Story-Time: Making a Music Video

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I told you I was going to do this…


The Original Idea

Back in sixth form, I was in a Media class, and we had the task of making a music video. I was in a group with four other people, and one of the guys, Josh, wanted to do a funny take on drag queens with his idea for a Cher music video to Strong Enough. His idea was great – he wanted Tony, one of our other team members, to dress up in drag, but one of those genderfuck drag queens where they have body and facial hair, but still looking amazing at the same time. He was inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race, which had started to air in the UK, and that’s how I started watching it, actually. Myself and Josh were going to be back-up dancers in this video.

I storyboarded some solo segments where Tony would be lip-syncing to the camera in front of a glittering back-drop. I admit the whole idea was very camp, but it was amazing.

We actually did do a dance practice, but then Josh left the college entirely. But we had moves inspired by The Pussycat Dolls and some cheerleading routines seen in One Tree Hill, as well as the tour iteration of the Strong Enough routine. Basically, we were going to pack a lot into this routine for us.


The New Idea

The Cher video couldn’t progress without Josh’s input and know-how. After all, he took the project book home with him before he left. So it fell onto us to pick something else.

This led to Kirsty, another member, to take the ropes. Initially, she wanted to have a music video with a song that was in the UK Top 40 at the time (she wanted something that everyone has heard of), but we just kept noping out of them. Then she turned to my music tastes, which were generally not UK Top 40 at the time. And so we settled on a choice of two songs – Magick by Klaxons, Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis, and Kids by MGMT (so definitely not UK Top 40). And then she decided on Magick without the input from the rest of us…

We had a lot of ideas that we had down, and had all but planned everything except storyboarding, which we would piece together in editing. One idea would have been me swinging from playground fences to the music, which I wish we would have actually worked with.

Then Kirsty dropped out and took the second project book with her. This meant that we didn’t have time to fill out another project book, and we ended up being awarded a grade for our paperwork based on the evidence that we’d actually done some work.


The Main Ideas

The main concepts we had for the music video was really trippy, and drugs-based, and set in really run-down areas. When Kirsty left, we had to enlist the help of a guy called Rob, who was helping out some of the other groups as well, but got really hands-on with ours because of the hiccups we had along the way. In that aspect, we both ended up leading the project. As it was, my time was limited to also filming for The Reject Group, but we made it work.

Rob actually came up with the idea for Tony being a ghost that visits his unknowing friends and girlfriend. I played the role of the girlfriend, while Rob played the guy that killed Tony. Luckily, there were a few rougher areas in the nearby vicinity, and we ended up getting the lip-sync inserts from Tony behind a graffitied electrical box quite early on, so we had some footage down.

Most of the filming took the afternoon to do, as we didn’t have to worry a lot about messing up lines. Fun fact: the building that’s in the background in the first shot has since been redecorated and stuff, and I live in there now!

Oh, and I edited the lot, even in my free time!

Here is the result:


The DVD

We had to make a DVD each in the end, for the projcet itself. My very trippy menu screen was partly inspired by Radiohead’s cover for Radiohead’s The Best Of album with the silhouettes, along with the trippy feel of the music video as well.

I also worked on and filmed a couple of different bonus features, such as a discussion of the making of, as well as a Q&A of myself and Tony. I also inserted The Reject Group onto the DVD as a hidden feature. Should have edited the group discussion a bit better, but never mind. I think that was the fault of iMovie. But I wanted The Reject Group on the DVD to showcase the other project that I was working on in conjunction.

I also made a video trailer, using the instrumental version of Floods by Fightstar.


What Would I Improve?

To be completely honest, I wouldn’t mind working on this again in the future. I have editing software, and I have the time. With the footage I had, I couldn’t have edited it differently if I tried. However, I would work on getting more footage to be able to put together a cohesive story.

I would definitely storyboard though, so that there’s some structure. I’d also have a lot more footage to work with, and try and work in some extra ideas that I had conjured up.

Out of the original group of five, only three of us actually did anything – Josh left us in the lurch and we had to start from scratch (in November), and another guy whose name I cannot remember actually didn’t do anything. He wasn’t there for any of the shoots, didn’t contribute to anything, yet still coasted by based on what Kristy created and myself and Tony (and Rob) pushed to accomplish.


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