Word Is Cheap x Music Video Industry












It’s time the music video industry started telling us what they think. So here we are:

There seems to be a growing trend in alternative artists directing their own music videos such as Grimes, Kano, Jungle, Toro Y Moi, FKA Twigs, Sia and most recently Lapsley.
Is this a positive step for the music video industry?

Remy Cayuela:

I’ve noticed that too but I don’t think we can really talk about a tend.

To me, it just seems to be few artists I suppose very attached to a « DIY » way to work (e.g. Grimes). Or artist who didn’t find the right director they could pair up with or an idea they would like to attach to a particular track.

Is the fact that budgets go down pushing artist to direct themselves to save money? I can’t imagine this is the main reason to be honest.

I don’t think the examples you evoke affect the music video industry at all but if this would become a bigger scale phenomenon it would have a negative effect for sure as It’ll mean less work for directors. But I don’t believe it would.

As a director, I provide an interpretation of a track, a visual world, sometimes a story that will compliment the music. It’s like an artist world meeting another artist world. The union creates a richer creative/video. Also and even if some of you can doubt about that point, directing is a real job. It requires skills and a lot of time to achieve an idea from scratch to screen.

Kim Jarrett:

I don’t see why it shouldn’t be positive? At the end of the day the music video industry still gets injected with visual material but it’s just by the artists’ hands. I think very few artists are directing every single video on their campaign and if they feel best that they’re the right person to visually interpret their song, then why not! What comes of it might not be universally well received, but I think artists are well within their right to portray their own material. & anyway, they might make a video, hate it and never return to the directing job.

Natalia Maus:

It’s no surprise artists have started to self-direct music videos. Access to filmmaking has never been better and the music video industry is no longer limited to a group of 10 directors that need at least £100k to make a video. In a world where even the majors aren’t willing to put much money into production, the artists may as well take ownership. For the more visually-minded, this is a great opportunity to express themselves in another medium, and to create a piece that is 100% connected to the artist and the music.

However, there is a lot of reverence around having a director’s credit and I would be very surprised if all of the artists with directors’ credits took on all of these responsibilities. Let’s not forget that filmmaking is still a craft that takes years of practical experience and hard work to master. Some great results can be yielded through collaborative effort, where an artist essentially acts as creative director and works with an experienced director that can hone an artist’s ideas and execute them in the right way.

So yeah, I think this is a positive step, and an inevitable one. The more ownership an artist has over their visual output, the more engaged they are with the medium – and that can only be a good thing. I just think we should acknowledge that there is far more to directing than having a great idea.

Emile Rafael:

No it’s not. It’s much the same philosophy as when a director thinks it’s a good idea to edit their own work, just because they can. There are probably good reasons sometimes, but I can’t think of any right now. In the same way I can’t think of a good video directed by an artist, I’m sure there is one, but it’s probably an exception to the rule. A lot of the time just because an artist contributes to the idea doesn’t mean they are directing it with you.

With at least two or three of these artists I can say that their first videos that lunched them were amazing and then it was downhill from there once they started directing.

I appreciate artists going beyond their music and wanting to be in charge of every visual representation right down to the font on the artwork, that’s all good and I can understand that drive. But it’s the collaboration that often produces the best results, even when there are creative differences, but that’s what makes great work.

It’s easy to think that you can direct, I can see how you can make yourself think that if you watched enough videos or the process, you can make one yourself. But in the same way, I don’t think I can write a symphony by listening to a lot of music.

Word Is Cheap

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