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The Allure of the Music Video Etc.

September 16, 2009

“No budget music videos are the devil. They will suck you dry and distract you from the goal at hand: narrative story telling.” – Nikyatu Jusu, filmmaker

This quote is truer than true.  Why?  Because they’re so tempting.  You say to yourself, “oh, it’ll just take maybe a week, maybe two weeks of pre-production (planning) at most.  We can shoot it out in a day, two at most, cut the shit out of it, add some effects and color and be done with it–all in a month.  And it’ll look dope.  Why?  ‘Cause it’s a fuckin’ music video.  Duh!”

And before you know it, you’re waking up at 5AM to drive to Westchester from Brooklyn on a Saturday morning to wrangle 25+ extras around a pool in 90 degree weather.  Lol.  But that said, even with the hard work, it can be fun.

The main problem with music videos is that they don’t pay anything these days.  Why?  Because Everyone is Fucking Broke. From the artists to the record label (if an artist is even signed) to the filmmaker themselves (not that you should be paying for anything if you’re the filmmaker)

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot and had a blast doing a bunch of ’em.  Especially working with (shameless-plug) my buddy Ben Harrison, who’s basically been schooling me on the low-budget game since October ’08.

Vids I’ve worked on with Ben–

Slippin’ Away” by Sanjay

“Mic Check” by F.O.E.

He’s got…2 more set to come out that I’ve helped him out on, one in which I have a small cameo and will be sure to put up.

Then w/ my Ricky Giannotti boy and and the guys over at Hayden5Media

“Useless” by Tiny Animals

All very sexy products in their own respective ways.  The problem is, with today’s advertising money having dried up after the primary platform for music video viewing shifted to the internet (which apparently still lacks ways in which to quantify/monetize the amount of times people watch videos) everything has to be done for cheap. And in the age of social networking, new media and the socially-bred necessity to maintain what appears to be an omnipresent level of online visiblity even if you’re not even doing anything remotely interesting (I mean, hell, look at my blog, lol) every artist needs a music video.  So then they come to you, the broke ass, struggling, starving independent filmmaker.

But of course you’re willing because:

a) You have access to Final Cut’s Studio

b) You have access to a Camera

c) You can probably beg a whole bunch of other broke ass, struggling, starving independent filmmakers like yourself to work lo/no

d) Your portfolio…could be better

e) None of the XXL Freshmen have hit you up yet.

But it requires a shitload of work and with most vids these days being all made in the edit (especially with all of the special effects that everyone is so into these days) you’re putting in hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars of hours of work and for what?

Who’s it going to promote in the end?

I hasten to say that it won’t be the person whose name is on the fourth line of that lower 3rd text display for all of about the first 5 seconds of the video, not unless you’re a household name.  Still, I don’t think that anyone really wants to direct music videos.  Very few.  Everyone I’ve ever talked to wants to direct features and has discussed music videos as a way to exercise their creative muscles.  Those are my takes.  Some people do it like they love it, though.  It shows.

BBGunn — don’t know where these dudes came from, but they’re ill.

“Day and Nite – Crookers’ Remix by Kid Cudi

Now, my homeboy Modi, on his monstrously entertaining blog,, says that this one was made for $250.  I highly doubt it, but the shit is nuts.  All in the edit.

“Famous Girl” by Christian Rich

Nabil Elderkin – apparently started doing photography for Kanyeezy amongst other celebrities and somehow segued over

My picks–

“T.I.A.” by Ka’naan

Paranoid” by Kanye West

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 20, 2009 8:47 am

    this was so entertaining and thorough. lol. and i appreciate the shout out. don’t ask me why i was on your blog at 4:51 AM. cuz i just was. shit. another brooklyn film maker!!!!!

    you should work w/ BB Gun. and yes the video was shot for just 250. i swear.

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