United Breaks Guitars Three: The Finale
It’s been just under 8 months since the release of United Breaks Guitars and with the release of UBG 3 I’ve kept my promise to write, record and make 3 videos about my customer experience with United Airlines. My goal in committing to this project was to place the videos on YouTube and attain 1 million hits in one year with the 3 videos combined. This stopped being about compensation when the airline flatly refused to consider the matter and once the first video was released the rest I committed to telling the rest of the story which is why I refused United’s attempt at compensation when it came 7 months after my “threat” to do the videos. I always knew the three songs would be written and recorded, and one way or another three videos would be uploaded, but I could never have imagined what would happen next.
On the production side I’ve been blessed with great musician and film industry friends who, on all three songs, volunteered their time and talent to make each one a memorable and engaging piece of art. A special shout out goes to Scott Ferguson of Ferguson Music Productions who co-produced the music with me and Curve Productions (Lara Cassidy, Steve Richard, and Chris Pauley) who shot, edited and produced some very high quality videos. When I say all three videos were produced for under $2500.00 it’s misleading since commercial rates to achieve the same quality would have cost over $100,000 so the real story with UBG is how people have banded together to make a statement about something to which we can all relate.
United Breaks Guitars Song 3 brings closure to my personal experience with United. Every good story has a beginning, middle and an end and UBG 3 does its part to round things out nicely. Song 1 gave a narrative of the facts and UBG 2 examined my relationship with a certain Customer Service Rep and how the United policies were keeping us from being “Best Buddies”. Song 3 wraps things up by acknowledging that this experience has been a career booster for me, that I wish United well in the changes they say are coming but that I continue to receive emails and hear stories that would suggest there’s more work to be done.
Musically, I wanted UBG 3 to be a high energy fun song that made the statement that I wasn’t alone in the success of the series and that the UBG was really “everyone’s victory” for the small guy against huge impersonal corporations. I’ve been called “the Everyman” many times since July and so I chose a Bluegrass feel for the song and wrote a chorus that only works if others sing along with me. Bluegrass is the perfect “roots” music that accomplishes my intention.
To pull-off a convincing Bluegrass track I needed world class Bluegrass players and they certainly showed themselves on this song. Jamie Gatti and Scott Ferguson round out the solid rhythm section and there are some magical performances on fiddle and mandolin by Canadian Bluegrass legend Ray Legere (on stage in the video playing himself). I also wanted to hear dobro on this track and the world’s best and only name that comes to mind on that instrument is Jerry Douglas from Nashville (in addition to an outstanding solo career Jerry plays in Alison Krauss’ band (Union Station). I took a chance and emailed Jerry’s manager about the idea and was thrilled when he replied saying Jerry would be happy to take part and, not only that, but Jerry would be in the video if we could figure a way to shoot his part in Nashville. I love all the UBG songs but I have to say UBG 3 is my favourite in terms of the musical performances. To have some of the worlds highest profile musicians contribute to a song of mine was another career highlight. This one is rockin’!
We shot the final installment in one day this early January at the Waverley Legion. The idea was to reintroduce the ensemble cast from the other two videos in a rollicking live setting with plenty of funny bits thrown in. This being the trilogy’s finale we wanted to leave the viewer with a few chuckles, feeling like they were seeing something new while at the same time saying goodbye to old friends. I think this video does that.
We went with Hillbillies this time, as opposed lederhosened Germans or Amigos. Chris Iannetti was back along with Jimmie Inch and Tim Feswick made his film debut when Mike Hiltz was unable to make the shoot date. Julian Marentette did double duty as a live performance hillbilly and disgruntled customer.
The baggage handlers are back again. Charlie Palmer and Phil Salterio, whom I volunteer with at the Waverley Fire Department, did another “bang-up” job as did Christine Buiteman when she gives us a tap-dance-flurry as the final word from United’s customer service department.
We had another wonderful day making this video and when you step back and look at what was accomplished in the last 8 months with the first two videos it’s been truly incredible. I had hoped that creating these videos might make a big corporation rethink how they think of each and every customer but could never have imagined the potential hidden inside a music video and a few social media tools. Corporations of all kinds around the world now feel compelled, in part because of United Breaks Guitars, to build in a better model for customer care into their businesses. I’m proud to have been a part of it but the real credit goes to the millions of people around the world who took the time to laugh and tell a friend. The power behind the United Breaks Guitars Trilogy lies in the numbers of people from countries far and wide who are laughing with me. Enjoy this video and if you like it, tell everyone you know.
Banjo rolls “Ozarks” establishing shot – Jason Comeau
Vocals – Dave Carroll
Background vocals – Jimmie Inch & Tim Feswick
Acoustic guitar – Jamie Robinson
Drums – Scott Ferguson
Bass – Jamie Gatti
Mandolin/Fiddle – Ray Legere
Dobro – Jerry Douglas
Dave Carroll – Dave Carroll
Ray Legere (Fiddler): Himself
Mountain Men – Chris Iannetti, Jimmy Inch, Tim Feswick
Mountain Man (live performance drummer)and Disgruntled Customer– Julian Marentette
Baggage handlers – Charlie Palmer & Phil Salterio
Customer service lady/tap dancer– Christine Buiteman
Flight Attendants – Paula Robbins , Karen Murdoch
Customer Service Guy – Todd Murchie
Dobro Player – Jerry Douglas
Extra’s: Too many to list but thanks for putting in the long day
Director Lara Cassidy
Director of Photography – Steve Richard
1st Assistant Camera – Mike Snyder (Westsidefilms)
2nd Assistant Camera – Erin Veeneman
DIT – trainee – Luke Adamski
2nd Unit Director of Photography (Nashville) – Jim Spitler
Camera – Interview footage – Joshua Young
Camera – Behind the scenes video & Stills – Brent McCombs
Lighting director / Gaffer / Key grip – Todd Murchie
Assistant Grip – trainee – Brandon Ferguson
1st AD – Jesse Muson
AD trainees- Patrick King, Colin Tanner, Patrick Langille
Make-up – Annemarie Cassidy
Hair – Brian Hart
Art Director – Barb Richard
Set decorator – Shannon O’Halloran
Wardrobe – Barb Richard
Background Casting –Chris Pauley / Erin Hennessey
Background Casting Assistant – Karen Rostek
PlaybackOperator – Clark Porter
Craft Services – Sharon Carroll, Max Carroll, Andrea Dann
Set Trainees – Alicia Jacques, David Fulde, Chance Chapadeau, Riley Turner, Bianca Marini, Vicki Donkin
Producer – Lara Cassidy
Shoot Supervisor – Chris Pauley
Off-line Editor – Lara Cassidy
On-line Editor – Steve Richard
Foley Mix – Chris Pauley
Special Thanks To:
My wife Jill and son Flynn for your understanding and support
My brother Don feedback and input
My parents, Max and Sharon, for the same
Brent Sansom for his advice and business savvy
Thor Henrickson and The Centre for Arts and Technolog
Jeremy Harty of Digiboyz – Technical Consultant
Johanna Harrison – Web Diva