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Making A Music Video

  11/15/10 08:33, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Monday Morning Musical Musings, Paul Bourgeois , Tags: director, i go down, independent filmmaker, music video, paul bourgeois, revenge
Paul Bourgeois

Find a producer. The producer will find a director. You will have a meeting with them both and you will mumble something about what you feel about your songs and these guys will start talking really fast. They will get busy making lists, and one day you will be called to a strange location to lip sync and air guitar a prerecorded song a bunch of times and everybody will have a big lunch…

REALITY CHECK! My reality, not necessarily yours. Drop the producer, director, dop and editor, because you are going to be doing everything yourself. But keep the catering, because your friends are going to need food, especially if they are not getting paid.

We are making a music video right now and we’ve picked the song Revenge. It’s simple, fast moving, with solid guitar, nice harmonica fills and harsh vocals. The story is going to allow for some powerful images. I am running the process past you guys, because this is going to take a lot of planning and time. And I think the whole thing is really cool, and I want to share it with you guys.

I’ve gone into my video guy mode. Video guy is a low budget word for independent filmmaker, which is a low budget word for director. Strangely, and perhaps sadly, the more low budget you are the more skills you need. My theory goes that the more money and people you pump into something the more room you make for idiots. That is why sometimes the low budget projects are better made.


Have an equipment list, even if it’s just you and one camera. I remember on one shoot I acquired a dynamic microphone from a certain organization, which I have never returned. Of course, they have an identical one of mine. That was the mix-up, you see. And they have the better deal, because mine still had the fluffy bit that goes on the end. But I didn’t never get no phone calls from no-one, man. I miss that fluffy bit.

Eric and I have met in a local community center the last two weekends. The place was chosen because it had a lot of space, some interesting stuff scattered about and most importantly, lots of light! Light is important when filming, otherwise stuff just comes out blurry and grainy and dim and you can just forget about all your work. The first day we brought a friend, Andy, who had fun and added ambiance. He moved chairs and stood in for me so I could get focus. We had a shot list and everything, man. We air-played and lip-synced to our own song from several different angles. And remember that nothing has to be perfect, and it never will be. The performer will miss words, drop sync and generally mess about. Let them do what they want and fix stuff up in the editing. You will be asking a lot from them, eh, and this is their music, after all.


So I’m behind the camera screaming obscenities at Eric to throw him off his game while he’s trying to look really serious. Andy is screaming and applauding. None of the sound will come out in the video because we are using a pre-recorded track. But it might come out in Eric’s face. I’m looking for that surprising moment of genuine emotion, that shot you can’t plan, because that one instant, inserted in a well constructed work, can make it. I can’t explain it. I can only know it when it happens in the editing process.

I Go Down

Plan is good, but you don’t have to follow it. But it is essential to have one. And then again, not. When I filmed I Go Down, a music video which has been in six festivals including one at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art I just followed David Andrews around for a couple hours, filmed him having coffee with his fans and then we went back to his place and I filmed a couple angles of the song, one from his bed and one from his studio.

The shooting of Revenge might go on for a bit yet, and this is just the first part. It has to do with conflict and some really negative human emotion. I think, as well as some band shots, we need some sort of narrative. This is Finland and winter is coming. I think a snowball fight might be fun. That means we have to wait for snow, and the director (who is me) has instructed me to keep the beard and long hair, which has a definite Charles Manson feel to it.


It is hard being director, camera man, and performer. I sometimes I think it might be really cool to have people tell me where to stand one day and then have a ready-made video pop out of the easy bake. But that’s not where I am at. I have a basic camera and a computer and me, and that’s it. And I suspect that’s where a lot of small bands and solo artists are, too. Everyone has pizzas at the end of the day.

And guess what. Filming is the fun, quick and easy part. Soon I begin animating and editing. I think some animation interspersed throughout and on the live video would excite things. Locked in a little room, alone, with my computer. No pizzas out with the boys then.

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