There's no right way to be a music video director. But in my first year and a half of doing this crazy thing I've learned to be a happy one. Like this....
GO EASY ON YOURSELF
Despite the gaps between jobs and the incredible perk of being master of your own time, you work extremely hard when a job is on. You pour your heart, soul, and often your fee, into every job you do. You've managed to carve out your little corner in a dog-eat-dog industry. Give yourself a high five and a little sweetie for being fabulous.
I know what I just said..but..you aren't saving lives. And nobody wants to hear about the famous person you met the other day or your agent in LA. When someone asks what you've been up to, don't say "Hangin with Dizzee in Shoreditch House” or "Living it up Groucho-side with Robbie", just say "Oh you know, writing, thinking, shooting, the usual."
TAKE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM (BUT DON'T ALWAYS BELIEVE IT)
One of the hardest things about your job will be deciding who to take criticism from, who to ignore, and who to mentally note as weirdo. As a general rule stick to what you know to be good about your work. Listen to advice from those you respect or people who've got a lot of experience. But remember, it's up to you what you do with that advice; you don't have to actually TAKE it. Learn to be a diplomat.
TRUST IS THE KEY
Trust the artist/ band/ comissioner, and earn their trust back. They probably know who they are and what they want. They may need a bit of guidance and some spandex to really shine though.
DON'T LET NEGATIVE COMMENTS GET YOU DOWN
For every 100 people who like a video you've made, a handful will hate it, with a passion, and they will be the most vocal. If someone makes a negative comment on Youtube about your work DO NOT PANIC! Especially if it looks something like this "Bruv dis vid is lame. wot da fuk is dat abot man?" or "Fail'. Under no circumstances should you ever post your own work on the website Antville. This is where the has-beens and never-weres of the promo fringe spend their hours i-winging and e-moaning. Emo at best, misanthropic at worst, these squawkers use jargon like "nice defoc shot but generally weak cut and concept" or "I would have dispensed with the slow mo and...bla bla". Don’t go there. I used to look at it and get wound up but I've seen the light. There are WAY better places to look at vids or upload your stuff, minus Cyber Meldrew.
Some ace sites, with a less poisonous rantings are:
NOT FAT CLIPS- Which is great for animation, music videos and shorts.
YOUTUBE- Obviously as long as you ignore 'wot da fuk " man.
PROMO NEWS- Some Antville gumpsters do go on here, but generally it's a nicer feel.
I particularly like Sarah Chatfield's (or Chatters) x-mas video Mixtape. Sarah ( at Colonel Blimp)is one of the many directors who manages to be lovely and very good at what she does. Big up her.
Keep looking on people’s blogs where a lot of fun stuff turns up. Company websites are good for up to date video news: Colonel Blimp, Bikini, Academy, Partizan, Factory Films, Blink, and Independent. Mr and Mrs Smith, Studio AKA and Annex Films for animation. Get Googling.
HAVE A SECOND INCOME WHEN YOU START
This could be in the form of a Sugar-Daddy (Not really) , work in commercials, a job in the pub, a double life as a ship's doctor (I know people with most of the above, even the doctor), or a contract as a spy (I made this one up). In any case, it will raise your bank balance, feed your self esteem and enable you to have more time off, getting inspired, doing vanity projects for your mate's band and hanging out with Dizzee in Shoreditch House.
GO TO THE AWARDS
But don't be gutted if you don't win. If you are really gutted do it in STYLE. Storm out shouting "I've been robbed!!"
DEVELOP PITCH BOUNCEBACKABILITY
Don't be too upset when you don't win a pitch. It's so competitive that there's probably 10 other directors pitching too. Also don't sit around waiting for an answer. It's better to get on with something else. Often commissioners and producers get so busy once a job is confirmed that they simply don't have the time to ring up all people who didn't get the job. Having said that, there's a little handful of lovely commissioners who DO call up. May their bottoms be gilded in gold and their cockles be warmed in perpetuity.
BUILD A GREAT TEAM
And cherish them. Sounds cheesy but I wouldn't be able to do what I do without the lovely people I work with. DOP's like Stuart Bentley and Ben Moulden have been great. Trim Editing and Academy films make a lot of things possible for me.
DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY
...In the words of Bobby Mcferrin form the 80s.
I leave you with this strange thing...