Advice from a Music Video Director of Photography in Miami
“Great leaders are rare, but recognizing you are in the presence of a
Bad Music Video Director is easy enough if you follow this simple rules.”
What is the very least an Artists should expect of a Music Video Director?
1. It’s reasonable to expect a Music Video Director to provide enough body of work to show a range of skills i.e.: Composition, Action, Pacing, Color palette, movement, etc. (a lot of this falls on the Cinematographer’s bag of tricks. be sure to inquire: what if any of what you see in the frame was the Directors doing and not the Cinematographer’s stepping in to save the shot)
2. It’s reasonable to expect a Music Video Director
to demonstrate the necessary visual language that can translate/bridge the technical with the artistic in order to communicate with both the artists and the crew. It is not enough to say “trust me” is going to look “cool”, or its going to look like this other video from another director and cinematographer team without a competent explanation to go with it.
Very few things have the power to enervate a crew like a Music Video Director who can’t speak “the production language”.
3. It’s reasonable to expect a Music Video Director
to stand by their crew.
If the production day is going south i.e.: weather delays, props missing, inaccessible locations, and my favorite the Artists is MIA or stuck in “traffic”. The most common demand is for the crew to work faster, or to skip a meal break, or to work over time without proper compensation. if delays are not the Artists fault, and are not caused by an incompetent Music Video Director, chances are an amicable solution can be reached. Preferably one that gets the project done with minimal impact on the original plan and does not involve slave driving the crew, nor does it cause the Artists to break the piggy bank. (don’t get me wrong, delays cost money)
4. It’s reasonable to expect a Good Music Video Director
to help the Artists and crew perform at their best. An effective leader on set understands how important—and how motivating—it is to keep everyone focus on the task at hand. i.e.: the time to take Instagram photos and tweet about “#setlife” is not during the Artists performance or during a complicated camera move. As an artist, if your Director cares more about taking a selfie on set next to a camera they don’t even own let alone know how to turn on, you need to unfriend, unlike, and unfollow that fool immediately.
5. Finally, and certainly most important, it’s reasonable to expect the Music Video Director to demonstrate integrity. The production lifestyle attracts its good amount of lowlifes waiting to cash in on the unprepared artists. Fortunately, a background check cost as little as $75 and a credit report cost much less. Exercise common sense and protect your investment. i.e.: if your Director has prison looking tats he is trying to hide, they may be just that.