Mission Impossible - The Piano Guys

Mission Impossible

It was May of 2011… a few days after Lindsey Stirling and ThePianoGuys had each filmed their first official YouTube videos (“Spontaneous Me” and “Michael Meets Mozart”). Lindsey and Steven Sharp Nelson (cello guy) shared the stage at a concert. After the show, they talked enthusiastically about a YouTube collaboration down the road…

A year and a half and a million fan requests later and it’s finally here! We love Lindsey Stirling! It feels like we’re family — we started on YouTube around the same time, we “grew up” in the same place, we all LOVE what we do and we’re all REALLY good dancers…except for ThePianoGuys. =)

We chose the theme from “Mission: Impossible” because we thought it would be a great music video to “be ourselves” in — to play off each other, throw in some special effects, a couple “stunts,” and some slapstick! The concept for the song and video began with spy gadgets — we wanted all of them to be string instrument parts! Then how would we pair up graceful, pro-dancer Lindsey and not-so-graceful Steve? =) It was simple. Steve had to carry around his own chair! Then the graceful/not-so-graceful thing contrasted beautifully! When Jon Schmidt (Piano Guy) was cast as the “villain” and donned an eye patch we knew we were on to something…

We composed this arrangement with the story of the video in mind — a tense beginning building up the intrigue, a back-and-forth theme traded between violin and cello implying the partner-agent roles, lasers, the “reveal” moment of Jon, repelling, and the hectic, scrambled ending. We wanted a little more thematic material to work with, so in addition to some original material, we merged Mission: Impossible with the first movement of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in C” (here is a recording of the original). But, of course, we sped it up, transposed it into A minor and changed the time signature to 5/4! It became Jon’s “villain theme.” And yes, Jon is really playing THAT fast. At the end in order to create a musical feeling of “pandemonium,” we wrote the piano part, reversed it and randomized the notes, tweaking them until they clicked. And for you rhythm enthusiasts, at times you’ll hear a 4/4 time signature in the percussion imposed on the 5/4 timing to add to the intrigue and mayhem!
This video was in over its head before we even started filming. We planned a base-jumping scene for the beginning that didn’t end up working out. The restaurant was a last-minute idea that we threw together as an intro. We were concerned that the laser and repelling scenes would also die from over-complicatedness, but thanks to the genius and hard work of Paul Anderson we pulled them off!

Filming Locations
THANK YOU to Stephen Wade Auto for serving as our last minute filming location when all others fell through! They were so nice to us and let us film in their place all through the night and they saved us on the repelling scene! Check out their website here: http://www.stephenwade.com/ or Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/StephenWadeAutoCenter
Thanks also to the Tonaquint Data Center for allowing us to use their facility in getting the cool “Mission: Impossible” feel. Check their website here: http://www.tonaquintdc.com/ and Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tonaquint-Data-Centers-Inc
Thank you also to Benja’s Thai food restaurant http://benjathai.com/ for staying open late so we could get the beginning shots for the video! (Best Thai Food in Southern Utah!)
Last but not least, thank you to Dixie College for letting us film late at The Jeffrey R. Holland building for the shot where Steve throws Lindsey her violin.
If you’ve read this far this description will self-destruct in 5…4…3…2…


Mission Impossible written by Lalo Schifrin
Piano Sonato in C by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart K. 545 first movement
ThePianoGuys Arrangment produced by Al van der Beek and Steven Sharp Nelson
Arrangement and original material written by Steven Sharp Nelson, Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt, and Lindsey Stirling
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG Studioz
Video produced by Paul Anderson
Filmed & Edited by Paul Anderson

Dear Steve:

I’m sorry for being so flippant last evening in front of your friends and associates, just for a laugh. I know you didn’t take it seriously, but I wish I could have said something like this: “My experience with music and my children had its challenges, but there were some very exciting and thrilling moments. With Steve it happened around age 15 when he began to show some surprising elements of talent. These included the relative ease with which he began to compose some simple but delightful music with the computer, and his natural sense of rhythm with the drums, which now are evident in his musical performances. It was also evident that he was a natural performer evidenced by school plays he starred in. It was a type of transformation that was unique in our family and one I observed with amazement. I began to recognize not only his mother’s musical genes but his grandfathers “performers” genes. I have continued to marvel the development of these and other qualities he has manifest through his experiences and his willingness to try new things and explore new ideas. He’s met adversity with dogged determination and not let discouragement stop his progress and has learned through each experience, in various aspects of his life, not allowing disappointment to stop him. My memories of music and Steve are marvelous, including string quartet sessions, private recitals in the home, string camp, and now performance after performance of wonderful music that is exciting to see as well as to hear.”

By this time my listeners would have fallen asleep or wandered away, but I would not have embarrassed myself with foolish chatter.

Your admiring father and greatest fan,

Love, Dad

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