By Lyndee Johns
Two nursing students stand on the roof of the Kimball Tower, lip-synching while two professors with masks and lab coats drum on trash cans, using PVC pipes as drumsticks.
Not exactly the usual way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.
But hey, it’s for a good cause.
The “Whatever It Takes” College of Nursing video parody is the brainchild of Steven Roundy, a fifth-semester nursing student and board member of the BYU Student Nurses Association.
Roundy, who has often made music videos for his family, was thinking about making a video when he saw a video made by Zak Gowan, who is a videographer for the BYU College of Nursing media team. “It just looked really [high] quality, and I was like, ‘Wow, it would be awesome to get together.’ So I went up and I asked him and then started looking for a song that would kind of get a feeling of the nursing program.”
Choose 2 Give Campaign
When Roundy was put in charge of the 2020 College of Nursing Choose 2 Give campaign, he decided to kill two birds with one stone and create the video as a promotional tool.
The Choose 2 Give campaign focuses on students helping students. Students or anyone else who wishes to donate should do so via give.byu.edu/nursing, which ensures that the money goes directly to the College of Nursing. These donations help pay for student scholarships, mentored learning, and the clinical needs of the public & global health nursing courses.
Roundy talks about how important it is for students to donate. “Even those who aren’t on scholarship are on scholarship because of what a good price quality education this is. The amount of investments from people we’ve never seen that goes into helping us . . . they’re investing so much into us, so that we can go and turn around and help other people too, especially those who might not have such a good family life or education foundation as early on as we have.”
Roundy chose the Imagine Dragons song “Whatever It Takes” to build the video around. “Honestly, It was just the song that had the kind of feeling that sometimes you can have in the nursing program,” says Roundy. “’Whatever it takes’ to get in the nursing program and to graduate . . . I just wanted it to show how the nursing program can be hard and hard is okay, and you’re gonna make it.”
Roundy wrote the lyrics of the parody. Noteworthy member Brittan Wawro provided the breathtaking vocals, and BYU commercial music major Skylar DeWeese created the background music, as well as helping record and edit the vocals.
Nursing students Emma Beaumont and Savannah Williams take center stage in this video, with additional appearances by SNA president and nursing student Izzy Bernal and UVU student Samantha Roundy, Steven’s sister.
Beaumont took on her role as the main “vocalist” with enthusiasm. “I don’t really get really like bashful in front of people or stuff,” she says. “So I was kind of like ‘We’re just gonna do it. And if I fully commit to this, then that will hopefully make it turn out better, whereas if I’m a little nervous, then it’s gonna look lame.’’
Associate teaching professor Dr. Craig Nuttall and assistant teaching professor Scott Summers gave their all as the masked drummers.
“We were just happy to help the students out,” says Summers.
Gowans filmed and edited the video.
Roundy acted as producer and director, and even made several cameos as a patient in the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC). “I looked dead in a lot of the scenes, so it was funny watching me,” says Roundy. “It made me grateful for good nurses, just thinking about what patients go through.”
Filming happened over three days in January, beginning on the roof of the Kimball Tower, then moving to the NLC, and then to the Provo Frontrunner station.
While Roundy and Gowans pulled a lot of inspiration for filming from the lyrics of the song, they also based locations off of the daily routines of nursing students. “We went to places that nurses would be,” says Gowans. “So we were in the NLC . . . Nursing is here in the Kimball, so we got on the roof of the Kimball because that’s a cool location, and we went to the train station because a lot of them ride the train.”
The Kimball Tower roof was a favorite location of the cast and crew.
“I actually two weeks earlier had made a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do before I graduated, and going on top of the Kimball Tower was one,” says Williams. “And then Steven told me we were filming on top of the Kimball Tower, and I freaked out because I was like, ‘You just made my dream come true!’”
“I loved going on top of the Kimball Tower because you just never get to go up there, so first of all it’s beautiful,” says Beaumont. “We were filming the chorus up there, and so that was really fun just to have everyone there and everybody’s just going kind of crazy wild.”
