Future Elevators – Machine Maker

“The world I discovered with the machine maker will always hold a special place in my heart. My apartment became an arts and crafts extravaganza. My mind was like a tunnel exploding deeper and deeper into this off-planet dimension contained upon a tabletop. I became a child again, building a world from scratch, playing with dolls and making paper spaceships. The stars scratched from paper towel dandruff, the cosmos poured from half n half and the place where humanity is tragically salvaged framed with old motherboards and VHS decks. In those 9 months of its inception my “real world” slowly melted away. Eating was a nuisance. The singular thought: “I MUST MAKE THE MACHINE.” All of that just for these 2 minutes of distilled experience.
– Chris Hilleke


When Travis Morgan approached me about directing a music video for Future Elevators I was immediately excited. I had long admired what he and the record label Communicating Vessels were doing in Birmingham with independently produced music and hoped for an opportunity to work with them creatively in that endeavor. Once he turned me onto their song “Machine Maker”. Wow! I had an instant connection to that song, it just resonated with me and my world view. Not to mention the musicianship and feel of it was really catchy and inspiring. That entire album is that way really. So I was hooked and began the creative process.

The trick would be getting it done in a reasonable timeframe whilst making a living as a cinematographer who travels by land, sea and air at least 6 months out of the year at random and odd intervals. And, the other trick – we wanted it to be good, not just a video that goes with the song for the sake of having a video but something that would get attention and had heart. I knew this was going to take some time and it did. From the time I got the assignment until the project was delivered 9 months transpired.
Created and Directed by Chris Hilleke

Supervising Producer
Travis Morgan

Scenic Artists
Ben Rand
Justin Jasper Lee
Neeta Kahlon
Production Assistants
Arik Sokol
Emmanuel McIvor
Michael Shackelford

Key Production Assistant
Todd Hornsby

Art Construction Consultant
Myron Pierre

Key Grip
Ben Rand

Lee Harrelson
Michael “Bear” Praytor

Special Thanks
Gayle Kahn & Judd Williams
Golden Temple
Ted Speaker

Shot entirely at NOHO Studio in Homewood, AL

future-elevators-self-titled-cover-1000PURCHASE FUTURE ELEVATORS

“Machine Maker” is taken from Future Elevators self-titled debut record out on Communicating Vessels
Several of those months were accounted for with my creative process which just takes time almost by design. I believe in letting an idea marinate. I find a lot of people start shooting with half baked ideas and most of the time it shows. I’ve made that mistake myself and did not want to repeat it with this opportunity. So I prepped Travis to be patient – and he was.

But before coming up with an idea to marinate upon I wanted to see where Travis was coming from creatively so we started with a few meetings where we discussed our tastes around the music video format. This entailed watching and discussing lots of our favorite music videos and breaking them down into components that we admired. We applied those ideas into what we thought might be appropriate for this song. Travis also prompted the ideas by giving me full creative control over the concept so that if I had some sort of approach in mind that would make it fun, fresh and engaging for me that I would move that direction.

This got me started rather quickly because I had already been looking into doing cloud tank photography mixed with in camera fx to layer that with miniature sets just for fun. That approach, combined with the sorts of music videos we were referencing seemed a perfect match for this song.