Self-Education | Music Videos
How to Make a Music Video (When You've Never Done it Before!)
What Makes a Music Video Great?
A great music video is a reflection of something that matters to the artist.
Think about the last music video you saw that left an impression on you. Or think about the videos you used to see on MTV and VH1 as a kid that made you want to be an artist. I’d argue that the good ones, the ones that really mattered, are the ones that make us feel like we’re getting a glimpse into the truth behind the artist. It’s almost like they are showing us a secret part of themselves. Some music videos aren’t like that at all. Some are fun, or weird, or cool. And maybe those stick with you, too, if the aesthetic just really speaks to you. But my favorite music videos are the ones that tell a story; a story that exists alongside the song itself but is not exactly same as the song. Like a melody and a rhythm. Like when it’s sunny outside but raining at the same time. The music video and the song are two things that exist together to tell us something about the songwriter. If you want to learn how to make a music video, first start with thinking about what it is you love about music videos.
Get to Know the Artist
Kyle Anne writes music that feels like a true story.
Earlier this year, Kyle Anne asked me to create a music video for a song from her debut album “Eulogy.” I panicked. I’d never create a music video before, not really. I had tinkered in the videography world and created a lip sync video for The Electric Mud as a surprise for the boys finishing their first national tour. But I’d never created something with a story. The good news was: Kyle Anne had never made a music video before either! So we were determined to learn together.
Luckily, I’ve know Kyle Anne for years. She and I met back in 2015 when we collaborated on a promotional photoshoot for Love Your Rebellion. We’ve worked together on live performance photos before and I even got to capture her opening up for the Eli Young Band, which was such an unexpected honor. I asked her once why she decided to keep working with me after that first shoot and she said:
“Even though we had just met that day, I felt so comfortable with you, and I was impressed with your creative energy…After seeing how awesome those photos turned out, I knew I wanted to work with you on future projects. I’ve hired you several times since then, and I’ve been 100% satisfied with all the beautiful photos you’re provided.”
We even collaborated on the creation of the images used on the cover of her “Eulogy” album! So when it came time to figure out how to make a music video for “Love Bug Season” I felt like we’d built enough trust to try something new together. She sent me the track and as I listened to “Love Bug Season” for the first time then I started to brainstorm ideas of imagery that would compliment that song. I asked her “How would you like this song to look?”
Her first thought was to use her daughter, Elliot, in a simple, minimalistic way. We kicked around some ideas and eventually I turned to my friend Spencer at Dandy House for some guidance.