Why I chose to make my music video with no budget.
23rd April 2020,
I have produced my last 2 music videos, with a “big budget”. A ‘big-budget’ in the life of an independent artist is the money that comes from your pocket from the various jobs you do in order to survive and make something great. Aaron (my friend of 15 years and my music producer) and I always believed that everything needed to be of great quality, so when it was time to make any new music videos for our songs, the challenge was definitely on. We set off to find an amazing team of professionals, filmmakers, make-up artists, and extras as well as a cool location. It all started back in 2011 when we made our first music video “What about love”. This was my first experience in front of, as well as behind the camera. The process for each video is more or less always the same, to begin with: we have a meeting where we discuss the concept and our ideas, and from there we bring it to life. From that point every music video evolves in a slightly different way (especially because we have shot in 3 different countries), but when you do something over and over you start picking up on certain things: editing, is everything, managing time is important as there’s never enough, and a valuable lesson, that you can not expect people to do exactly what you want exactly how you want unless you do it yourself. So I did! I am not a professional filmmaker or editor, just somebody that knows what I want.
Experiences from the last three video shoots…
May 2019: Shooting day for our single “People”
Since moving to London from New York, by way of Valencia Spain ( a story I will get into on another blog), we launched my solo career and wanted to show my fans and friends the beauty of London. The idea was to shoot in the streets of the very touristic area in Convent Garden. It was a Sunday morning, everything was set, we would shoot early before the streets got busy but many things happened along the way like (to stay true to the life of an artist and things going to plan…NOT! Shock horror!), the makeup artist being 2 hours late, as well as everybody else running late including the filmmaker. I thought I was going to have a heart attack, I think I did have a micro one, mayyyybe. I should add that the extras were friends that very generously were giving their time, so super thankful, and humbled I could not get mad. The stress levels…HIGH!!!! May I also say that it was raining, lol. In the end, everything worked perfectly, we made it! I am so lucky, grateful to be surrounded by amazing people (like the name of my song haha) that made everything easy and fun, but looking back I was not so satisfied with my performance, I was left with the feeling that I could have done better. Never being satisfied is a by-product of the artist's mind I guess ( I am still working on that), after all, perfection doesn't really exist, does it?
November 2019: Shooting day for our single “Everybody”
The idea was to have back up dancers in a studio performance. We found one of the most affordable all white studios in London, where we rented low-cost lights and brought props from home (there is always a way to make it work). Video number 2 welcomed a wonderful new filmmaker by the name of Norbert Pietraszek, his sensibility and ease of work contributed to the relaxed environment which is so important when creating, as well as Guilia Varvello a fantastic new makeup artist. The difficulty of finding back up dancers became very real when I ran out of time to get it all done before our deadline. The team this time would be made of filmmakers, makeup artists and Aaron (who, as well as being a very talented music producer, becomes the director and carer). The feel of this shoot was totally different, and I could really focus on my performance and enjoy it!!! It was really fun I must say.
The end result was great, thanks to Norbet for his vision as well as his patience with us when it came to the editing.
Listening to the fans, and people that have come to my live shows, I kept hearing that the videos were great but what was missing was me, the way I was! Can you believe this? You do all this and the only thing you didn’t think about was the fact that you were enough, without the shine and glamour.
February 2020: Shooting day for our single “Waiting Here”
I decided to do the shoot at my house so I did not feel the pressure of renting a venue and stressing about the cost, I wanted a relaxed environment, an open invitation to the real me. We rented a camera, lights, and bought some wallpaper to create a visually warmer space, we were set to go. I did my own makeup and hair to ‘be me’ (the hair was a struggle as the humidity in London is intense when you are trying to straighten your curls, wow).
Learning lighting and camera management alongside the idea of creating something that we never did before, and then achieving what we set out to was extremely rewarding (and it was the video with the lowest cost, sounds like a win-win to me ;-).
If I am being honest this is one of the projects that I am the proudest of. Not because Aaron and I were totally in control (I must sound like a control freak by now) but because this was really me. From the song to the production and video, I felt like you get to meet the person I am on the inside. A simple girl, with something to say.
Next video? I have no idea yet ( I am working on my album), but don’t worry I 'll keep you posted :).
Thank you for reading until the end. Feel free to let me know your feedback, feelings, and share your experience.