June 11, 2018

6 Steps to Launching Your Music Video Career

If you want to start making music videos, here are 6 things that will help you do it.

Music videos are a great outlet for filmmakers to explore and experiment with their creativity but getting your career off the ground can be a little tricky. If you're unsure of where to start, music video director Jakob Owens of The Buff Nerds shares six tips that will help you not only launch your career but also make your work more professional, exciting, and relevant in a highly competitive field. Check out his video below:

Work from the ground up

Everyone has to start somewhere, right? You may dream of making videos for the biggest names in the music industry, but you might want to think locally in the beginning. Reach out to local bands and musicians and see if they're open to you shooting a music video. If you have a few friends who are also musical artists, this process seems to be much easier—and often less lucrative—but your rate is honestly not the most important thing you have to worry about at this point. I was "charging" 100 bucks a pop back in the day, which usually evolved into buying me drinks after—which was totally fine with me.

Practice

Well, if the money isn't your priority in the beginning, what is? It's practicing! Get out there and start honing your craft so you can start adding good work to your reel. If someone wants you to shoot their music video for peanuts, you might want to do it. Experience is much more valuable than money in the beginning, so take every opportunity to get some.

Treatments

Learning what the requirements or expectations are of any job is important. One thing that music video directors often have to do is draw up a treatment so their clients know what direction they're intending to take the project. So, take some time to get familiar with creating treatments for your clients; learn how to format one and what clients want to see when they look at one (lots of pictures). Owens offers treatment templates on his website if you're interested.

Build your reel

The all-important reel—yours needs to be able to show potential clients how awesome you are at doing what you do. All of those videos you shot for local bands for $50 and a 6-pack have led up to this moment, when you're able to cull through all those terabytes of footage, handpick the cream of the crop, and put them in a reel you can be proud of. Make sure that every single shot you include really communicates your style, ability, and flexibility as an artist.

Be original

When I was growing up, I wanted to direct music videos like Hype Williams. In fact, he was the first music video director whose name I had the mind to learn because his work was so incredibly original. But we can't all be Hype Williams, Melina Matsoukas, or Spike Jonze (honestly, Erik Wareheim's weird ass is goals 100% for me). Develop your own original style that speaks to who you are as an artist. Yes, it's important to be versatile and be able to give your clients what they want, but it's also important to be able to inspire them with your own vision as well.

Develop good relationships

Don't be a butthole. That's—I mean, that's pretty much it. Be nice, network a lot, and don't be a butthole. And share your gum. 

What are some other important steps to take if you want to become a music video director? Let us know down in the comments.      

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1 Comment

Practice...!! the best tool to develop.
Thanks for the tips.

June 13, 2018 at 7:07AM, Edited June 13, 7:07AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
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August 7, 2018 at 4:09AM

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rajan
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