In the past, Mathew Cullen has run into some problems when it came to directing big-budget videos — namely, too many voices, too many people trying to tell him what he could (or couldn't) do. Suffice to say, he didn't have that problem on the set of Katy Perry's "California Gurls."
"I definitely can say that was not the case with this one," Cullen laughed. "It was very collaborative, no one said no to anything. And Katy, well, she was great. I've never met anyone who worked harder or was more committed to making a great video."
But make no mistake about it: Cullen was prepared to push Perry. As these exclusive concept sketches prove — Cullen e-mailed a batch to MTV News on Wednesday — he was bursting with ideas for the "Gurls" video, from wild costumes to eye-popping candy-colored sets. Not only was KP game to try them all, but the entire "Gurls" team was too.
"Her main stylist coordinated a huge team of people to help make the costumes. Diesel was a part of it, designers in New York too. Every single piece of clothing was custom," the director said. "And then we had [the painter] Will Cotton, whose work was a big inspiration on the look of the video, working as the artistic director. Everyone came together and worked very hard, because we all wanted to create something that captured her voice as an artist and celebrated her personality."
Perry was so committed to the project that she threw some ideas of her own into the mix — the whole "chest-mounted frosting cannons" thing was all her. And she put in overtime to ensure the clip would be impressive. In fact, the entire thing worked so well that Cullen only wishes the video could've been longer. After all, some of his clever ideas didn't even make the final cut.
"[Perry] worked 19 to 20-hour days, and only slept four to five hours in between. So, over 48 hours, she was awake for nearly 40. And it was amazing, really," Cullen said. "She was ready to work, and wanted the video to be great. It's too bad we had to edit it down though. We had a lot of ideas, and what's in the video is only a fraction of them."
What's your favorite part of the "California Gurls" video? Let us know in the comments!