The Director Explains: Saint Sister - 'Tin Man' (Video)

Award winning filmmaker Bob Gallagher, speaks to us in-depth about his The Wizard Of Oz inspired visuals for Saint Sister's extraordinary single, 'Tin Man'. 

Saint Sister is the exquisite project of Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty whose sound is inspired by the traditional Celtic harp and blending 60s folk with electronic pop. 'Tin Man' is a magnetic and mournful track with spine-tingling harmonies, spellbinding synth and striking electro-harp, out now and available here.

Bob Gallagher Explains:
Where was the video for 'Tin Man' filmed?
We shot a mix of indoor stuff at my studio in North Strand and some exteriors out at my friend Susan's farm in North Dublin. Definitely not in Kansas, but close enough.

How does the video compliment the song?
Well there's the overt references in the song to the Wizard of Oz so it seemed to make sense to embrace that and set the drama within that cast of characters. I had actually written a thesis on dream sequences and specifically on a Freudian analysis of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz as having homicidal intentions towards Mrs. Gulch and how the significant traits received by the Lion Scarecrow and Tin Man alluded to Dorothy's burgeoning interest in the three farm hands.

The Wizard of Oz is structured as an elaborate dream sequence, beginning and ending in reality, but with a fantastical middle sequence that includes characters and events referring to Dorothy's real life. I feel like the song has a dreamy quality to it, that descending scale in the beginning in particular feels like it's drawing you into an altered state, so the I thought the idea of playing it out as a dream sequence was a good fit.

The Blind Date element came from talking about one of the main themes of the song, which is having an inexplicable sense for someone beyond an immediate physical relationship, which made me think of the dating gameshow idea of choosing a partner based on blind intuition.

Any behind the scenes stories?
Probably the story that sounds most made up but is actually true is that the actor playing the Tin Man's last name is Tinman.

Tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
While we were using the imagery of the Wizard of Oz characters we wanted to make them into our own interpretation. The characters were hybrids of the classic designs and our own skewed versions that would fit with the gameshow setting. We worked with a really great designer called Molly O'Cathain and we looked at references from shows like Blind Date and The Dating Game, in the end setting the dream within a 70's period seemed right. We looked at a lot of mens advertising from the period, and there's this trend of hyper masculinity combined with really comical outfits. The immaculately ironed tight trousers seemed to heighten the absurdity of the dream sequence.

The contrast of masculinity and femininity was a central theme because we see Dorothy being inducted into conventions of adult sexuality. She's given lipstick, dressed in sparkling high heels. All of a sudden she's on display and subject to judgement. This was a way of portraying a subconscious upheaval and anxiety as something disorientating and unnerving. She's then thrust into choosing between masculine tropes, overseen by the patriarchal figure of the Wizard.

What is the message the video is trying to convey?
I suppose it's about the confusion of being young and trying to figure out who is the right person for you. Ultimately in the gameshow Dorothy picks up on the kind nature of the Tin Man's character. She's had some sense of him that's translated into her dream, and when she wakes up her subconscious is proven right when he's the only one to stay behind and help her.

I suppose the message would be to trust your instincts and I would include the messages of the subconscious via dreams and altered consciousness within that. We absorb so much information that it would be overwhelming to process it all consciously, so paying attention to the work of the subconscious can be helpful in decision making for waking life. Unless you actually find yourself on an episode of a TV dating show, in which case dreaming is useless and only a high tolerance for cringing will serve you well.

Interview feature by Karla Harris