. Part of that simplicity came from the dearth of equipment the crew was able to use. "Once we came off the tripod, we were naked. We didn't have cranes, we didn't have dollies, we couldn't take that stuff on a trip around the world. It was very much a matter of playing to our strengths, which were composition, location and action within the frame," Taylor says. "Ben, being a photographer, has this really great eye for composition, and he's got a temperament that's really well suited for this. He's very patient, a very hard worker and a really good friend."

Taylor says he approaches each video project with a goodly amount of divine help. "Each one, there's a lot of prayer involved, because you realize how many things could go wrong, and no matter how well you plan in advance, if God isn't there, you're screwed.

"We experienced it in massive doses on the trip around the world. I mean, there is no reason that thing should have come off. At any checkpoint we could have had all of our film confiscated, something could have gone wrong with the camera--I mean, you can't get your 35mm camera fixed at the mall overnight," Taylor says. "I'm not one of those guys who will suggest that God manipulated weather patterns to help us make our video, but for whatever reason, it went off better than anybody could have possibly expected."

From The Three Faces Of Steve, The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine, April 1996:

Which of your world tour videos [from Squint, released November 1993] do you like?

I like "Banner Man," just for the goofiness of it. I like "Sock Heaven," as far as it being the most exotic one. "Cash Cow" I didn't do and I think it's brilliant. That was an animator, Jonathan Richter, who was a student who sent me some stuff to get my opinion on it. I called him and said "I love what you're doing; I'd love to work with you in the future." So I sent him the song "Cash Cow" and $600 later, he came up with that thing and it was nominated for a Dove Award.