Posted by John on October 6, 2010
Aloha… Halloween is near and our October clinic arrives none too late… Snehal Patel blew our collective minds here at Horse-Drawn Productions with his seminar discussing tips, techniques and best procedures for musicians to make their own music videos. He had an impressive collection of video works which have been showcasing at film festivals all over the world. Although it felt as if Snehal were a king throwing gold coins at beggars and swine, I tried to absorb as much of his vast wealth of knowledge as my feeble mind possibly could in two plus hours… but thankfully, Snehal was always very forthcoming and clear about the pertinent details for every topic… I will attempt to lay them out as I understand them… So here they are…
#1- Storyline!!! – THE GOLDEN RULE! Tell A Story!
Without a story, your art is trash… or just art for art’s sake which is alright but a good story goes a long way and may be around forever. And one can never discount the fact that a Great Story can change your world… change your mind… change your life… hell… take a look at the “King James” Bible or the Qu’ran … Now there are some music videos just waiting to happen…
#2 – GET HELP! Don’t Be afraid to work with those that are better than you
Find the people who are shooting music videos in your area… some of them very well may be your friends or family… GET THEM INVOLVED!… Find people in the field you know and love and say, hey, “I want to work with you, no matter what it takes!” and get it done! People want to help out, people want to make cool stuff so do your best to bring them together! Go to art schools, music schools, film schools and find students. THEY WILL WORK FOR FREE… They are hungry for projects, probably have access to some decent or even high-quality gear and just want to learn and do great things. Just make sure you check your “help’s” work as you don’t want to be stuck on set with a cinematographer who doesn’t know a lens from a lozenge and then you have to figure out how to work the camera yourself and you both look like runny eggs and burnt toast. You can always find professionals on www.mandy.com or www.entertainmentcareers.com.
#3 Plan Ahead
-MAKE A BUDGET – Food, rentals, labor, etc… Remember that when it comes to rentals, most places count the weekend as one day so you can really squeeze a lot out of a weekend with your rented gear.
If you can shoot for free, guerrilla style, DO IT but we aren’t recommending or condoning any unlawful or degenerate activity. I wouldn’t hesitate to throw a scumbag out of my store for trying to film illegitimately so please… ask permission… or don’t get caught!
Better Planning Yields a Better Product – The more you do in pre-production, the more time and headaches you will save yourself while shooting and editing… so plan your shots and storyboards far ahead of time. Know exactly what your vision is, well in advance, so that when you get to the shot the light is right, the make up is good and the talent is fresh and feeling inspired. At which point, all you have to say is, “Action!” and nail the shot.
Make sure your days get done. Make a plan and do your best to stick to it but don’t rush and definitely don’t sweat the small things. Have plenty of help with you so that you don’t get yourself bogged down with details. Don’t be detracted! Use others to the best of their abilities. Help them to help you to help them. AYUDAME!!!
Make your first shot Quick and Easy. That way, it jump starts your shoot. Your people feel as if they’ve gotten something done and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you try to tackle a tough shot first thing in the morning and it turns out to be a real hack and slash job, imagine how damaged and post-traumatic your crew and talent will be by midnight… Throw yourself and everybody else a bone and make the first shot of the day a “ringer.”
#4 Think Big, Start Small!
One Minute of Music = One Day of Shooting – Keep it simple. Be realistic and give yourself time to get it right. Enjoy the journey and all of the lessons that come with it. On your first few videos don’t overdo it. Make framing and focus the goals and let the story tell itself. Don’t try to rely on fancy effects, use cuts to create a smooth storyline.
Sound – All you need is a boom box for playback but there are many options you can use for recording. A hand held Zoom recorder can be very handy but the camera mic can do the trick in a pinch since you will be using the studio quality recording for audio anyways.
Editing – Editing is, by far, the longest process for making any kind of video. Getting through edit, approval, coloring, FX, flow, titles and music can take weeks so give your editor time to get things done. Never rush because good art takes time. Also be available and present to help out. Stay on top of the project but don’t smother your assistance… Be there to help not hinder.
#5 The Final Cut
When you finally finish your video it is important to get it out there to develop a fan base or community of people to watch it. There are 2 primary websites which you can post to so that the World Wide Web can view your art. The first is Vimeo.com, and they are more selective about the videos they post and the second is Youtube.com. Make sure you give credit to EVERYBODY involved and embed the text into your video. The more text you include, the more gratuitous your Search Engine Optimization will be. That means that the more names you drop in the credits, the more easily your video will be found on Google or other search engines. Upload consistently. Keep those fresh works of art coming and people will keep coming back to your work and want to see more. Also, submit your works to music video festivals. That way you can be sure that the people who are watching music videos see your work and know about you.
#6 NEVER STOP CREATING!!!
Always be thinking of new and innovative projects and try to stay a few steps ahead of everybody else. Never lose sight of the most important step either, #1… The storyline.
I would like to personally thank Snehal for sharing some of his oceanic hoard of enlightening and helpful information. He truly is a King among beggars and swine. You can follow up with him and learn more about what he does at www.fearlessproductions.tv.
Next month’s clinic will be a GENERAL MUSIC clinic featuring Robert Coates and Eric Yoder. Afterward we will be hosting an open jam so bring your instruments, bring your friends and byob.
That’s it for me… Time to start working on my own colossal backlog of videos… Among all of the motivating lessons that Snehal left me with, having a DEADLINE is one of the most important ones for me… That and
THINK BIG, START SMALL
I had a great time hanging out with my buddy Eric and his crew while I was in Chicago recently. He had asked me to speak at one of his music studio's clinics about how to go about making a video. Jackson put together this great blog about the workshop.