Most of us have seen a music video from one band or artist at some point in our lives, but have you ever wondered what it is like to be in a music video? New Richmond teen Samantha Cook, 18, found out after entering an email contest to be part of rapper NF's latest music video, "Outcast," which was released on Oct. 5.
"This was probably one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had! During the process, I don't think it officially sunk in that I was actually filming with NF," Cook said. "It was so worthwhile!
"This experience was breathtaking. It was so amazing to see Nate give his all and get so into his music, even if he's not in front of a huge crowd. He's so genuine and sweet. If anyone has the opportunity to be in a music video, take that opportunity. You will not regret it for one second."
NF, whose real name is Nathan Feuerstein, is a hip-hop musician and his most recent album, "Perception" — which was released on Oct. 6— made it to No. 1 on the Billboard charts for the week of Oct. 17, according to Forbes.com. "Perception" is the rapper's fourth full-length album. To be part of the "Outcast" video, Cook, who has been a fan of NF for four years, had to be one of the first 100 people to send an email to a specific email address. Cook received a response to her email at midnight the following day, back in September, giving her the location and date for the filming of the music video. Two days later, she received another email saying she was accepted to be part of the video.
"I am such a huge fan of NF. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to possibly meet him, get to know more about him, and see what the process of making a music video is!" Cook said. "When I saw the opportunity to get a chance to be in his music video, I jumped right on it. I'm a fangirl... it's what I do! I was so thrilled! I ended up shedding tears, I was so excited! I had never gotten the opportunity to do anything like this before! I was in shock."
The music video was filmed on Sept. 13 — which was just three days after Cook received the email saying she was going to be part of the video — in Nashville and took about eight hours to film all the scenes, including the ones with the fans who won the email contest. According to Cook, she was one of the 55 fans that made up the crowd that surrounds the cell NF is rapping in during the video.
"We all jumped around the cell, reached out towards Nate (NF) and grabbed his jacket. We were supposed to act like we were trying to get at him at certain parts. It kind of felt awkward to just grab him and yank him against the cell," Cook said. "We also 'crowd-surfed' him. We kept him in the same spot and just bounced him up and down while he rapped. That was a ton of fun!"
In addition to being part of the crowd, Cook was also one of a select few who were selected to take part in the VIP scene of the music video.
"We all stood in a line outside the cell. When it was our turn to go inside the cell with Nate, we were supposed to pretend like we were at a meet and greet," Cook said. "When it was my turn, I was so nervous. I was like the seventh or eighth person in line. When it got to my turn, I was so nervous. I was freaking out! I didn't know what I was supposed to do.
"The director wasn't specific, so I totally winged it. I walked up to Nate and just followed his lead. I shook his hand, and we posed together for a photo. Even though I totally winged it, this was the scene that actually made the finished music video!"
Cook's VIP scene takes place at 1:25, where you can see her posing with NF to take a photo.
"It was so incredible. He was so genuine, sweet, humble, and just overall pleasant!" Cook said. "I would say that he exceeded my expectations. Working with him was absolutely fantastic. Whenever we got a break, Nate would tell us that he's trying to get some pizza delivered for us. Roughly around two hours before we were all done filming, Nate and his team surprised us all with some delicious pizza. Nate and his team took such good care of us."
Cook wasn't able to see the final version of the video until it came out on Oct. 5, but she couldn't have been more excited to see the final product.
"I don't think this can be put into proper words. I was so ecstatic. I loved every bit of it," Cook said. "It portrays the song so well. I couldn't believe how fantastic it looked! It was also crazy to think that we spent eight hours of filming for just the fan part, and the finished product was only five minutes long.
"My family was shocked, surprised, and thrilled, when they found out I was going to be in the video. I think they were skeptical at first, but when they saw the music video, they were so impressed. They were even more thrilled that I actually got a huge spotlight."
The best part of the music video experience for Cook was being able to see how one person like NF can bring so many people together and surround them with something positive.
"Nate's music changes lives. It was amazing to hear stories from other fans and to just come together," Cook said. "I actually talk to a few different fans I meet regularly on Twitter and Instagram."
Although being part of the music video is a once in a lifetime experience for Cook, one of her favorite parts was the trip to Nashville, which she made with her boyfriend's mom, Cathy Burke.
"She's like my second mom. We had a ton of fun stopping at Chick-Fil-A, Wayback Burger, and sleeping in the back of the van, with an air mattress, at a couple of different Walmarts," Cook said. "We shared a lot of jokes, stories, and just had such an excellent time together."
Although Cook has no intention of becoming a musician or working in the music industry, she learned a lot from her experience on set of the music video.
"I will say that I have an abundance of respect for those who are involved in the music industry, whether it be the director, cameraman, the artist, or even the makeup lady/man," Cook said. "They put a ton of energy and work into what they do. It's crazy. You have literally no idea how much effort is put into something like this unless you actually are a part of it."
Cook was homeschooled and graduated from high school in March 2016. She currently attends WITC-New Richmond and is studying Web/Software Development.
"When I graduate from WITC in May, I plan to attend UWRF the following fall semester to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science," Cook said.