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Tom ScharplingTom Scharpling

Tom Scharpling, a name your average music fan might not recognize, but those in the know understand his importance in the music video industry. Tom's influence behind the camera has been felt in music videos for a variety of artists such as The New Pornographers, Aimee Mann, and Real Estate. However, arguably his masterpiece, Ted Leo's "Bottled In Cork," in parody of Green Day’s Broadway musical American Idiot, tells the story of a punk band going “the sell-out” route. This video hilariously condensed a two-hour “rock opera” to around five minutes, impacting the cinematic narrative of music videos in the future.

Scharpling’s distinct humor and playful storytelling effortlessly bring music to life visually. You’ll find a touch of the ludicrous in The New Pornographers' "Moves," where comedic actor Jon Daly impersonates each band member with precision. Equally humorous is his direction for the video “Labrador” featuring Aimee Mann, where he channels a shoddy 80’s video aesthetic, complete with period-appropriate costumes and lousy green screen effects. Such videos not only satirize the sometimes pretentious world of music video production but also foster a deeper connection between the music and the listener. Featured in these videos are heavyweight names like John Hamm, Jon Wurster, and Laura Linney, adding a touch of Hollywood to his unpredictable directorial style. Sneak in a little surprise for the readers, the famous actor Jon Hamm was tricked into doing the Aimee Mann video, thinking he was signing up for an iPhone commercial. This gimmick cleverly turned the whole experience into a comically absurd meta-joke. Remarkably, Scharpling managed to keep all his music videos independent and free of charge, a testament to his genuine passion for the medium.

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