by Michael Chasin
Screenwriting Mentor, IAFT/Miami
Music videos first emerged in the late 1970’s as a promotional tool for songs and artists.
Since then, they have taken many forms including:
– Capturing live performances
– Recording lip-synch performances
– Behind-the-scenes looks
– Dramatic interpretations of songs with actors and story arcs
– Special effects imagery
– All of the above – often times in one single video
The look of music videos have ranged from slick and highly produced (with big budgets and A-list directors) to purposefully grainy, raw, and out-of-focus—with the look always consistent with the brand of the artist.
Whatever the form, or look, and despite its continuing marketing purpose, a good music video should be—good filmmaking.
And as in good filmmaking, a good music video should emotionally engage the viewer—with visuals alone.
Good visuals that capture the emotional essence of the artist/group—regardless of the specific song.
Good visuals that convey the emotions of the song—without needing to hear the song.
If the visuals can’t stand alone…then they’ve added no value to the music.
Strong visuals, when combined with a great song, will create an emotionally engaging call to action for the viewer—to purchase music—or to attend a live performance—which is the purpose of the video.
So a great music video—is a music-less video.
Enjoy one soon, without the music.