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Recipe of Life's music video for The Mark I Missed is a dual narrative and performance music video about PAUL, a shy wallflower, as he watches his longtime crush, LUMINA, slip through his fingertips and fall for someone new.


This narrative follows the loss of what "could have been" through articles in Paul's journal brought to life in music and lyrics by Ariel and Shelby at, what do you know, Paul and Lumina's rehearsal dinner. Love happens in it's own timing.

Nina worked as the writer and director for the music video, as well as the art director.

Our Client

Recipe of Life - Ariel McCleary and Shelby Olive

Recipe of Life is Ariel McCleary and Shelby Olive's singer-songwriter duo based in northeast Ohio. What began as a mutual love of music and friendship has transformed into a band that has lasted over 8 years, taking the two all across the east and southern coast of the United States. 


With their ukulele's in tow, the two ladies have created a series of original songs and folk covers that will leave you humming for the rest of the day.

Nina met the band via the theatre scene in northeast Ohio and, after running into Shelby during a Christmas party a couple years after their acquaintance, casually discussed a collaboration in the future. And, thankfully, months later, that was revisited and transformed into "The Mark I Missed."

To check out their music via Spotify, band camp, or youtube, click on the links below:

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The Song

The Initial Video

How to play "The Mark I Missed" on the ukulele

A narrative about two ladies singing about some man's love story? Oh yeah, this'll work *sarcasm drop* Challenge accepted!


Verse 1: 

My best friend told me about her

and how she’s starting to prefer

the guy with the rainy Tuesday eyes.

She told me all about

how he wears his socks inside out,

and likes his coffee with a spoonful of honey.


And (while) here I sit

looking angrily at this

‘cause I thought that I could be the guy on her list.

I guess she was mark I missed.

Verse 1:

And yesterday I heard she went away

to ask that guy if he would play

his guitar for her,

And she sang all his words.


And the boy with the rainy Tuesday eyes,

smiled crookedly, and tied

her up in his flannel shirts and spiky, gelled-up hair.


Chorus x2


(ooohs and stuff)


That summer they moved down South

and counted the stars on the lake near their house

and she never thought of me again.


And every day I wonder if

I would have changed myself a bit,

Would she have seen it differently,

Would she have chosen me?

The Collaboration

Ariel and Shelby were both very open during the collaboration process for The Mark I Missed, and when I suggested incorporating some of my own personal history into the piece (via the 'journal snatching' portion of the story, which my siblings did all the time while growing up, as a tool to justify why Ariel and Shelby were the voices of Paul's story) they were nothing but encouraging.


After writing the script, rewriting the script, and finally finalizing the piece they are nothing but compliments and approval. There was some real freedom while interpreting this work and it was nothing but a joy to develop.

The Story

Alright, I have two girls who sing about some man's love story... great. How does one reconvert?


A dual narrative and performance music video following PAUL, a shy wallflower, as he watches his longtime, LUMINA, fall for someone new.


PAUL and LUMINA are about to be wed and, as is customary for the rehearsal dinner, certain speeches are in order. Cut to Paul's younger sister, ARIEL, and her singer-songwriter duo mate, SHELBY, who decided to not only write a speech, but to write a speech in SONGFORM about how Paul and Lumina first met... and didn't end up with each other. All of which was found out via Paul's old journal from high school, which Ariel stole when she was a mischievous 5th grade and recently revisited. But, despite not dating when they initially had the chance, their love was only a matter of time, as their surprise encounter in Savannah, Georgia goes to show...


As Ariel and Shelby sing "The Mark I Missed" we watch the past reform in Paul's mind - the moment when BEAU, the guitar-playing, smooth-talking, older new kid, first met Lumina, an occasion when Paul fumbled over his words while trying to "be himself" around her, watching Beau and Lumina's playful, seemingly perfect relationship from a'far and, later, the start of Paul's relationship with Cindy... which goes sour. Years pass, degree's come and go, and it isn't until Lumina and Paul have lived their own separate lives, away from the closed-up halls of high school, that the two realize that they're what they needed all along.

