’s interview with the director of Summer Paradise – Randall “RT!” Thorne!

During this weekend I had the opportunity to ask the director of the music video for “Summer Paradise” – Randall “RT!” Thorne – a couple of questions via email and he was very nice to answer all of them, for which I would like to thank him very much. Check out this another exclusive interview, this time with “RT!”, where we mostly talk about the brand new “Summer Paradise” music video:


This was the second time you’ve worked with Simple Plan, first time being the music video for “Save You” back in 2008. The concepts of these two videos are very different – one is a bit more serious and the other is way more laid back – which one did you enjoy making more?

They were both great experiences. The boys are an amazing group of guys who really care about their videos which is refreshing. “Save You” was important video to me because Pierre had written the song for his brother who was dealing with cancer and my aunt had just passed from cancer. It was rewarding to create a video that featured a cast of cancer survivors and family members to show we all need to stand up and fight against that disease.

“Summer Paradise” was also really rewarding because I have family from Barbados and had always wanted to shoot there, so it was great to be able to shoot in my ancestral home.

How did you get to work with Simple Plan again? Did they approach you? Why do you think they wanted you to be the one to do this video?

Chuck and I had developed friendship over the years since SAVE YOU and we had such a good experience with that video we always wanted to work again. A lot of people don’t know that Chuck is very passionate about film and directing so we connect well on that side. Then a couple years ago Seb released his solo project and Chuck wanted to direct a video for him and called me to help him out with it. Since then we stayed in touch and when the boys were recording the new record, Chuck mentioned the song and we started talking about what a video might be and I mentioned going to Barbados to shoot it.

Simple Plan have recorded two versions of Summer Paradise. Which one do you like the best – with K’Naan or Sean Paul?

They both have their own flava, both those guys are my guys, but since we shot the Sean Paul version I’ll have to go with that version. Sean brought a true island yard vibe to the set that was really dope.

Who came up with the concept of the music video for Summer Paradise? How much were the guys from Simple Plan involved in the making of the video?

The concept was a meeting of a few heads really. Back when Chuck and I first talked about it I mentioned doing a “lifestyle” video which is basically a video that shows “moments of real life” of the band, in other words no storyline. But over time the concept got very refined because Chuck and Pierre and the boys are very involved with the types of elements they wanted to shoot.

Mark Staubach was in charge of the first version of the music video, which was shot in Australia. I can see that the Barbados version has a few moments that are very similar to what has been done in Australia (the boys goofing around etc.). Did you work with the previous version as an inspiration while making the new one?

I think that everyone was definitely on the same page about this being a video that shows “moments” or “experiences” even from when Chuck and I first talked about it early last year. Then when Mark was on tour with the boys last year he shot a version of that vibe for Australia. Then it came to shooting this in Barbados & we decided to collaborate since we were all in the same headspace about the types of things we wanted to shoot. We definitely wanted a fun vibe that he caught on tour with the guys, but we also wanted this to feel more like the camera was just observing them this time, and not like it was friend recording them that they could goof off for.

There was a bit of confusion about who the main director of the music video was, since both you and Mark Staubach were apparently involved. Were you equal partners in this or was each of you involved with something a bit different in this music video?

It’s not too often that a video has two directors but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Mark and I got along so well that we just talked about each decision. From the jump we were on the same page for the whole shoot in terms of what to capture and how to shoot it. He was a little sick during the shoot so I did more yelling at people lol.

Some fans have been complaining a bit about the fact that the video “lacks any plot”. Would you agree with that? What do you think the story that the video tells is about?

To me videos that capture the spirit of the song are always the ones i want to watch again and again. Sometimes that can be done in a story video and sometimes its about creating a vibe, there are no rules in videos. This video is about great memories of being at a “Summer Paradise” vacation with your close friends. In real life when you are out on vacation there isn’t a “story.” You wake up after a night of fun on the beach, have afternoon fun on a boat, drive around the island, swim underwater, party with some friends at a local spot etc. In fact you probably don’t remember what day you did what on (if its a good vacation!) so we aimed to have many of the “moments” of the video not start or end anywhere. They should just feel like: “Remember when we threw water on David while he was sleeping on the boat? or remember when we played soccer/football with those kids?” Those are the moments you talk about or remember. You don’t remember getting on the boat or building a bonfire, you just remember the fun you had after. We wanted to video to feel like a collection of good memories that everyone could relate to, instead of a “story” about someone else’s experience.

Most of the (female) fans are really enjoying the “nakedness” in the video. How come David is the only member that can’t be seen topless?

Ha! The internet would have exploded if I had put all 5 members in the video naked. Can’t be overloading the net. Yeah I don’t know… you should start a “Get David topless” petition going for the next video.

I find the yellowish/greenish coloring of the video very interesting as this is probably the first time Simple Plan have a music video edited like that. Who’s idea was it?

Mark and I taked about that from the very beginning. Everybody has seen the tropical, saturated, bright colors videos but we wanted to do something that felt a little different. We talked about how when you have good memories they kind of feel warm and cozy in your mind, you know the sun always feels like its shining etc. So I worked hard on the coloring to make it feel warm, sunny, and hazy with a hint of nostalgia.

Is Chuck really that bad at golfing?

HA! No…Chuck the friend Tiger Woods on the golf course (I call him Le Tigre), which is why that shot is even funnier. He probably wasn’t thrilled that I cut that shot in but he knew we needed a funny moment while they were golfing, and since it actually happened like that, he was a great sport about it. No pun intended.

Which of the guys is the easiest to work with when it comes to shooting a music video?

Chuck & Pierre are very focused when it comes to shooting videos, and help to keep everyone else in check, but truth be told all the guys are great to shoot with cause they’re all veterans in the video game.

Do you have any funny stories from the shooting of Summer Paradise?

Yeah… but what happens in Barbados stays in… that trunk we buried in the sand on Crane Beach.

In what way is this music video different from other videos you’ve been involved with?

Shooting in my father’s hometown was a soul enriching experience.

Is there going to be a video from behind the scenes of the Summer Paradise music video?

Hmmm… I definitely think the band has enough footage of us shooting… here’s a few on set shots courtesy of Chady:

Have you listened to Simple Plan’s “Get Your Heart On!” before they appointed you their next music video director? What do you think about the album? Which song is your favourite?

I heard most of the album last year when they were just finishing recording and was pretty excited about it. My faves are Summer Paradise, You suck at love and especially This Song Saved My Life.