Before you read this blog post I would to like preface it by saying that I am in no way a music video expert, instead this blog looks like explore why the format of music videos is appealing to me.
Alongside film, music has always been a huge love and inspiration of mine. Most of the short films I have created have been influenced by music in some form or another. I think music has the ability to provoke emotion and tell stories in the same way film can. The art of music videos is a happy medium between the two and a visual representation of a song that should enhance the listening experience.
When I arrived at UAT, one of my Digital Video classes required us to create a music video for a song of our choice. At the same time one of my all-time favorite bands They Might Be Giants was hosting a video contest with the cash prize of $1000 and the chance to receive feedback from Black Francis of Pixies fame.
Previously, I had made simple videos to release alongside covers of songs I had recorded at home, but for the next few weeks I went about creating a highly choreographed music video that combined psychedelic imagery with dance. A few months later I received notification that I had won and this what sparked my love for the music video medium.
The thing I find most interesting about music videos is the fact that atmosphere and mood often replaces story and narrative, making for a much more expressionistic experience. I have always leaned towards the experimental side of film-making because I think that pushing boundaries and trying new things is important in any art form. The freedom that music videos open up is a great starting point for filmmakers to explore the medium without running the risk of ruining a narrative.
Music videos can be anything from simple imagery, to a complex short films and because they don’t feature any dialogue, creators are required to convey meaning visually and this in itself is a highly sort after skill.
The constraints of a music video also force the maker to refine their storytelling methods to articulate themes. Even though not all music videos feature a clear beginning, middle and end, each one tells the story of the song, whether that be symbolically or literally. The flow, pacing and atmosphere can also be applied to any narrative film format.
It’s no surprise that many of the filmmaking greats have dabbled in the music video medium. Acclaimed director Spike Jones famously jumped started his career by making a slew of innovative music videos and most recently young Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan created the sepia toned video for Adele’s viral hit “Hello.”
Below are a few of my all-time favorite music videos: