Music video director research


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Music video director research

  2. 2. • Spike Jonze is an American director and producer, whose work includes music videos, commercials, film and television. • Spike's music videos range from 1992-2010 with a wide scope of artists and bands such as Bjork, The Beastie Boys, Tenacious D and Fat Boy Slim. • His first music video was “High in High School” by Chainsaw Kittens and his latest video was “Drunk Girls” by LCD Soundsystem. INTRODUCTION “High in High School” “Drunk Girls”
  3. 3. SPIKE’S STYLE As a well known music video director, Spike Jonze has made plenty of videos for comparison hence it is easier to see his style, from watching his music videos I have come to the conclusion that his style consists of the following things which I will establish more in later slides: • Most of his videos do not use live performance but have a narrative theme, some also use intertextual references. • His music videos give some songs meaning, and in some cases give an ‘OK’ song a fantastic video which helps to promote the band. • His videos are also stylistically unusual (No meta-narrative – doesn’t conform with genre.), but not as unusual as Chris Cunningham's Videos. They also use the postmodern terms Bricolage & Parody/Pastiche.
  4. 4. SPIKE’S STYLE – NARRATIVE THEME & VISUAL STYLE Most of his videos do not use live performance but have a narrative theme • His first video (#1) “High in High School” does show a live performance in front of an audience but it does also contain small narrative parts shown in (#2). Although the narrative parts aren't massive or necessarily show any form of story, they outline two of Spike’s themes which is his use of urban landscapes and narrative. Mostly all of his videos do not contain rural landscapes, this could suggest that Spike Jonze favours more underground music than mainstream. This is enforced by (#3) which shows a similar shot but in the Beastie Boys “Sabotage.” • Back to the narrative/performance theme; most of his videos do have this theme, (#4) “Elektrobank” by the Chemical Brothers is about a high school gymnast competition, the video starts with a 1min:30secs clip of a small back story where we follow a girl preparing for the competition, immediately we empathise with her as she is the first character shown (a key theme in stories/plots). Adding to the urban feeling of his videos, this one seems slightly grey and based in a high school, showing more of his visual style. Some of his videos do not actually contain the band/artist and most do not contain close ups either, this could show that Spike Jonze is an exceptional director meaning that he works with big bands that already have recognition amongst viewers. • “Da funk” by Daft Punk (#5) also uses a narrative theme in the video, the story follows a human/dog and his encounters with different people. Again he is introduced as one of the first characters and in shot throughout the video; we immediately empathise with him, again linking to the narrative theme and enforcing one of Spike’s visual styles. Also within this video is the use of urban landscape, this shot shows a wooden structure and a poster covered wall, it is clear to see that this place is within a city; this allows the viewer to sympathise with the character as they are likely to understand that big cities are daunting. This is shown throughout the sequence as the main character has lived there for only a month and he is segregated from other people; an example of this would be when he is asked to take a survey, the woman says that he hasn’t lived there long enough and cannot participate in the survey. #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
  5. 5. Spike’s use of intertextual references • Another one of Spike Jonze’s styles is his use of intertextual references. In “Weapon of Choice” by Fat Boy Slim (#1), we can see from this shot that it uses a reference from the first Matrix film (made a year before the video), the reference is the famous levitating kick from the first scene. • Another use of intertextual reference is in “Sabotage” (#2), this video uses 80s cop shows as a major point of reference. This shot is similar to most opening credit sequences used in 80s cop shows and uses parody which I will talk about in a later slide. SPIKE’S STYLE – NARRATIVE THEME #1 #2
  6. 6. His music videos give some songs meaning, and in some cases give an ‘OK’ song a fantastic video which helps to promote the band • “Da funk” (#1) is a fairly plain dance track, but Spike Jonze has given it meaning by making this music video. The song on it’s own does not really create an image in the listener’s head compared to a song that uses lyrics. Spike uses this video to create meaning for the viewer, throughout most of it he uses dialogue so the viewer can fully understand the story of the main character. The unique selling point of this music video is the use of the human/dog character, we remember this because it is not often used in music videos, allowing us to familiarise ourselves with the song. A good music video like this also helps to promote the band as viewers are more likely to remember it and promote it via word of mouth. This videos heavy use of narrative actually makes it seem like a short film, which could help to promote Spike Jonze more than the band/artist. • “Elektrobank” (#2) is very similar, the track is better than “Da Funk” but it still doesn’t give an image to accompany the song on its own. Again the video allows us to give the song meaning and remember it for being a good video. This music video is fantastic as the music matches the editing very well and isn’t so much of a short film; especially at 4:38 (shown in shot) where it goes into slow-motion, the tension rises as we want her to win. This helps to add meaning and makes it more memorable than songs that use conventional footage. SPIKE’S STYLE – STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE #1 #2
  7. 7. His videos are stylistically unusual and use the postmodern terms Bricolage & Parody/Pastiche • “Drop” by the Pharcyde (#1) is stylistically unusual compared to other hip-hop music videos. The video itself appears to be going forwards, but in fact it is backwards. The video is very well planned as the lip-syncing seems flawless but their actions seem to be in reverse giving a really good effect. This shows a rejection of meta-narrative which means it does not follow a normal pattern, it also does not conform with the genre. In hip-hop videos we generally see black men as being pimps/players surrounded by women, but this video has its own style showing that Spike Jonze’s videos are postmodern and have their own conventions. • Again in “Flashing Lights” by Kanye West (#2) we see a similar occurrence. The video also doesn’t conform with the hip-hop genre, although the women shown in it is half naked she is not objectified. In fact she is in control of the situation much like the femme fatale of film noir. After she burns her coat, we discover there is a man in the boot of her car (#3) whom she kills. This shows that Spike Jonze does not conform with the conventions of the genre. • He also uses parody in some of his videos (Parody is an imitation of creative work that is satirical or humorous.) In “Sabotage” the video is clearly a reference to 80s cop shows (as stated earlier), this video is a good example of parody as it imitates 80s cop shows humorously; this is done by the ridiculous wigs/moustaches and the blatant use of dummies. Spike also uses pastiche and bricolage (Pastiche uses different creative sources to create one text; in this case a music video. Whereas, Bricolage is the process of assembling artefacts from bits and pieces of other things). “Wonderboy” by Tenacious D (#5) is an example of pastiche, it uses various sources to create it, mainly 21st century movies like lord of the rings but doesn’t use them humorously like the Beastie Boys. It is also an example of bricolage because it uses sources from movies and novels to create a music video. SPIKE’S STYLE - POSTMODERN #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
  8. 8. SPIKE JONZE • As an exceptional director, Spike Jonze has worked with big bands, but although these bands seem to be mainstream his music videos seem more underground in terms of their style as they are unconventional and postmodern which is why I like his work. His videos differentiate from other directors such as Michael Gondry who uses more conventional videos (although equally unusual), and Chris Cunningham’s videos which are the least conventional. His use of narrative is a large part of his music videos and a large part of his style.