Directing your first music video can be a daunting process. The artist will use your video to promote their music, shows and their image. If the video looks bad, they look bad. No pressure! Here are some realistic tips...
1. Start with a solid idea.
You can shoot the band on stage singing to camera and most of the time that's fine. Small budgets and time restraints make this a good option. But music videos give you creative flexibility to experiment and try new ideas. Music videos need to be memorable, so the artist gets maximum value from making it. Work closely with the artist and listen to their ideas. They know their brand better than anyone.
2. Getting the right crew for the job takes negotiation.
You need to put your sales hat on. If your asking crew to work for free find out what's in it for them. Does the DOP want some creative flexibility? Is the camera assist looking to make contacts? Most people have a currency, so take the time to listen and work out what people need. I promise, it will lead to discounted services and good creative work.
3. Pre-production is paramount.
The more work put into pre-production the less stress on the day. You want to be as organised as possible. Try to write down every detail, even if it sounds trivial because there is so much to think about on the day and you will be working at break-neck speeds.
4. Storyboards are essential.
You don't need professional drawing skills, stick figures will suffice. Taking the time to storyboard will give you a visual reference to confirm your story is working. Sometimes shots are hard to explain, so if you print a few copies to give to the crew, it minimises confusion on the day.
5. Getting complex story parts right.
In my first music video I had some story sections that were complicated. I didn't spend enough time story boarding these, so when it got to the edit it was hard to come up with solutions. Pick the most complicated sections and spend lots of the on them.
6. Nearly killing the talent.
Shooting in the middle of winter with talent having no shoes and minimal clothes can be tough on the talent. I did that to Lucy, luckily, she was a trooper but I may not be so lucky next time! Always keep in mind the comfort of the talent. If they are uncomfortable or freezing to death you may not get the best performance!
7 . You don't have to do everything.
Just because you think you can do everything doesn't mean you should. By trying to be Producer/Director/editor etc your limiting creative ideas that can come from outside your own headspace. Having an outsiders perspective can have a refreshing take on you vision and lead to a better result.