EXPERT OPINION: IS NEW TALENT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER? – TEXT LUKE TIERNEY
New talent. Everyone loves it right, but is now better than ever to be “new”? With the lines between music video and content directors becoming ever more blurred it makes more and more financial sense to be a full-time director. A full circle of content paying and music videos providing creative freedom. Is it as simple as that?
As we delve a little deeper into the forever changing world of music videos we asked 4 industry experts for their thoughts. With each opinion as different as the job titles we truly get a wide viewpoint on new talent. Keep a pencil at the ready especially as Matt finishes off the topic with professor-esque vigour.
Directors (CAVIAR) – Dent De Cuir:
As Internet users, we see a steady stream of new music videos being shared on Facebook and Twitter feeds every day. The sharing amount of these footages is dizzying and in that context getting noticed as a director is a real challenge. From time to time we come across “amateur” / self-produced projects, that truly amaze us. In our view, self-production is an essential motive force for new directors, because it means facing risks and disregarding certain “rules” and standards, such as copyright for example in order to keep the focus on ideas with almost no limitation. And that is, in fact, what brings the treasures of creativity the advertising and music promotion worlds love so much. That’s why we think music videos is an excellent school for new talent. We don’t consider ourselves experienced enough to have an objective look at the past of music video ‘s industry but furthermore it seems that today is easier to get in touch with interesting bands or labels when you’re a young director, with something new to bring to the table.
For professional projects with bigger production, the most important aspect of the creative process is the good collaboration and overall teamwork between the director and the artists/label/commissioner involved. If that collaboration goes well and everybody is on the same wavelength, there is a good chance it will reflect positively on the project. Being a newcomer to the industry means you bring a fresh look on certain aspects of the creative process. But it’s also essential that you actually have something to say and work with the right artists, or you risk rapidly vanishing into the indistinct brouhaha of the Internet. If a director, whether novice or experimented, starts a collaboration with a label whose ways are too rigid and ill-adapted to his/her own, he or she will most likely face more difficulties to produce a unique work than if he/she had been approached by a label that is used to taking risks. If we have one message to send it is that originality and the energy of good collaboration within the whole team are essential.
Commissioner (Universal) – James Hackett:
Creative talent is of crucial importance to music videos, it always has been and will continue to be (surely this is the same across many disciplines, not just in music videos). Most artists rely on teams behind the camera to help them craft their visual identities, in today’s world this is an essential part of any success, as it is that music can help visions and talents behind the camera to be realised. At its best it is a symbiotic and harmonious relationship. The power of ‘new’ can be intoxicating, it is always fashionable because with it comes the assumption of new ideas, but it can also be misleading, new doesn’t necessarily mean good or best.
Good for me is better than new, but what new can mean is that best talent is perhaps more realistically accessible with music video budgets, and recognising the investments (sacrifice) production companies and people can make when producing music videos, it’s this that is most important to me right now; keeping talented people motivated to work in music videos.
I would think what most people are really interested in is the best talent, new or otherwise and who’s to say when a creative individual is at the peak of their powers? It will differ from person to person. Hopefully the discovering and creation of brilliance remains fundamentally important to everyone, because when something or someone comes along that is good or has not been seen before it can push people and things forward. It is what ‘new’ is a catalyst for that is incredibly exciting.
Rep (OB Management) – Sam Davey:
Most definitely. There’s always been examples of great directors being developed through the path of music videos, but certainly ad agencies seem more interested than ever in the minds of music video directors. Untapped talent that can come in and shake things up a bit. OB has always been a place for nurturing young talent through videos, hunting down guys with unique, strong conceptual ideas and visions that we HOPE can translate into content and advertising. We’ve taken directors like Alex Southam, Courtney Phillips and Ollie Murray, who were once shooting 5k videos and are now regularly picking up content jobs on the strength of music work.
It’s extremely difficult to make a real living out of just solely music videos, so it’s so important these days for music departments to communicate properly with their commercials and content departments. I don’t think that happens enough if I’m honest. Consider the reasons for taking on a video and discuss the sorts of things your production company are missing from your reel. Try and be smart and a bit more strategic.
Of course, absolutely nothing wrong with making a music video which acts as just that, still an awesome medium. Plus if the work’s good, it can take on a life of its own and it will get noticed. Directors still need to graft for sure, but it’s more of an exciting time than it’s ever been.
Founder (Riff Raff) – Matthew Fone:
The answer is both simple and yet slightly more complex. So bear with me, oh and I will also digress.
The simple answer is new talent in anything is important. It generates new ideas, it pushes boundaries, it takes risks, it questions any status quo and usually knows about new techniques or technologies before anyone else. Oh and they are usually the age group of the market brands want to sell to.
Specifically the music video world embraces and allows you to “make your own idea” because at its heart music is a creative environment albeit with a commercial arm.
It also allows a visual expression that due to the restraints of money do not come with the usual complications of branding. Expression allows creativity.
So music videos if done right sometimes start to dictate what people usually define as cool (maybe 5% of music videos). Brands want to be cool.
But before I move on lets be clear: new talent is important to the music video industry purely because it allows a visual expression of creativity. Content has nothing to do with this. It does not want to be creative really. It usually is made on a smaller budget akin to music videos so the connection is made for that reason.
Now this may help talent move into the commercial world but for all the “new talent showcases” fundamentally no one really has the guts to take what they feel is a risk on a music video director when more money is involved.
What would be great is if we defined demand as something more creative and allowed content to be as open as music videos. Instead of managers and labels and bands we had the few people who dictate within brands and keep the degrees of communication to these and the directors.
This would make content an ideas arena where good work was made to complement the media channel. A Vine can have a great idea as much as a music video or TV commercial in the right hands; especially those who live in that world.
The worry is what is really happening is content is being offered up to young talent because of the budget but it is strangled by the world it inhabits and its usual practices: P-PPMS, sign off of the right diversification of casting, the pantone colour reference of a brand and “can you storyboard this”.
And stop quoting all those great directors of the past, there is some genuinely great talent if you all had the guts. So carry on doing videos and if you are good you should gain access to all the big money commercials and all that it offers. But be careful what you wish for.