How to Become a Music Video Director: Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a music video director. Research the education, career requirements and experience required for starting a career in music video directing. View article »

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  • 0:00 Becoming a Music Video…
  • 0:43 Career Requirements
  • 1:22 Music Video Director Job Steps

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Becoming a Music Video Director

Music video directors are the visionaries who create and direct the videos for musical artists. A music video is a short film that is based on a song by a singer, group or band. Music video directors often work with these musical artists to come up with the concept and story behind the video. As with making a film, music video directors will have to understand cinematography, lighting and editing. This highly demanding job is not always stable, and music video directors may face downtime between projects. The field is also extremely competitive, since there are more people who want to be professional directors than there are jobs available.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Varies; bachelor's degree common
Degree Name Film, video production, or another related field
Experience Several years of production experience may be required before working as a director
Key Skills Artistic ability, creativity, leadership, time-management and communication skills, ability to use video recording equipment and editing software
Salary $105,550 (2015 median for all directors and producers in the motion picture and video industries)

Sources: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), O*NET OnLine, Princeton.edu

The requirements to become a music video director can vary. Many directors have a bachelor's degree in film, video production or a related field. Several years of production experience may be necessary. You will also need to possess artistic ability, creativity, leadership skills, time-management skills, communication skills and proficiency using video recording equipment and editing software. All directors and producers in the motion picture and video industries earned a median wage of $105,550 in May 2015, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Cinematography and Film Production
  • Film and Cinema Studies
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Music Video Director Job Steps

If you want to start a career as a music video director, try following these steps.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Although not required to start a career, individuals interested in becoming music video directors may consider earning a bachelor's degree in film. Topics and courses covered in film school include the history of film, camera techniques and the business side of the industry. Some film schools are highly competitive and might have a special application process where applicants showcase their work, such as through an original short film or a video.

Step 2: Intern For a Production Company

Working as a production assistant on a music video is a great way for individuals to gain hands-on experience and network. Production assistants help with the different aspects of the production, from coordinating talent call times to getting the director coffee. Working or interning as a production assistant also helps build up one's resume.

Step 3: Gain Additional Music Video Experience

Prospective music video directors may be able to obtain jobs as assistant directors to gain additional experience. Working as an assistant director will give individuals more responsibilities on the set and help prepare them for becoming a director. Directing music videos for lesser-known artists is also an option that can give individuals a chance to showcase their talent.

To be successful, here are a few tips:

  1. Create a reel. A reel demonstrates a director's experience and shows prospective employers examples of their talent and skill. Any work done can be edited onto a reel and sent out to artists, producers and managers.
  2. Research music videos. Researching other music videos and understanding how videos have evolved over time may help with the creative process.

Step 4: Develop Connections to Advance in the Field

It can be beneficial for individuals who are interested in pursuing this career to build connections with musicians, bands, producers and other professionals in the industry. Prospective directors interested in the industry should attend local music shows and entertainment events. They may also join a professional association, such as the Music Video Production Association (MVPA). Membership with the MVPA may provide music video directors with greater access to record labels and artists.

In summary, becoming a music video director may involve earning a bachelor's degree in film or video production, gaining several years of production experience and developing connections with artists and producers.

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