Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Track Selection - some guidelines

[we've had an initial discussion about this; you can find further points below. you're welcome to run any early ideas past me during june/july. this post, mainly intended for building up to the main pitch of coursework proposals, also contains some info about the pitches you'll do in Sept - DB, June 15th 2012]

There's a lot of points here; make sure you've read through ALL and checked your idea/track choice against these
You can change your track/idea even after forming a group - you'll have to re-pitch though.
Look for an additional, separate post on what to think about for the pitch itself.
  • Your track, and the accompanying idea, has to be something that excites you and will sustain your interest over a long, in-depth production.
  • That includes the research you'll have to undertake into the genre and the band.
  • Length is an issue: every 30 secs represents approx 20 shots
  • Its nearly always a better idea to combine TWO of GOODWIN'S 3 types: pure performance will drag, while concept/narrative, essentially short films, probably won't bear repeat viewing which is what music vids are intended for. Being able to crosscut between performance and concept or narrative should help make the vid entertaining throughout, and help you avoid too much repetition (there may be good cause to have some repetition)
  • The middle ground is to incorporate performers into the diegetic world of your concept/narrative vid, often for comic effect (or featured as an actual band in a small venue, street busking etc)
  • Think through what practical challenges your idea throws up: locations, cast (including performers willing/able to dance, wear particular clothing etc as required), mise-en-scene (espec costume, but also any period features if not entirely set in 2011) etc, etc - and simply the time it will take to shoot
  • Generally, you're thinking of a typical youth (15-24+) core target audience, who wouldn't have been exposed to the music on first release (or you're adding to the existing brand image of a contemporary act with a youth, perhaps including younger, audience)
  • BUT, you could go the other way and think about a mature (35-44+) audience. YouTube, iTunes, Facebook etc may be predominantly used by young people, but each is also commonly used by more mature audiences too.
  • Whichever: explain + justify why you think your idea is appropriate for your defined audience
  • They always say never work with small children or animals ... but ... look at Notorious BIG's Sky's the Limit vid (explicit lyrics). If you think you can identify young actors, taking an idea like this, where kids play adult roles, can render a simple idea very effective (also works the other way round: adults playing kids). For some concept/narrative ideas, showing characters at different ages can be an effective idea. Just be aware that parental permission/s are required
  • It CAN be copyrighted material - you are being assessed on your ability to create a video, not a song!
  • The proviso for this is that you can evidence an attempt to contact the band and/or record label/publisher to ask permission for your use of the track. You have to provide evidence of doing this on your blog
  • It CAN'T be a track which was released as a single, and already has a music vid, from the last ten years (any earlier than that and you're fine)
  • Do search YouTube to see what other versions/vids have been uploaded (this will be a key blog task)
  • You must avoid any explicit language or explicit sexual content - we also have to think about the secondary audience for your texts: the school, younger students, etc. Pop/rock/dance are all suffused with sexual imagery and allusions - just avoid anything too explicit.
  • Make sure you can access a high quality MP3;
  • If you're thinking about a local band, remember the audio track must be of broadcast quality (studio recorded and produced)
  • There is a quality threshold for your pitch: if its not a convincing effort you may be told to work by yourself, which would not be advantageous.

PRIOR TO PITCH, POST A SUMMARY OF YOUR IDEA + THINKING BEHIND THE TRACK: a minimum 3 detailed paragraphs as below
Here's an example of a very brief, ah, briefing I put together very quickly for a hypothetical project. I haven't detailed the idea (you must though), but provided an accessible summary of the band/track/genre.
Even though I did this in just a few mins, note that I made sure there were various hyperlinks embedded to enable anyone to find out more than I've written in my one-para summary! I also found useful links to enable anyone who gets Dread Zeppelin, my submitted track, to view a range of vidz from within their genre, and provided clear sub-headings and relevant imagery.

TRACK: DREAD ZEPPELIN: "Heartbreaker (At The End Of Lonely Street)" (1990)
I've cheated a little here as this was a single (in 1990!), but then I doubt very much you'd be familiar with it!!!
ARTIST/TRACK: A novelty band that featured an Elvis style lead singer, Tortelvis, and a weird fusion of Led Zeppelin, reggae and Elvis music... The band, without the 300-pound Elvis impersonator, had been about for many years before they had a surprise hit with the album Un-Led-Ed in 1990. You can find lyrics here. Useful wiki here. Band website. Facebook page. Blogger blog! rundown. Their live appearances are often at rock/metal festivals. As noted below, despite the wide and contrasting mix of musical influences, and the comedy aspect, they are generally seen as a heavy metal band with crossover pop appeal. You can see dreadlocked reggae fans in some of their videos though; like bands such as Faith No More and Living Color (both fused funk and metal) they helped popularise metal within the black American audience.
Uh huh huh, thankyou very much
GENRE/VIDEO CONVENTIONS: There may be a weird, eclectic range of music genres that makes up their quite distinctive sound, but the band is ultimately guitar-led with loud crashing drums and prominent bass ... A novelty act maybe, but it is the heavy metal crowd who took to the band and provided the bulk of their fanbase, and so its heavy metal-with-a-wink we have to think of here; heavy metal with an ironic, postmodern edge. That means heavy focus on the singer, close ups of guitar fretboards, long hair and headbanging (often the fans), typically low budgets, can be low key lighting, freedom to produce quite daft concepts, teen males the key audience - fans often feature in vids, often macho, male gaze evident (any females seen typically scantily clad), performance often features as the 'musicality' + ability to play live of the band is key to the image or credibility, clothing codes can vary from black leather and metal studs to ripped jeans and t-shirts to virtual drag ... this is a well-established genre with many, many sub-genres! For examples see,
This was a press pack video on the band:

This is an example of another DZep vid...

Its evident that humour is key to what their fans expect, and although I am free to rebrand, would be a key consideration in my idea.
[I'm not writing this one up, but you will!]

(You can if wish view the video for the Dread Zep tune here)

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