When I asked Andre 4k what it was like to direct a music video, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew that it was no piece of cake. My brief stint in the production industry taught me that. But I wasn’t aware of all of the prep work involved. I wasn’t aware of all of the setbacks involved in making a video on your own. The video I worked on was all set up by the time I got there, and all I had to do was stare at some monitors, help compose some shots, hold some cords, and adjust some clothes and chairs.
Andre gives us an inside look on his process. This is the story of a director on his way up:
"So the name of the first music video I’m presenting is titled “Heroes” from up and coming local artist Cahlaj (collage). I met him earlier this year in February through a mutual High School friend. I had to go through a lot of treatment such as finding extras, shooting locations, looking for props, networking with other filmmakers, borrowing equipment, and making at least five to six different shot lists every time the slightest thing was added or excluded. Right now I’m guessing, but coming up with the whole concept might have taken me two months. The next step was trying to find a day to shoot on. My schedule was pretty flexible but the artist Cahlaj was a fulltime student from Cal State Fullerton who also worked fulltime. So it was really hard for him to be open for a shoot while he juggled college classes, work part time, doing his music on the side, having a social life, and then shooting a video in two different locations in LA… So we met in February-April and had a few meetings to discuss what message we wanted to get across, made sure we had our locations secure, and his song was mastered and mixed. The artist wanted a view of downtown LA buildings in the background, and a little kid with a towel around his neck, which was just a visual look to a bar in the song.
In the month of April, I was ready to shoot the video, but he kept postponing and postponing because of his schoolwork load so we rescheduled until the end of the semester. Again, more delays because the artist was saving up to buy his own microphone and was going to mix the vocals and track by himself. Which didn’t turn out as great so he was recommend a engineer, who liked to take his time. In the meantime I was trying to confirm that I had a downtown loft location booked for the shoot but ended up going thru hell trying to confirm the date because the loft owner lost their phone. I included a scene at the high school we went to. The artist claimed he still talked to one of the teachers who still worked at the school and everything should be good…wrong he waited the last minute to contact her that added another few weeks pushed back.
This video was shot in August on two different days. Day one was shot in the industrial side of downtown LA filled with graffiti and street art, then we headed over to the top floor of a 6 story loft (no elevator) where we would had a view of some skyscrapers, and then end it off with a green screen setup. Day two was about 3 weeks later after we got authorization from the high school to shoot on their property, and also shot some more green screen footage in a friend’s house in Westchester while the rooms were clear from his family moving out.
After I had all the footage I went in nonstop trying to edit as fast as I could, prepping Photoshop pics to be animated, compositing the green screen footage, etc. A good week and a half goes by and once again his audio engineer still hasn’t mixed the song, or any of the songs for his whole entire mixtape. As irritated as I was I just took a break from the project and talked to more artists who was looking for a new director and respected my work ethics. On and off I would go back and tweak certain things until his engineer got his life together and now I can finally present his music video that took way to long to produce. It was a learning experience that didn’t make me want to quit but approach things differently since I’m up and coming.”
You can watch the video here: