Remember when I was blessed enough to work with an insanely talented group of musicians and performers for Theoretics’ “Higher” music video?
They came back and asked me to direct their next music video, “Jekyll & Hyde” and I’m thrilled. This song is funky, deep and unforgettable. Their entire debut album is phenomenal but this track really shines when performed live.
The band is using Kickstarter to raise money for the video budget (a very modest $5,000). Here’s the video! “Like” it on facebook, send the link to anyone who may dig it, and get excited for the visual and auditory feast to come!
Modest Budget, You say?
For those of you who have been asking, “how on earth can a music video cost as much as $5,000??” I have prepared a rough cost breakdown as follows:
Estimated days of shooting required: 4 days
Actual costs based on specific local vendors, many of whom are offering greatly discounted rates:
- Producer fee: $500-1250/day
- Director fee: $500-1250/day
- Camera operator: $500-1000/day
- Camera equipment rental: $150-$5000/day
- Key grip + assistant + lighting gear: $1000-1750/day
- Wardrobe for 7-10 characters: estimated $20-$200/day per character for this project
- City permits: $25-$1000/day (depending on the city, exact location, whether roads need to be closed, etc…)
- Props/furniture rental: estimated $500
- Set construction: $100-1000
Estimated days of post-production required: 2-3 days
- Editor fee: $500-750/day
- Redundant Hard disk archive: $200-400
- Visual FX designer fee: $75-$150/hour
- Colorist fee: $100-200/hour
- Band member compensation
- Additional actors and extras
- Marketing hours
- Catering (food) for 4 days
- Donor perks:
- Web hosting
- Graphic design
Recent music video budgets:
- Macklemore “Wings”: $18,269 (2011)
- Michael Jackson “Beat It”: $150,000 (1983)
- Average studio music video budget: $200,000 – $500,000 (2010)
Obviously, $5,000 falls far short of what we would need to hire a mostly-professional crew (the lighting/grip truck rental alone would almost use the entire budget). I’m good at being resourceful, maximizing available resources and wearing multiple hats to bring budgets down, but that doesn’t mean that making a music video, short film or TV pilot is cheap.
Have a rebuttal, input or correction? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss this.
Update: Theoretics raised around $5500 via Kickstarter. Once Kickstarter and Amazon Payments had taken their respective cuts we had right about $5000 to work with and the music video turned out well.
Update 2: This excellent mini-documentary features all sorts of music video-related wisdom from some great directors whose work I have enjoyed and respected for years. If you ever plan to be involved in a music video in any way (director, editor, DP, camera operator, producer, band member, actor, etc…) you really need to watch this as soon as possible.