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Big Bang Music Video Producers Jesse Roberts And Justin Noto Of Agon Creative On The Making Of 'Bad Boy' And 'Blue' [EXCLUSIVE]

By Jesse Lent | February 06, 2014 10:59 PM EST


In the early days of 2012, Jesse Roberts got a call from the Los Angeles-based production company Ozcam, asking if he would be interested in filming music videos for K-pop superstars Big Bang's singles "Blue" and "Bad Boy" over the course of what would end up being a four-day shoot.

"I had worked on a shoot for a Korean miniseries called 'The Lobbyist,'" Robert said.

"It was like '24' over in Korea. My assistant from that show was a producer for Ozcam. Big Bang's management had contacted them. They needed someone to handle the production."

Four years earlier, Roberts had teamed up with his college friend Justin Noto to found Agon Creative, a video production company based in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, specializing in short-form content.

Although the Big Bang shoot would be more high-profile than anything the company had done up to that point, Roberts knew they were up to the task.

He set about assembling the most skilled team of people he could find.

"Our production manager had just shot the Madonna video for "Give Me All Your Luvin'" [featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj] the week before," Roberts recalled.

"Our assistant director is Jay-Z and Beyonce's first AD for all of their music videos shot in New York. We pulled in a top crew for this one."

While Roberts, Noto and the Agon Creative team scouted over 50 locations to find the seven that ended up being used in the videos, they began receiving storyboards and lyrical translations of "Bad Boy" and "Blue," along with notes from Big Bang on what they were looking for in the look, feel and casting of the video.

Yet according to Noto, the kind of gritty New York City exteriors that the band was looking for don't really exist anymore.

"They were interested in a look that seemed like the drudges of New York, the old 1970s feel," he said. "But the city has been cleaned up a lot since it was like that. So it was a challenge to find places with that iconic, rundown Brooklyn type of feel."

Barely a month after Roberts had received the initial phone call about filming the Big Bang music videos, the plane carrying G-Dragon, T.O.P, Seungri, Daesung and Taeyang touched down in New York City.

Since the core production staff was staying in the same hotel as the band, Roberts walked to the lobby to greet Big Bang as they arrived.

"They seemed excited in to be in New York," he recalled. "And they were grateful about all the planning that had been done so far."

The fact Big Bang and production crew had the same accommodations led to an awkwardly funny interaction between Roberts and rapper T.O.P in the hotel elevator, during Big Bang's six-day stay in Brooklyn.

"I was coming down from my room and it was just T.O.P and me in the elevator, but I don't speak Korean and he doesn't speak English," Roberts recalled.

"So I said 'hello' in Korean and he said 'oh you speak Korean?' I said 'no, that's all I know.'"

Once the shoot began, Roberts and Noto recall Big Bang being nothing but professional.

"They were so prepared," Roberts said.

"There was no discussion about what they wanted to do. All the dance moves were worked out and so tightly choreographed... they must have been rehearsing a long time. The band came in and crushed it."

All professionalism aside, the Big Bang boys still managed to have some fun, particularly during the portion of the shoot for "Blue" that took place next to the iconic Coney Island roller coaster The Cyclone.

"The last day, we shot in Coney Island. We were doing this long dolly shot where the band members would run really fast with The Cyclone in the background, so we had to give each guy their own shot," Noto said.

"They were just making fun of each other, how they ran. I think it was just an effort to keep spirits high. They took the shoot very seriously, but they didn't take themselves that seriously."

A down-to-earth quality that was also displayed in Big Bang's food choices according to Roberts.

"We were on set one day and it was getting towards lunchtime and we were in DUMBO, which is a pretty fancy neighborhood in Brooklyn," he said.

"I gave them a bunch of menus to a bunch restaurants in the area and they chose [the fast food burger joint] Five Guys. I just thought it was interesting that they could have spent a lot of money and they chose Five Guys instead."

Big Bang's fans, who ended up saving the day with their respectful behavior, also impressed the two producers.

"[K-pop girl group] Girls' Generation were in New York two weeks before for the "Late Show With David Letterman" show and the police department had gotten inundated by fans," Roberts said.

"That became a problem for us because they were worried about that happening at our shoot. They were very worried the popularity of the band was going to cause security concerns. They were worried about them getting mobbed and they were worried we wouldn't have adequate security."

The New York City's Office of Film Theater and Broadcasting wanted Agon to hire what is known in local event production as an "18 and two," 18 uniformed police officers and two lieutenants, an expense the Big Bang music video shoot did not have the budget for.

"We hired a security company," Roberts said. "They said if anything happened they were shutting us down. So the band put a press release or a tweet saying to their fans 'be leery of coming to set.'"

Despite all of the locations for the "Blue" and "Bad Boy" shoots being filmed outside, several in very public places, the band's plea seemed to work.

"Every once and a while we'd see some fans walking by who recognized them on the set," Roberts said.

"But they didn't scream they didn't freak out. They just sat quietly and watched the band. They were very respectful and watched quietly and didn't tweet our location. They did a great job keeping quiet and keeping it low key."

Despite some unpleasant winter conditions, that director Han Samin reportedly loved the look of, Robert recalled Big Bang remaining relaxed on the set.

"It was a little bit of a miserable experience because the weather was terrible and we were outside most of the time," he said.

"They were really great and didn't complain and really kept their spirits up despite tough conditions. It was a tough shoot. I don't think anybody on the crew had done a shoot with that many things going on at once in such bad weather."

When filming finally came to a close, Big Bang walked around to each of the more than 60 crewmembers, shook their hand and thanked them for their hard work.

Later that night, the grueling outdoor shoot behind them, Roberts and T.O.P had a drink with an executive from Big Bang's record label YG Entertainment in the hotel bar.

"It was a couple of hours before they flew out," Roberts said. "He just thanked us for everything and then he went back to his room."

Released later that month, the music video for Bad Boy" has received over 40 million YouTube views. "Blue" has received over 43 million.

Watch a behind-the-scenes clip from Big Bang's "Blue" video, released exclusively for this interview by Agon Creative

Check out an original video clip released earlier this week by Agon Creative, Mann Symphony's Super Bowl commercial parody Klepto-BismolTM

Tagged :  Big Bang, Bad Boy, Blue


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