JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Johnstown is showing off its rock side.
Doltyn Snedden, a Nashville resident, Forest Hills High School graduate and independent director of music videos, commercials and shorts, was recently back in the area to shoot a series of music videos for the Nashville-based band Icon for Hire.
He said he worked with the group on various other projects and it gave him the opportunity to produce five videos in one collective shoot.
“I came up with the idea of shooting all five videos in the same week and bringing them to Johnstown,” Snedden said. “To me, Johnstown has so much character and it has so many roots that have been developed through blue-collar mindsets. Every time I create a project, I look for that character, that detail, that grit and the years of background story.Even when I was growing up, I thought Johnstown was such a unique place, so this is a special project for me.
Production took place March 5-10, primarily around Franklin Borough, with a crew returning to the Johnstown area on Tuesday to secure additional shots.
Some of the crew members involved included local natives Mike Spinos, a graduate of Windber Area High School, and Joey Schrader, a graduate of Forest Hills High School.
Filming locations were the former EMF Development Corp., Rollock Inc., Cresson Sanatorium, Johnstown Masonic Event & Conference Center, and a private residence in Hollsopple.
“The band has two core members and they will be hiring contract musicians, so we were able to hire two local musicians – Tyler Litko and Austin Danel – to help with the video project as well,” Snedden said. “It was exciting to involve two locals.”
He said Icon for Hire empowers young people and promotes originality and stands up for who you are and what you bring to the table.
“We wanted something that screamed revolutionary, so for one of the videos, our idea was to have giant signs that had lyrics from their song and those signs would fall off buildings, and the message would be a lyric in their song and it would be linked to the video,” Snedden said. “We had a very diverse cast, and it was all people who had something to say.”
A public casting call was held for the extras and locals were hired as key players.
“We were able to hopefully provide an experience for a lot of people who have never been on a production like this,” Snedden said. “A lot of people have thanked us for involving them in the project, and they can’t wait to see it.”
The videos will form a cohesive story when released by Darkwater Productions.
The first video will be released on April 14 on the Icon for Hire YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCCX3PfK4BUH8E-ImT86AQ. The following videos will be released every two or three weeks.
“With any project I release, the hope is that people can see the effort, hard work and dedication that has gone into producing the project,” Snedden said. “We try to use our art to be a voice for people who may not have one.”
Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.