One of my favorite things about working on A3C is that it is one of the best resources for any independent artist, hip-hop or otherwise. Budget constraints and funding is an issue that all independent artists struggle with. Everything from recording to performance to branding costs money that many artists don’t have.
While the average studio music video budget starts at $50,000, I’ve found that the average indie music video budget is between $1,500 and $10,000. This means that independent artists have to work about 5x as hard to tell the story of their song and make a visual impact that will engage fans, old and especially new. So, how can you turn your $3,000 video budget into 300,000 YouTube views?
Find A Great Director
To maximize your budget by finding a director who can shoot and edit and plan to spend about ¼ of your budget on your director’s fee. Find your director by:
- Reaching out to local film schools, art schools, or film department at a college or University
- Ask your fellow artist friends about the team they worked with for their video
- Put an ad on Craigslist or post on Social Media
Do whatever you have to do but make sure you find someone who you can work with closely to bring your vision to life.
Build A Production Team
As with any piece of art, music videos are made of many parts. The components that create a compelling visual image are often not seen on-screen. Production teams can be comprised of anywhere from 25 - 100+ people depending on the visual. When you’re working on a budget, you have to strip that down to the bare minimum. You’ll need:
- Production Assistant - to support your Director in setting up shots, lighting adjustments and much more
- Producer - to scout locations, for casting, to organize craft services and keep the production running on time/budget
- Cast - Bring in dancers, extras, actors to tell a story, flamethrowers….I don’t care but unless you’re a particularly dynamic artist on your own, you need other beautiful bodies/faces to for your video
Styling and Lighting (your new best friends)
Lighting setups can be very inexpensive to produce and your director should know how to help you get the right looks. Plus, there are tons of videos on YouTube to help guide you to the look you want. As important as lighting is styling. Stylists are a bit harder to find if you don’t live in a major city but think of the most stylish person that you know and ask them to help match your inspiration looks.