Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New York Artist Accuses Black Keys of Stealing Video Treatment

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Creative ideas aren’t like opinions or assholes — not everyone has one. So New York artist, director, musician and model Bon Jane says of Music City-via-Buckeye State blues-rockers The Black Keys. Jane claims that in August of last year she pitched a video treatment for the Keys’ “Ten Cent Pistol” directly to band members Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. The pair passed on the proposal, with Auerbach telling Jane, “the record label did not want to pay for the production of the video.”

But, according to a press release sent the Scene’s way today on Jane’s behalf, the label, Nonesuch Records, ponied up anyway. Exceeeeept … Nonesuch ended up green-lighting Jane’s concept, and used it for the Keys’ “Howlin’ for You,” instead of “Ten Cent Pisol.” Annnnd, to direct the video (above) the Keys tapped “Chris Marrs Pilliero,” instead of Jane. Then, as Jane claims, adding insult to injury, the Keys camp never credited her for her intellectual contribution. The “Howlin’ for You” clip went on to nab a Best Rock Video nod at the 2011 MTV Music Video Awards.

According to the press release:

The concept of the video written by Jane featured a femme fatale killer in a Tarrantino/Lynch style Western hunting down men. Thematics in the written and visual treatment included a vintage sports car from the ‘70s, three types of female assassins, a white horse, guns, men who were hunted down by the femme fatale and murdered in hotel rooms, old warehouses, as well as aesthetic treatment descriptions such as lens flare and bleed, night scenes, desert scenes, and the description of the femme fatale's wardrobe bodices and feathered eyelashes. Bon Jane also discussed with Auerbach the making of the video into a film narrative. Bon Jane was originally encouraged by The Black Keys to present them with her idea. Her interests were based solely in creative collaboration with one of her favorite artists.

So, let’s break it down. Below are time-stamped links to the examples listed above.

* Femme fatale killer? Check.

* Vintage sports car from the ‘70s? Check.

* Three types of female assassins? Check. Check. And Check.

* White horse? Check.

* Guns? Check.

* Hotel room murders? Check.

* Old warehouses? Check.

* Lens flare and bleed? Check.

* Night scenes? Check.

* Desert Scenes? Check.

* Bodices and feathered eyelashes? Check.

* A film narrative? Check.

In addition to writing an open letter to Auerbach and Carney addressing her claims, Jane has also addressed the issue of ethical collaboration, copyright and intellectual property within the arts with a documentary short called On Appropriation. It premiers at New York’s Brooklyn Fireproof on Friday, in case you’re feeling like making a road trip. Here's a link to the trailer.

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