Violin Hero: 7 Months in the Making

About a year and a half ago I was walking around in the the toys isle of Walgreen’s when all of a sudden this awesome idea popped into my head: Violin Hero music video! I wasn’t sure how to do it but I really wanted to make this video. It would need green screen and animation and those are two things that I knew absolutely nothing about, so I started looking around for directors. I have a lot of friends who make films because I have worked for them as a composer. I talked to a handful of people who seemed interested, but then I found Zzalgern0n (as far as I can tell that actually IS his name – one name, like “McLovin.”)

Not only is Zzalgern0n an awesome, hi-energy, internet-savvy director, experienced with both green screen and animations; he has also beat Guitar Hero on Expert! It was clear that this was the man for the job:

YouTube Preview Image


There was quite a bit of pre-production on this project. Comic-book artist Brandon Redenius designed a Violin Hero logo and box. Zzalgern0n made a disc. My girlfriend Laura Weinbach from Foxtails Brigade made illustrations for the start screen and song-select screen. For the song-select screen we also consulted with musicologist Baker Peeples to come up with a list of the most shredding violin songs of all time in ascending order of difficulty.

Trisha Gum, who made the clay sculptures for Dark Opus now works making miniature sets for stop-motion tv shows on cartoon network. She built a miniature set for this video out of mostly cardboard and paper:


Zzalgern0n wrote a very ambitious treatment for this video which included locations like Egypt, Japan and Hell. Obviously it was out of our budget to film on location, so we had to do what we could with the magic of special effects. On the first day of filming we built a sweet makeshift green screen in Lewis’ old bedroom at our parents’ house, where we filmed some violin students (thanks Keith and Sierra!) After that we went over to a couple of our aunts’ houses and filmed our cousins there. Lewis and I have 25 cousins of all different ages on our mom’s side (I am the oldest), and we have been making movies with them since we were little kids. It was awesome to carry on that tradition in this video!

For the band footage we went to LA, where Zzalgern0n’s friend donated the use of a real green screen studio. It was super fancy with all kinds of different lighting tools. I couldn’t believe that we got to use that place…. so awesome! Rebecca Fierro did costumes and makeup:

After that, Zzalger0n wrapped up the rest of the filming on his own in LA. He got a ton of awesome people to be in the video. Watch for hilarious cameos from:

Paul Rust (I Love You Beth Cooper)
Matt Braunger
Josh Fadem (30 Rock)
Josh Perry (Retarded Policeman)
BJ Averell (winner of The Amazing Race)
Matt Cornell (Extreme Elvis)

Post Production

This is where the real fun began. Zzalgern0n had literally hours of footage to condense into a 3-minute video. This was truly a monstrous task, but he did it! The final step was animation. For this we turned to Mike Mayfield (The Cleveland Show). To help him out, I did a colored transcription of the Cobra Strike cello part:

see how that works?



We premiered the video last weekend in LA and the response was off the Richter Scale! It’s going up on YouTube on Monday, February 1st and when that happens we need all of your help posting it everywhere! Here are some tips for posting:

-Join the Posting Day event on Facebook –

-Post a link in your Facebook or Myspace status

-Post the link on Twitter and (if you’re into this kind of thing) call it #ViolinHero

- Email a link around your office or school or any kind of club you are in

Forums and Blogs:
If you have a blog or you post regularly on a forum, post a link there. If you really want to help us out, you could even sign up for some new forums and post there. These are the kind of sites that would be good:

-Band forums: metal bands, experimental bands, indie rock bands, classical composers anything!

-Music Blogs: again, any genre

-Sites that Post Amusing Videos: Digg, VideoSift, Fark, BestofYouTube etc

-Video Game Forums and Blogs: after all, this is a guitar hero spoof

-Comedy Forums and Blogs: We have so many awesome comedian cameos in this. Comedy fans will be interested.

-Any Other Topic You Can Think Of!

We worked on this video and we would love for as many people to see it as possible. With your help, we will make that happen. Thank you!


Published in: Editorial, Music Videoson January 30th, 2010 | 10 Comments »

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