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Screenshot from the Mr. Gnome video "House Of Circles" (Courtesy of the artist)

First Watch: Mr. Gnome, 'House Of Circles'

Nov 29, 2012

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Reported by

Robin Hilton

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The Cleveland-based experimental rock duo Mr. Gnome was one of our favorite discoveries from South by Southwest earlier this year, and now the band is back on our radar with an amazing new video. "House of Circles," from Mr. Gnome's recent album Madness in Miniature, is an epic, wildly imaginative story about a band of rebel fighters who attempt to save the world from the evil Queen Machine.

The video, which is designed to look like a graphic novel, is full of seemingly high-end visual and special effects, but band members Nicole Barille and Sam Meister produced the entire short film on their own — writing, directing and editing it on a shoestring budget.

In an email, singer and guitarist Barille told us that the whole thing cost less than the band's $2,000 budget, most of which was spent on costumes and camera equipment. "We decided the only way we could pull off a fantasy world of machines and flying people was to shoot it all in front of a green screen and use miniature sets. Sam's mom, Barb, has been a huge part of our team since our first music video for 'Night of the Crickets,' and she really helped pull together the costumes and sets to create the look we were going for. Many of the roles and characters were played by the same people."

Mr. Gnome originally wrote an elaborate fairytale around the entire Madness in Miniature album, and intended to turn it into a full-length film. The project was eventually scaled back to this eight-minute video, focusing on the final chapter of the story. "We realized it would've taken years to finish a feature film," Barille says. "We'd love to tell the whole story at some point, whether it's through a graphic novel, animation or a feature-length film. Hopefully, we'll get the opportunity to do this sooner than later."

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