Music videos sit in an unusual place within both the music and film industries. Not quite here, and not quite there. But Sam Bright is doing everything he can to change the common perception of what goes into making a successful career in the music video business. Sam Bright is the director of CLIPPED Music Video Festival, a unique event designed to celebrate all that is put into creating your band’s favourite film clip.
CLIPPED Music Video Festival, now in its third year at its new home of Carriageworks, is a unique event that showcases the art of the music video and celebrates the incredible developments and adaptation to the modern music and film industry landscape.
It features high-caliber work through interactive exhibitions, competitions, premiers, live performances, VJS, screenings and VR explorations. Discussion panels with a diverse line-up of local and international guest speakers will also be featured, including Jesse Kanda, Sarah Blasko and representatives from MTV, ABC Rage, and MusicSA. The festival is returning to Vivid Sydney on June 2nd for a one-day celebration. For more information and to buy tickets, head to clippedfestival.com
Sam Bright is here to give us an insider look at video clips as an industry and divulge into the avenues that make a profit and a career.
What does the Music Video business look like in Australia?
Historically larger Australian television, advertising or film production companies were heavily involved in music videos. Now the work is predominantly handled by freelancers or independent collectives. While the art-form still remains unquestionably a great medium for emerging filmmakers to experiment and develop their skills, limited budgets still make it difficult for larger businesses with overheads to justify the investment.
Ultimately, it’s all relative to the profile of the artist, which dictates the marketing budget. That’s why you’ll see fewer ambitious or large-scale productions down under. Instead, direct dealings between directors, musicians and labels are activated on a regular basis. This model is still quite different to the International scene at present, where there are still enough juggernaut acts who can still command large video budgets, reminiscent but not quite equivalent to the glory years.
How does one make a living off creating music videos?
Both in Australia and worldwide this is virtually impossible without a secondary source of income. Typically even the most contemporary music video visionaries also work across features or commercials, anything to make ends meet. I believe in the future this is on course to change once again.
Are there any government or industry bodies that support young creatives?
There are a number of fantastic sources of support in Australia for young creatives. However, very few identify their ethos or a sense of responsibility in fostering support for music videos and their creators. In regards to funding the production process, with the recent closure of Canada’s MUCTFACT and other than New Zealand’s fantastic NZONAIR, International clips remain on the periphery.
Mirrored by the challenge we face funding the festival itself and despite the obvious growth in the necessity to create visual content to build artist profiles, an opportunity exists to share in mutual success by supporting music videos in Australia. There is actually so much inspiring and groundbreaking work being produced by young creatives on a daily basis, a lot which goes virtually unseen. With that said, MusicSA are definitely leading the way with initiatives in the field such as CLIP IT, spearheaded by Lisa Bishop – who will be speaking at CLIPPED 2018.
What ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ would you give 20-year-old self about this career?
While most people warn themselves of a lack of financial reward, I very well knew this would be the case from the get-go. Therefore, I’d probably just reinforce the idea to follow one’s instincts, not compromise and stay true to your beliefs, whether it be for creating events, art, music or films.
What does collaboration look like in the Music Video business?
The future is very collaborative as the internet continues to bring artists together from all over the world to form working relationships. Even many brands seem enthusiastic to work alongside contemporary artists on engaging visual content. While this is great for bringing revenue in towards their art, I do see it pose continual questions around integrity, tastefulness and interests as the line between ‘content’ and ‘art’ is extremely blurred.
Can you explain to a young artist what their money goes into when they invest in a
To a young artist, a video can seem expensive, and rightly so as it could very well cost more than the production of an entire album. The reason being that the film industry prices, in terms of rates and hire, are more geared towards the advertising industry. With that said I would always encourage artists to focus on quality rather than quantity by doing fewer videos but making them more interesting or dynamic! By investing in the right type of director who can bring in a talented crew to get great results on the cheapest budget possible, you have a better chance of making an impact with your music in the long run.
With the rise in accessible technology, what is the difference between “professional” and “amateur” music videos?
While the difference may seem nebulous to an untrained eye it could be argued that the answer to this sits somewhere between the intention or concept and level of execution, with production quality possibly a secondary. Generally, people will associate “professional” videos with more expensive equipment, which is understandable.
Referring to the last question, can anyone ever tell?
While I would like to say not really, with the saturation of visual content on everyday devices, even the average person is becoming far more perceptive than ever before. For example, on the obsession with social media, most people are essentially becoming auteurs of their own life.
How does CLIPPED plan to change the common perception of the Music Video Industry?
Through raising the profile of filmmakers and rightly increasing their perceived value by encouraging dialogue between the music and film sectors. Many of the world’s greatest filmmakers began or still create music videos, justifying to the film, music and arts bodies that this is a valid art-form which deserves industry respect. Creating a clip takes a lot of work both on-set and in the post-production process, so fundamentally if we can keep enough music video creators in the game the quality of work will increase, ultimately benefiting everyone.
What is CLIPPED doing to secure the future of this industry in Australia?
By continually incentivising the creation of quality work through online promotional mechanisms, and events with recognition, awards, prizes, networking and learning opportunities. We hope to change the landscape by ultimately encouraging proliferation and building communities. CLIPPED is continually seeking ways to spotlight the industry and reinforce how special of an art-form it is.