FALMOUTH – Hard to believe a bookstore’s staff is good at conceiving, organizing, choreographing, filming, and editing music videos.
But Eight Cousins Bookstore on Main Street in Falmouth now has a store music video, produced entirely by store employees. The result is nearly four and a half minutes of video, set to Kelly Clarkson’s “People Like Us” and including a carefully conceived plot, guitar playing, dancing, and a happy ending.
The most dynamic force behind the video’s realization was 19-year-old Graham Dunn, who is native to Falmouth but currently pursuing a degree in Post-Production at Emerson College. Graham says the idea for a music video was born as “a response to the Falmouth beach department staff video of ‘Call Me Maybe.’” The general consensus among the staff was that “it would be fun to do something similar,” both for promotional and community-building purposes.
The song, “People Like Us,” was chosen by Eight Cousins’ marketing and events manager Sara Hines, of Woods Hole. Sara thought the song’s message of misfit camaraderie and self-possession was appropriate for a bookstore, where that general atmosphere is most prevalent. She also came up with the idea for an overall plot thread involving solo readers throughout Falmouth being brought together at Eight Cousins to rock out in celebration of books.
Stephanie Seales, one of the main characters in the video, says; “I wholeheartedly support the video’s message, as I identify as a misfit and love books!” Stephanie, who is originally from Southern California and is enjoying her first summer in Falmouth, is portraying a “God-like Willy Wonka” character. Her character, dressed like Gene Wilder’s Wonka (even down to the bowtie!), anonymously leaves hand-picked books in the paths of dejected-looking misfits. This role is kind of a dramatization of an Eight Cousins employee’s real role, with the idea that the store’s staff can give great individualized recommendations to customers.
Stephanie’s character gains a sidekick in my character, the first misfit to be enlightened by Wonka’s well-placed books. My character takes on the task of dancing up and down Main Street, herding all the other newly-enlightened misfits back to the bookstore for the main event.
The main event is a celebration of books and reading, started by the characters of Graham and his brother Greg, who is 17 years old. Graham and Greg, both accomplished musicians, appear a couple of times throughout the video rocking out on their guitars in front of a display of their favorite book (“Timmy Failure,” written by Stephen Pastis).
Greg notes that, during filming, “Graham broke a guitar string while rocking out too hard.”
If you weren’t interested in watching the video already, that evidence of passion and dedication ought to change your mind. Or motivation to spot the broken string, since video viewers universally seem to have a penchant for picking at filming mistakes and bloopers.
The finale consists of all the previous personas, plus some more of the veteran employees (appearing as themselves), dancing around the store dressed as favorite book misfit characters. A highlight here is store owner Carol Chittenden as Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Web.”
Graham sums it up the best by noting that while “the final product will be a little over four minutes long, hours and hours of preparation, planning, and production were involved in the creation of the video.”
Their passion for books and for inspiring others to read was the true reason for the creation of the store video.
– Cara McManus