After the girls finish singing, the crowd is all a'rush over the touching story of second chances, hugs are exchanged, and Polaroids are taken. Love happens in it's own timing. 


*Films and commercials featured: "I Believe in Unicorns", "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", "Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl", "10 Thing I Hate About You", "The Edge of Seventeen", "Extra Gum: The Story of Sarah and Juan."

Color Scheme and Textures
Location Scouting

Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Secret Garden themed School Dance

Lumina's Bedroom

Thrift Shop

Lumina's Living Room

Paul's Dorm Room, Various Stages

Urban Poppy, EXT.

Paul and Lumina's High School - Classroom, Hallway, Lunchroom, Library, Bus Stop

Cindy's Morning Room

Coffee Shop

Biking Exterior

Graduation Exterior

Pauls Car, INT. and EXT.

College Exterior

Jones Street, EXT.

The Rehearsal Process

The steps we took to bring these characters to life.

STEP ONE: Individual meetings with all of my actors.

I believe it is very important to have individual meetings with each actor, especially if we haven't worked together previously, to discuss their previous work, introduction to the craft and experience thereafter, what makes them tick, what makes them feel more comfortable on set, problems in the past, successes in the past, their particular process/approach to building a character, and finally the work itself/our approach. Followed by scheduling and next steps, of course, making a film is more then creating art it's a strictly scheduled and budgeted business.

I believe that the character is reborn at the start of production, when you're writing a character you have a certain image in mind that you want to create but, after that point when you have live bodies in the room, that character is completely reborn. After casting and meeting with my actors, I tried to place specific personal traits of the actor into the character, when supported, to create a further connection to the role beyond what I had already seen in the casting room. For example, April (who plays the role of Lumina, who is a gentle artist) loves Claude Monet, so, for the hallway scene we incorporated books on Claude Monet's lilies in her handful of textbooks on drawing and literature. 

STEP TWO: Acting exercises and Partner Work

For this piece, it was important for Lumina (April Consolo) to have an established relationship and connectivity with both Beau (Dylan Bethany) and Paul (Burke Swanson): with Beau her relationship was playful and light, with a hint of shadow underneath, and with Paul it was nothing but gentle longing and curiosity, urging Paul with her eyes to make the first move, which he never did. 

To establish this playful energy, April, Dylan and I staged a Polaroid photoshoot (which we later used for promotion) throughout the city of Savannah. We strolled in the park, went to a thrift shop, attempted to go to an art museum before it closed (but failed there because we were having so much fun at all of the other locations). For video on the occasion, click below:

With Lumina and Paul, who's relationship would be long term, we decided to take things a step forward and answer the 36 questions that lead to love as April and Burke, and then, as Lumina and Paul, for a combined actor-to-actor connection and character-to-character connection.

STEP THREE: In the Rehearsal Room

Lucky for us, we had all of our locations locked before even stepping into the rehearsal room, so before my actors arrived I was able to clean the rehearsal venue, measure and tape down the space (so we would have accurate spacing when going over blocking and rehearsing scene), turn on some music, and put a bit of lemon essential oil in the air for increased energy and concentration (I checked, no one was allergic). 

We had two rehearsals, which began with acting and group exercises in the space, followed by blocking and scene work. The first rehearsal covered scenes for the first weekend and the second rehearsal covered scenes for the second weekend, and both were followed with shooting scheduling review (we had 22 locations to shoot in 6 days, it was complicated) and upcoming costume fittings.

Unit Stills
BTS Stills
Additional Video

Mark I Missed Deleted Scene 01

Art Director

We overshot a majority of our montage sequences and had SO many beautiful shots that were excluded from the final cut. Here is a little edit of some of the other moments captured that day at The Vicars Wife in Savannah, Georgia. Lumina is played by April Consolo, Beau is played by Dylan Bethany, Dop Matt Nelson, gaffer Xin Wang.

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