Everyone is capable of making a music video. That was one of the take-away messages when music video directors Evan Morgan and Jared Raab spent an hour answering prepared, thoughtful questions from three Grade 10 English classes at Virtual Branksome on May 14.
English teacher Owen Williams, who coordinated the session, ensured the students were familiar with the directors’ work in advance.
“It's always interesting seeing a music video,” says participant Amonda, “but when you hear about the choice of setting, the initial ideas of the director, and the portrayal of the artists, it gives you a whole new perspective on the music video and the creation of it.”
Fascinating insights and industry anecdotes were shared. In service of his vision, Morgan talked about putting out a call on Facebook to scout the “treehouse of his childhood dreams” in Toronto. Ultimately rejecting all suggested locations, he created a satisfactory, idealized, digital one for the video.
The students had worked to create storyboards as part of curriculum already, but they asked many questions about the myriad artistic decisions a video director must make.
One of Evan Morgan’s videos is "The Garden" by the band July Talk, in which a child chases a dog, who then chases him, exploring the symbolism of how something you chase can end up chasing you.
This video was a springboard for discussion about certain artistic decisions. Must the band members be featured? Raab mentioned the example of Radiohead videos, in which lead singer Thom York is sometimes featured, while in others the videos are concept-driven. It depends on the band’s label’s requirements, whether the band is great live, and the band’s self-image.
How far can you depart from the material and do the directors prefer being served a concept to work with? Both directors agreed free rein is best and that it’s always a compromise to work with someone else’s vision. “Generally, it never turns out as either of us imagine,” says Raab.
The directors wrapped up with a shout-out to two video directors who made the leap to film, notably Michel Gondry who went on to make the classic film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
“[One of the key takeaways] from Evan is to keep a catalogue to bank your moments, inspirations, ideas and feelings,” says participant Vita, who also made the point that it’s clear visualization can be applied to various subjects.
It was an hour of inspiration for all. Says Amonda, “Jared Raab [conveyed that] anyone with a vision of a song can create a music video; you just need to bring it to life and capture the artists' intent.”