Behind the scenes of creating White Reapers new ‘Judy French’ music video starring Alexandra Daddario


My Background:

Back in high school and college I played in bands. My friends and I would make music videos for said bands along with other random sketches. In college I studied film at Columbia College Chicago with the same friends I was making videos with in high school. We bought a Panasonic DVX100a and started making videos all the time.

Cut to 2008, I moved to Los Angeles to complete my last semester in college. I got a job at a restaurant and had a ton of internships, one which turned into a job assisting writer/producer, Nick Osborne and manager/producers, Trevor Engelson and Oly Obst. I learned the business and so much more. I owe a lot to those guys. Then I met Jon Lajoie. We fell in creative love and started making videos together. They got millions of views. Eventually I made a short film that really showcased my skills and the industry got wind of it. I got an agent, lawyer and sold a script. I finally had started making music videos and developing TV shows for real. I then did a two-year stint at Comedy Central as their in house writer and director for digital. With that gig, plus all the music videos, branded content and pilots… I put in the 10,000 hours. Eventually, I started selling TV shows.

Making Music Videos:

Each video is so unique as far as how they came about. Nekrogoblikon “NO ONE SURVIVES” was a big one for me. I teamed up with them by chance. My good friend Randy Ray told me his buddy was playing a show deep in the valley and asked if I wanted to go. I tagged along and my mind was blown. I had to create something for these guys. The video blew up, and it’s the reason why I started working with Diplo and now have a TV show with him.

Sometimes I approach the band because I am a fan or already have an idea in place…ie: White Reaper. Other times artists come to me, ie: Panic! At The Disco, and ask me to write. I listen to the song over and over and over and over until the idea comes to me. I fully immerse myself in the music. I listen to it non stop. Seriously, NON stop. Then I wait for the idea to come to me.

The New White Reaper — “Judy French” Video:

I was buried in post on my TV show and itching to do a music videos. Offers were coming my way, but nothing that I was super jazzed about. Then my editor Josh Jolcover, who I’ve known since high school, played me a song from this band he was digging. It was “Judy French” by White Reaper. Later that evening, I was having dinner with Joe Trohman of Fall Out Boy (my band in high school opened for FOB a few times. We sucked. They didn’t). He asked me if I heard about this band White Reaper. That weekend, I was on instagram and saw my buddy Sal was the band’s TM. All along, I’m becoming obsessed with White Reaper’s album and specifically “Judy French”. So I reach out to Sal, he puts me in touch with the bands manager Whitney and the rest is history.

Video Quick Facts:
Concept and writing were done by me
Filming the video took one day
Video location: I knew I wanted a clean white cyc, but also a dirty junk yard.

Getting Alexandra Daddario on Board:

I’ve been a fan of hers for years. I wrote an email to her then sent it to my agent and asked him to get it to her. He did. Alex and I met. We vibed. She’s THE best. I wanted this to be just as much her project as it was mine… and she made it hers.


What Was Different?:

Usually my music videos are short films dressed as music videos. Little narratives that hardly ever feature the band. I wanted to do a performance video but still have some sort of narrative movement.

What’s on Tap:

I co-created and directed VICELAND’s first scripted series WHAT WOULD DIPLO DO? that premieres August 3rd. We just dropped a two minute exclusive clip here:

Where You Can Find Me:

You can see all my work at brandondermer.com and follow me @brandondmob on twitter and @brandondermer on instagram. Social media is my digital business card and I’m constantly updating them with that I’ve got going on.

~Brandon Dermer



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In collaboration with/produced by Jeff Gorra

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~ follow Jeff Gorra | twitter @JeffGorra |[email protected]

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