Elton John Wants You to Make Music Videos for His Greatest Hits

John and songwriter Bernie Taupin announce a new filmmaking contest in partnership with YouTube.

Elton John has released 77 music videos, but some of his best known songs were released before the concept of a “music video” was fully fleshed out. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what a music video for Rocket Man, Bennie and the Jets or Tiny Dancer would’ve been like (or even find yourself wondering as you read this now), then it’s time to put that imagination to work and create your own.

That’s right, on the eve of their 50th anniversary of partnership, Elton John and songwriter Bernie Taupin have announced they will partner with YouTube in presenting “The Cut.” The opportunity allows users to submit visuals to go along with the very songs we’ve mentioned above.

Each song comes with the challenge of creating a video in a specific style of filmmaking. For example, Since Rocket Man was inspired by Ray Bradbury's science fiction short anthology The Illustrated Man, submissions for the 1972 smash hit are limited to animation.

In contrast, John and Taupin are asking for a live action music video for Tiny Dancer. Specifically one that reflects a “composite of a lot of different ideas and a lot of different people.” 

Finally, the duo ask for a “choreographed” video (think OK GO level) for 1973’s Bennie and the Jets. To break it down further, Taupin wants “a sort of a cross between Fritz Lang and Helmut Newton.” John agrees and perhaps needlessly adds his belief that the video should be “very, very sexy.”

If you are among the winning directors, not only do you receive support from YouTube and Pulse Films to create the “official” music video for one of these three iconic songs, you also receive a prize fund of $10,000 USD to help with future projects.

A group of YouTube creators and industry experts will be whittle down the submissions to a shortlist and then present that list to another panel of judges. Ultimately, however, the decision will comes down to whatever treatment Elton and Taupin enjoy most. Below is a video some of YouTube’s experts have put together to give you tips on how to create a successful treatment.

Entry for the contest opens on January 9, 2017 and submissions will be accepted for the following two weeks. You can get creative briefs for each of the videos and sign up for the contest here    

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Your Comment


Hey, why not work for free for Elton John? If they really love what you do, you just might get paid. If you're going to make a film and probably not get paid, make sure you're doing it for yourself.

December 12, 2016 at 1:47PM

You voted '+1'.

If they want music videos, they should allow any talent to completely express itself and prepare to be pleasantly surprised in response, instead of imposing what they think might or might not work, since they don't actually have a clue. For example if Elton wants Rocket Man to be limited to animation, he can learn Maya and do it himself, though I think his face would swiftly become the same as the photo above.

December 12, 2016 at 4:01PM, Edited December 12, 4:22PM

Saied M.

Me too agree with Saied, let the video maker have the creative freedom without deviating the theme or the thought behind the song. Only then Sir Elton can expect the right justice to his creative in a contemporary style. He might even get a better version of what is in his mind.
But as a creative person the video producers can come up with their own version and surprise Sir Elton. What say guys?

December 12, 2016 at 11:18PM, Edited December 12, 11:18PM

Dibyendu Joardar
Director of Photography

He forgot to spec my budget ;)

December 14, 2016 at 8:19AM