Most children grow up watching the Wizard of Oz, but most children didn’t watch it the way Travis Hoggard did.
“The first time I watched the Wizard of Oz on silent with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, or “Dark Side of Oz” if you will, I was a kid sitting on my mom’s bed,” Hoggard says. “I had seen Wizard of Oz before, and heard of Pink Floyd, but never knew they could go together like this. My mom had me sit down and watch it with her. She explained the whole music/movie syncing up concept to me and I think that was one of the first times I started looking at films critically. I was looking for those special syncing moments throughout the film, analyzing how the video and audio played into each other, something I had never done before. Thanks, Mom.”
Hoggard took that idea of video and audio synching up in unexpected ways and ran with it in his music video for Fort Never’s song “Fly High”. The video features the band members dressed like extras in a surreal foreign flick while eerie projections play on top of them. The song and the video combine to create an endlessly intriguing and unsettling experience.
Hoggard is primarily an editor, working over his editing bay late into the night armed with pack of smokes, red bulls, and some gummy bears. Through his editing, Hoggard developed his craft by honing in his visual style, emotional tone, and most importantly, how the content all flows together. It was through his editing work that he first met Fort Never.
He had used one of their songs in a spec commercial while he was living in New York and sent it to the band. The band loved it, and discussion began for them to collaborate on a video once Hoggard made the move down to Austin. Once he did, they showed him a few songs they were interested in making music videos for. “Fly High” immediately jumped out at Hoggard.
“Right off the bat, ‘Fly High’ really gave me this eerie, ghostly, almost sinister feeling,” Hoggard says. “The track put me into this sort of supernatural dream, always on the verge of a nightmare.”
The instrumental and the lyrics combined inspired a story for Hoggard—the story of a young woman, lost and surrounded by dark energy, who has to rely on a strange, morally ambivalent force to pull her back from the brink.
Hoggard explains, “Does she take the plunge, or more accurately, does she let these entities dictate her direction, lifting her up – letting her fly high? And at what cost? If you look to others to find your way, at what point is your path no longer your own?”
Once the story was set in stone, they were off to the races. Pre-production went smoothly, but on the day the cameras were set to roll, an unexpected setback reared its head.
The main projector that was going to be used, the only one in the Austin area with the required light output needed, required two hours of jerry rigging to get it in working order. On a single day shoot, two hours is a lot of wasted time. As a result, more complicated setups had to be scrapped. Hoggard didn’t let that get him down. Instead, they got several shots off the cuff, simply going off of what looked cool in camera. Hoggard says that some of his favorite shots were improvised on the spot.
The abstract, Jodorowsky-inspired style in the video is a hallmark of Hoggard’s inspiration. From seeing Dark Side of Oz at an early age, Hoggard knew he wanted to take people on strange journeys through his work. He continues to pursue these kinds of stories through Side Label, his production company.
“I want to take you somewhere you can’t get in the real world,” Hoggard says. “Hell, I want to be taken there too. I don’t know man… these are just words right now. Let’s see how well my work fits into those words.”
Travis Hoggard (right) with the members of Fort Never.