Roundy has three words to describe the filming process: “filming by faith.”
“When we got to it, I only had a couple of ideas and props, but then, on the scene, we thought of a lot of the actual dancing and actions like that, and camera angles on the spot,” says Roundy.
One of his examples of filming by faith was finding makeshift drums for Summers and Nuttall to use. “I had to come up with drums somehow the day of, and I went into the janitor’s closet and I found trash cans.”
Cast members loved the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other while filming.
“Zak and Steven would be like, ‘Okay, you can stand here and we want Craig and Scott to stand here.’ But then, for the most part, it was just ad-lib,” says Williams. “Everyone kind of threw out ideas as we were going, which I think made it a lot more fun.”
Williams contributed the idea of Summers rolling in the trash can, which made it into the final cut.
Beaumont loved filming in the NLC, where she suggested some ideas for the routine.
“There are a couple of things that I’m like, ‘I should do hand hygiene here,’ or ‘I should rip out your IV . . . So it was a combined effort there but it was awesome.”
Bernal was in several NLC scenes, performing chest compressions on a comatose patient (Steven) and ripping graded papers. “It took us a few tries to get the timing right of when we rip the paper with our grades on it and a couple of practices to really get into the zone, but that part was really fun,” Bernal says.
“My favorite part to film was the CPR scene,” says Samantha Roundy, who also appeared in the NLC scenes. “I don’t know how Steven didn’t laugh because it was hard for me to hold [it] in!”
Steven Roundy enjoyed watching everyone perform during filming. “Seeing Scott and Craig up there on the roof was hilarious,” he says. “And seeing Emma and Savannah and Samantha and Izzy just get into it. Their personalities just came out. It was so much fun just to watch them get into it and love it.”
Making the video wasn’t all fun and games though.
For Roundy, the struggles started even before filming. Creating the background music was harder than he and DeWeese had anticipated. “So if I would have known beforehand how much time it would have taken just to make the background music, I don’t think I would have jumped into it,” says Roundy. “But once you’re hours into it and halfway done, thinking you’re almost done, you’re not going to just stop it.”
“The hardest part, I think, is the speed at which we had to do it,” said Gowans. “We had to get it done before the campaign started . . . So I think the time crunch was kind of hard and working with each other’s schedules.”
For Williams, the hardest part of filming was the energy. “We were playing the music from like a tiny little speaker, and they’re like, ‘Give us more energy!’ And we’re like, ‘Okay!’ But all we could hear is this tiny little speaker.”
Beaumont had some difficulty remembering the lyrics during an overhead shot. “Looking straight up and like not really thinking about what you’re saying but have to think about what you’re saying . . . Then I get a little nervous or you just like forget it or get tongue-tied and you’re like, ‘I was so close!’’
After freezing temperatures at the Frontrunner station, location juggling, and hours of editing, the music video “Whatever It Takes – Choose 2 Give 2020” was posted on YouTube on February 25, 2020.
When asked about their hope for the video going forward, the crew and cast had a variety of responses.
For Roundy, making music videos is about remembering the people in the video. “I just like watching them years later and remembering the people in them because you see their personality in ways that you’ll never see them again.”
“Obviously, every filmmaker hopes that people watch their movies,” says Gowans. “I hope that people like it. I hope that they think it’s fun, because it was fun to make.”
“If I’m ever gonna get famous, this is my one shot, right?” Beaumont jokes. “But no, I think it’s important to talk about how it is. Like, school’s hard . . . But hopefully, with this vid and just us like talking about how it’s hard, you can be like, ‘Well, things are difficult, but [I] can still have a lot of fun along the way.’”
“I think that the hope is just that people will donate to Choose 2 Give,” says Williams. “I hope that it just makes people laugh, because we had a lot of fun making it, but I mean ultimately it is like a fundraiser video. So I hope that people actually go and donate.”