Sunday, April 08, 2012
VIDEO KILLED THE VIDEO STAR
When it came to girls, I was never the most popular kid.
A lot of other guys had charm and charisma. I had a quirky sense of humour and 20 extra kilograms.
Sure, give me enough time to chat to a girl and I could make her laugh, but the funny fat kid doesn't get much in the way of valentines cards.
Skip forward to my early twenties, and I had lost 27 kilograms. I had also scraped together enough for a new wardrobe. The things we do for love. Even brief, morally ambiguous love.
The realisation that took years to come to me, was that overcompensating is a band aid. If the situation requires you to become an extreme version of yourself, it is probably time to ask why you want to be there in the first place.
The famous Groucho Marx quote says it best: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member."
Somebody needs to give this same lesson to the filmmakers making music videos.
Making music videos has almost become an extreme sport, as the filmmakers involved have to work harder and harder just to get attention.
You may remember the 'golden age' of music videos, somewhere in the 80s and 90s, where every band HAD to have a great music video. And people actually WATCHED music videos, ad nauseum, via dedicated music video TV channels, like MTV, Channel V and Rage.
Not any more.
The channels still exist. But the viewers are dwindling. MTV programmes mostly reality TV shows now; dreadful stuff like 'Jersey Shore'.
And for the filmmakers still making music videos, they are having to go to EXTREME lengths to get anyone to pay attention.
The best example is OK GO's latest music video. You have to see it to believe it.
They use a car, driving on a specially constructed course, to play their song by bashing on instruments, at speed, placed along the course. Not just a few instruments either: xylophones, 280 guitars, pipes, pianos, and the list goes on.
But that wasn't their first extreme effort. Their previous video was an outdoor, choreographed stop motion performance over 24 hours.
And before that, an amazing giant machine, running like cascading dominoes over two floors of a warehouse.
And before that the choreographed, one-take, multiple treadmill dance that took them 27 takes to get right.
These were all very impressive efforts.
But where does it end?
Do they stop at one point and say, "OK guys, maybe we shouldn't fire the rocket, shaped like a unicorn, into the sun?"
Once upon a time, a good music video could help launch a filmmakers career, like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonz or Brett Ratner.
But those days are pretty much over. There is no future in music videos anymore.
If you have to fight this hard just to get attention, you should stop and ask yourself if you want to be in this club.
Instead, use your creative talent where you'll be appreciated and where your good work will be recognised.
Even I got the girl in the end.
I just had to change clubs.
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