Gore Bay artist Ashley Whyte selected as finalist at Cinefest

A music video for Taxi Song, which was produced by local artist Ashley Whyte, has been selected as a finalist in CTV’s Best in Shorts competition. The song was written and performed by Wordplay (Kris Lauzon), with background music by the band Reminder. In photo left to right are (Reminder) Dan Gonzalez, Bill Morton, Cameron Kennedy and Kris Lauzon (of Wordplay).

GORE BAY—In a world where classism prevails and access to essential needs and services creates division, ‘Taxi Song’ is an anthem for those who live without simple luxuries.

The music video for ‘Taxi Song,’ which was produced by local artist Ashley Whyte, was recently selected as a finalist in CTV’s Best in Shorts competition in the Cinefest Sudbury festival.

“The song was written and performed by Wordplay (Kris Lauzon) and background music was handled by her boyfriend’s band Reminder,” stated Ms. Whyte. “Kris wrote it on her way home from work in 2016. She waited for a bus so long that she ended up hoofing it home. I guess she would have taken a taxi if she were rich, but she’s not, so she walked instead. Just like the lyrics.”

Ms. Lauzon is an emerging singer and musician from Manitoulin who moved to Toronto to complete her education and develop herself professionally. She plays at locations across Toronto and has been part of the punk rock scene in the city for several years.

The video was filmed in August 2017 in the Parkdale region of Toronto where Ms. Lauzon lived at the time. The busy city streets, closet-sized apartment and grunge alleyways provided the perfect mood and authentic setting for the video.

“When we talked about creating a music video, Kris already knew what she wanted to portray and so it was up to me to take that idea and turn it into reality,” said Ms. Whyte. “We created a list of scenes that needed to be shot and went out and started rolling. I had my phone, a cheap tripod I picked up at a yard sale and nothing else but our willingness and determination to make things happen. It’s an example of the lowest budget film making you can possibly imagine.”

Ms. Whyte noted, “it wasn’t anything but circumstance that dictated what we were doing and how we were going about it, but in retrospect it really adds to the story, which is that people’s abilities are not necessarily restricted by what they have so much as what they think they need.” Ms. Whyte continued, “the video conveys the constant struggle for survival while existing below the poverty line and maintaining one’s drive to achieve their hopes and dreams, which for me really became the basis for this guerilla style music video. While the lyrics highlight strife and suffering in a world consumed by debt, the creation of the song and production of the video is  a positive act of rebellion against failure and deficiency.”
Recording took approximately five hours to complete, with scenes being shot in the midst of life and mayhem in the streets of Toronto during a single afternoon. The footage was then transferred to a personal computer where it was edited by Ms. Whyte with the assistance of her husband Dylon Whyte, who was a finalist in CTV’s Best in Shorts competition just two years ago.

“When I say we were working on no budget, I truly mean it. The processing power of our computers wouldn’t allow a smooth playback of the video from a midway point, so each time we  made an adjustment we had to watch from the very beginning to know if the audio and visuals were aligned,” Ms. Whyte explained. “It was incredulously tedious, but offered a real feeling of accomplishment when we got things where we wanted. We kept in communication with Kris and provided rough drafts to ensure we were heading in the right direction. Overall it worked pretty well and we were able to have a final edit within a reasonable amount of time.”
Taxi Song was officially released in January and was the first track on Wordplay‘s debut EP album ‘Neato.’ The video will be screened at 12 pm on Saturday, September 22 in Sudbury at the Silver City theatre alongside other competing films with the winners announced afterwards. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office before the show. For those who cannot make the date, the music video can also be watched on Youtube.