Chicago filmmaker Todd Tue helps Whitney Rose shake it

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Dancers Ruby Joule, Frostine Shake, Rose, and Jolie Goodnight on the set of "Can't Stop Shakin'"

Dancers Ruby Joule, Frostine Shake, Rose, and Jolie Goodnight on the set of “Can’t Stop Shakin'”

Chicago-based Milk Products Media recently helped turn the groove of Whitney Rose’s “Can’t Stop Shakin’” into a video that’s sweeping the nation.

Working with “a slim production crew,” MPM director Todd Tue and Kentucky-based director Blake Judd filmed the rising country star and a bodacious trio of professional dancers moving to the song at St. Elmo Soundstage in Austin last summer.

Set in front of an immaculate white background with a handful of retro props, the dancers perform an old-school shimmy while Rose sings in a performance that Rolling Stone praised for “lean(ing) into the undeniable shake appeal of the track” on the day before the video’s February 1 YouTube debut.

“Whitney had an idea about what she wanted to do,” recalls Tue. “We were like, let’s not do it kitschy, but fitting with the song, kind of retro.”

 

 

“Can’t Stop Shakin'” — the first single released from Rose’s 2017 album, Rule 62 — is one of several collaborations that Tue and Judd have completed with Rose.

“Blake got connected to Whitney when she was recording an EP that was like her tribute to Austin last year,” Tue continues. “He brought us in to do an EPK, like a mini doc, about who she is and what the record was. She recorded at Dale Watson’s studio, and we kind of hung out and got along real well.”

Todd Tue
Todd Tue

In 2015, Rose moved to Austin from Prince Edward Island, the Canadian maritime province where she had lived most of her life. Raised by her mother and her mother’s parents, who owned a bar, she grew up listening to the likes of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

Although she had never visited Texas before deciding to live there, Rose’s strong yet delicate vocal pipes and natural charm fit right into the scene.

“She got a residency right away,” says Tue. “Plus, she’s super sweet. She’s Canadian.”

She also has “an amazing collection of vintage clothes,” he continues, including the outfit she wears in the video.

“Can’t Stop Shakin’” was one of two songs that Rose and the directors shot on that day in St. Elmo’s last year. The other, “Better to My Baby,” sounds like a classic soul record laced with a country twang.

 

 

Tue’s knack for working in the music genre began over a decade ago, when he and Judd completed the documentary, Seven Signs, in 2008.

Seven Signs was directed by Kentucky singer / songwriter J. D. Wilkes, a Southern Gothic singer who has been compared to Iggy Pop. An exploration of “music, myth, and the American South,” the film won numerous awards and honors, including a presentation in the official 2008 Cannes catalogue.

Tue’s other recent and current projects include Charlie Louvin: Still Rattlin’ the Devil’s Cage, a biopic about about Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin; and When It Breaks, a doc about teacher Konrad Wert, who leaves the education world to try music full time.

Directing music-related material requires a delicate balance of discipline and spontaneity that Tue says is “kind of obvious,” but can still get lost in the moment.

“You might come up with an awesome shot, but if it doesn’t fit the tone of the piece, it’s a wasted shot,” he explains. “I’ve seen directors with great intentions kind of go down that rabbit hole.”

At the same time, he adds, “you also kind of brainstorm creatively on the fly.”

Rose and the directors capitalized on this exact type of real time conceptualization while shooting the video for “Can’t Stop Shakin’.”

“We had access to props on the soundstage and we were, like, ‘oh yeah, we should absolutely use that giant gold throne,’” he recalls. “It all comes together in ways you did not expect.”

CREDITS
“CAN’T STOP SHAKIN'” video
   Co-Directors: Todd Tue & Blake Judd
   DP: Todd Tue
   Camera: Ramie Hutchison
   Co-Producers: Blake Judd & Milk Products Media
   Editor: Dustin Hyer

“BETTER TO MY BABY” video
   Co-Directors: Todd Tue & Blake Judd
   DP: Todd Tue
   Camera: Ramie Hutchison
   Co-Produced: Blake Judd & Milk Products Media
   Editor: Ramie Hutchison

 
Contact Reel Chicago editor Daniel Patton at dan@reelchicago.com.

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