The making of…”The Call” by Teller Bank$

When I approached Teller Bank$ about collaborating on a music video, he laid out his ground rules.

  1. No lip-syncing. He said that it’s out of character for him to lip-sync in videos, and wanted to tell his story through action, not gimmicks.
  2. Chronicle the come up. At the end of the day, “The Call” (and the other songs off his album) tell the story of Teller Bank$ coming out of a rough situation and making his way in the rap game, eventually pursuing music full-time.
  3. Neighborhood. Teller Bank$ wanted to shoot the video around his current residence. This was due in small part to his familiarity with the area, but more so because we wanted to show off Des Moines, his new city.

With these rules in place, we set out to make the slickest, grooviest video we could. The beat (produced by Blaq Knight) was this pounding retro instrumental that reminded us of old blaxploitation films from the 1970’s. So, using films like “Dolemite” and “Super Fly” as our inspiration, we set out to show off our city, and our song.

We shot the opening segment just outside downtown Des Moines. We chose this spot because A. we wanted a bridge and B. the Principal Building (the #1 architectural landmark in Des Moines) is prominent in the background.

Most of the rest of the video was shot around Bank$’s neighborhood. I bought the TV we used at a garage sale a week before shooting. It was originally $15 dollars, but I countered with $10.

After shooting for a good three hours, it started to rain pretty hard. At first we thought this was a deterrent, but then realized that it was a perfect juxtaposition to shoot the beginning segments in the daylight, and the “flashback” bits in a darker, wetter environment.

In flashbacks, colors were flattened and darks were intensified to give a feeling of dread to the scenes. Overall, Bank$ and I were both very proud of the video, specifically the tone and style, as nothing like this had ever come out of Des Moines before.

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