Top 10 Directors Who Started in Music Video
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Music videos are the greatest
Even in the 80s, something as rubbish as Terence Trent D’Arby’s ‘Wishing Well’ had the capacity to inspire. My bros and I loved that shit, and we’d pass around sports equipment in the living room, fighting over who was going to be who in TTD’s rhythm section. We eventually recorded the clip and would play it back over and over, standing in a line, swinging our instruments.
(My oldest brother would be the square-jawed guy out front. He’d also get the graphite Emrik tennis racquet, obvs. I was the youngest, so had to be content with a cricket bat and the hawkish-looking dude at the back. My other bro always wanted to be the black guy with the dreads and bass guitar, which is weird because these days he’s whiter than Kenny G.)
Such is the compelling pull of the music video – and this was a long, long time before the internet. No wonder record labels love the things (even if musicians often hate them).
Up-and-coming filmmakers dig them too: it’s a great way to work to a narrative and have a little bit of cash in the pocket to fund your wonky ideas. And more and more it’s a popular route into feature films – particularly in the digital age, when a snappy YouTube clip has the potential to go viral and be seen by millions of viewers.
We’re all about connecting the dots at TheVine, so we wanted to run you down some of the best (and some of the most unexpected) directors to have had their early careers funded by record labels.
If you’re at work, put some headphones on.
McG is a terrible filmmaker and didn’t even start this trend, but he pretty much popularised it post millennium. During the 90s McG directed over fifty music videos, most notably The Offspring’s ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ and Basement Jaxx’s ‘Where’s Your Head At?’. His film career started with Charlie’s Angels (yeah, cool), before staggering onto Terminator: Salvation and This Means War (yeah, get the fuck outta here).
9. Jonathan Glazer
The video to ‘Karma Coma’ was the best thing about Massive Attack’s Protection. And it was directed by none other than Jonathan Glazer, the guy who would go on to blow everyone away with Sexy Beast. Glazer also directed Birth, which Allmovie tells me features Nicole Kidman and brief nudity. Hello, internet.
8. Michel Gondry
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep
Before Michel Gondry binned his career with Green Hornet and Be Kind Rewind he was blowing everyone away with The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And even before that he was blowing music fans away with his hyper-creative videos for the White Stripes (‘Fell in Love With a Girl’), the Chemical Brothers (‘Star Guitar’) and Björk (‘Human Behaviour’). If this was just about music video, Gondry would be number one.