Music Video Artist
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Many doors had opened for Austin over the past nine years, ever since he first got his hands on an iPhone and had set out to make his first music video. He had grown up in the decade when the medium was at its best, the short movies made to serve the songs they were representing shaping who he would later become. Of course at the time he had no idea, no comprehension as to why he felt a certain way when sitting in front of the TV watching them. But with that first video indeed came a guide.
It was an afternoon Austin would never forget. He had been playing at a friend’s house when a beat from across the room suddenly caught his attention. It was coming from the television, and when he looked up to find its source what was on that screen would end up enchanting him for the rest of his life. The images were of the coolest guy you could ever imagine, dancing along a sidewalk while singing with a voice that immediately grabbed Austin’s spirit. Without realizing it the nine-year-old had walked over to the TV and was just staring, the calls from his friend to come back over and continue with their play having no effect on this life-changing moment. Only some twenty-five years later would the moment come full circle. By this time Austin had been a Michael Jackson fan three-quarters of his life, no matter when or where he ever heard the song Billie Jean he would instantly be taken back to his nine-year-old self and the discovery of that creative genius featured on MTV.
A fellow creative spirit he was, but with no sense as to where to direct such energy Austin’s dabbling into the arts had barely been paying the bills. A life of freelance thus far– writing, photography, cinematic background work as an extra. Wherever the winds of any given passion project would take him. It was within this kind of aimless flight when Austin had come upon the news. Walking down the street on his way to cash his latest mediocre check when he had passed a department store, on the other side of the glass window a dozen television screens, all displaying a freeze-frame from the Billie Jean video, in turn providing that instant teleportation back to his childhood. But why? Why was this news anchor reporting on his most treasured of nostalgia?
Before his eyes had even shifted down to the breaking news banner at the bottom of the screen something grabbed ahold of Austen’s heart, and when he read the headline it not only squeezed it with an intensity he had never felt before but actually shattered it, tears instantly rising in his eyes before breaking their levy and pouring down over his cheeks, each one like a message of deep sorrow from his soul. No… No… No…
LA Times: Michael Jackson Dies in Los Angeles Hospital
Frozen in shock.
Nothing could shake Austin out of it, for days, and to some extent ever. But what did pull him back to his senses was a stranger’s consoling hand atop his shoulder. There were a small group of them now gathered in front of that plate glass window, drawn together not as strangers but as grieving souls who had just lost their angel.
With blurred vision and nerves that had him shaking to his core Austin knew what he had to do next. Living paycheck to paycheck was no longer a concern, nor would be the consequences to what he now felt he had to do. A month or so of instant noodles, dodging bill collectors, maybe even having to visit a soup kitchen a couple of times a week. He would do what he felt he must. And so after cashing his check Austin took that hard earned money of his and walked into an Apple Store, purchasing for the first time one of those cellphones that held within it technology to make high-quality videos. He then chose an MJ song that had not been turned into a music video and set it to the storyline of millions, including himself. A universal concept of how the King of Pop had changed the lives of countless.
The next morning the world woke up to a music video tribute that captured the essence of what it was feeling, everyone wanting to know who had made it and filling social media with praise and thanks to whomever the Music Video Artist was. Austen had chosen this title rather than using his own name in part due to the magic he had encountered in the first stage of making this music video. The simple act of listening to the song, of opening himself up to hear how it wanted to come to life, speaking through images which blossomed in his mind as the music filled his ears and soul. He had listened to Michael countless times, not to mention so many others, but it was through this one focused path where Austin discovered his true artistic talent. To bring music and video together as one.
With their powerful resources the media had found the true name to the Music Video Artist before their noon telecast, making Austin somewhat of an instant celebrity less than twenty-four hours before his heart had broken. With an intention only to send out a message to his childhood hero he had had no idea of the silver lining that would come out of his loss. Yet now here it was, record labels both indie and major offering him the opportunity to make music videos on a much grander scale. And although none could be as grand as Michael Jackson, the ironic truth was that Austin had now found his true calling. And so for the next several years he created his art, his paintbrush and canvas being video cameras and recording artists, the magic of creation coming in the form of the music telling him how it wanted to come to life. His sacred ritual before going out to each shoot; starting the day by viewing the music video that had planted the seed so long ago, Billie Jean.
Indeed opportunity had opened many doors for Austin, but it was this present door he now stood before that he had fought the hardest to walk through. The entrance to The Great Mausoleum here at Forest Memorial Park, the final resting place of Michael Jackson. Only after years of sending requests, heartfelt messages, pleas, was he finally granted permission, his heart trembling with both excitement and sadness as he walks across the granite floors in this hollow place that is so loud with eternal silence.
Austin passes many famous names but he looks to none of them for he is only here for the one and only. And then he sees it, a large block of stone that serves as tomb, a roped stanchion standing before it, a guard in suit and tie unlatching the rope for him so as to give him access to the final goodbye.
There are two stained-glass windows watching over the tomb, the subtle colored light beaming through them casting down over Austin as he slowly approaches. With each step he takes the weaker his knees get, until finally he is close enough to lay open palms atop the stone-cold block, this powerful moment of knowing, feeling Michael within, mere inches away enough to send his knees buckling, hitting the floor beneath him as tears begin to flow along with memories. From the childhood of the hurt he had experienced only to be comforted by this man’s talent to the artistic heart it had led him to find. From the soundtrack to his soul to the devastating news of June 25, 2009. Austin had never considered himself a religious person, but spiritual he was thanks to this angel that had moonwalked upon the earth, divine in both grief and appreciation with the emotions he now felt.
As if gathering a couple of handfuls of his soul Austin wipes away his tears with both palms and fingers then gently places them back upon Michael’s tomb, knowing somehow, someway they’re reach his childhood hero. Within his silent message he thanks his maestro for the gift of self-discovery before rising to his feet and leaving in true contentment.