There's a similarity between movies and most music videos, and that's the ability to tell a story. Some music videos don't rely on that since they either show the band playing in an old house or a live concert, but the videos that have story lines can show an amazing story or a very weird one.
When I did the Night to Day and Vengeance music videos, I remember talking with the band about the plot and everyone had an input for Vengeance. I talked about Night to Day with the singer and he told me he had a very specific vision for that song. In the end, I tried to stay true to what Brandon had envisioned for Night to Day since that would be basically turning a vision into a reality. Those 2 videos are among my favorite videos ever.
My love for storytelling didn't start there though. Obviously it started with movies. When I started watching music videos, I started seeing the same quality of story telling in the videos.
One of the most prominent story I've seen in a music video is R. Kelly's Down Low. In 1995, I was just a kid in elementary and shouldn't have been allowed to watch videos like that, but having an older brother and sister who listened to this stuff, it was inevitable for me to see this. Even as a child, I knew that the story was an amazing one to see unfold and how the music tells the story on it's own without the video.
Another video with an amazing story actually deals with a couple of stories. TLC's Waterfall was the first No. 1 song that talks about the AIDS epidemic in the 90's. It would have been interesting to see the two stories in these videos elaborated more than they were, but the gist of the story is there and that's all that you need to see to get the story across.
Another prominent video from that era is related to the AIDS epidemic in the 90's. When Bone Thugs N Harmony came out, their first single, Crossroads, it not only showed how death can take anyone at anytime, but it was also a tribute to the late Eric Wright (AKA Eazy E). He had recently passed away due to AIDS. It's not just a doom and gloom type video, it also serves as a reminder that we will see those who have passed again.
As you can see, you can deliver so many types of messages to people though music and music videos. Music video directors deserve more credit than they get because they can do just as much as most directors do with a full feature film. Granted, they have Hollywood budget and at least a 90 minute window to tell their story, but you have to be a special kind of story teller to be able to tell that kind of story in 10 minutes or less. Next time you listen to a song, imagine what they're trying to tell you. Next time you watch a music video, pay attention to what's going on. It may change your life.
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