What Makes a Good Music Video?
What Makes a Good Music Video? was lovenly crafted in the old world spirit by Brandon Marcus of Bad Music Videos.
What makes a good music video? Is it the song? The answer to that would be no because I’ve seen some fairly decent videos for some fairly indecent songs. Is it the artist? Again, no. If that were the case then every video by P. Diddy would be god-awful and, sadly, that’s just not the case (Did you see the video that was a rip-off of “The Running Man”? Awesome.) So what is it that creates a good music video? I’ll answer that question with another question: what makes a bad music video?
There are oh so many ways to go wrong while making a video. Think back over time and try to remember more than ten really, truly fantastic videos. There are a lot of creative, original videos but they are hard to remember. That’s because the sheer amount of awful output is awe-inspiring. It’s overwhelming. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of bad music videos.
My website profiles these videos, these horrendous disasters from the past. Over time, I’ve come to realize some of the biggest mistakes that directors and producers make while filming a video. Since I’m a wonderful and active citizen, I’ve decided to list some of the most obvious mistakes that’ll sink nearly any project.
1. Credits. Yes, yes, it adds a cinematic element to the video. Yes, yes, it makes everything look professional and epic. Awesome, it’s like the audience is watching a movie. But what’s the major difference between music videos and feature films? Oh, I don’t know, maybe about two hours! Also, millions upon millions of cash. Yes, some videos deserve special admiration for its technical feats but credits? Really? It just looks so pretentious. And if there’s one thing musicians want to avoid it’s being pretentious.
2. Sound effects/dialogue. I’ve watched a lot of videos and this is one kernel of truth I’ve discovered: all music videos aspire to be movies. The director usually wants to be filming a movie, the crew usually wants to be filming a movie and we all know the artist wants to be filming a movie. This leads to silly little ideas like adding dialogue or special effects to a music video. Explosions, heavy rain, bad bits of conversation. Yuck. Is this a MUSIC video? Why are people talking? Why does this feel like a film trailer? Oh, that’s right, everyone’s stuck in a state of arrested development and can’t come to terms with the fact that they’re not Brad Pitt. Deal with it, people! Cut out all the extra bells and whistles, it comes across as stupid and contrived.
3. Too much story. This is the biggest one of all. A music video is best when it realizes the confines of the medium. Let’s be honest: you’ve got a couple minutes to draw in the viewer’s attention and leave a lasting impression. Use those few minutes in your favor! Be creative, be inventive! Try something new! It’s a horrible idea to try and create a larger-than-life story and cram it into the short amount of time. It never works, it looks silly and it lends to parody.
“Hey, Sisqo, we need to film your new video. Would you like to come up with a new dance routine?”
“Can we have me fighting a giant dragon in this video?”
“I need a drink.”
See! Parody! I’m parodying Sisqo because of his over-the-top music videos! If I want a long, involved story, I’ll bust out my Lord of The Rings DVDs.
There are a lot of GOOD music videos out there but so many bad ones. I think that if my few bits of advice are followed, we could have a new generation of music videos. Fun, creative, memorable. It would be the dawning of a glorious time for music! We’d actually enjoy watching MTV.
Oh, who am I kidding? I need bad videos or I’m out of a job!
Brandon Marcus is the creator/editor of Bad Music Videos (www.badmusicvideosblog.com). A writer located in Southern California, Brandon enjoys all aspects of pop culture and is a rather easy-going guy in real life. Sorry Sisqo.
He can be contacted at BadMusicVideos@yahoo.com