In this final part of our conversation with Ben Griffin, we discuss the issue of budgets in music videos: big, small, and the advantages that each have to offer.
As we discussed in episodes 73 and 74, Ben Griffin is a music video producer, director and DP who currently runs his own music video production company in Los Angeles. In this episode we talk about some of his best recent work, one of which you can see below.
But what is Ben’s level involvement with the project? He tells us that the creative role of the director has changed quite a lot with time. While back in the times of multi-million dollar music videos it used to be that a director would be behind the concept, these days it is usually the record label that approaches a director with a concept already in mind. The director’s role, then, is to execute this already existing vision. Alternatively, artists may approach a director without a record label as a mediator and, although many times this means a lot more creative freedom for the director, it usually means a much smaller budget too. So it seems that it is always a give and take of creative control vs. budget.
One of the reasons why the record labels have so much more creative control could be down to recent ways in which this industry needs to monetise its content. After a couple of decades of pirating and illegal streaming which saw heavy losses for the music industry, this sector is finally taking back some income revenues in the form of legal streaming platforms such as Spotify, as well as advertisement revenue and product placement in music videos. Ben Griffin explains that this, in turn, has lead to budget increases in music video production.
We also touch on the topic of business. Should every aspiring filmmaker aim to start their own company? Ben considers himself as much of a businessman as he does an artist, so starting a company was a clear decision for him but, as he points out, that is just because of the way he operates. Running a business is certainly not for everyone, and is an area where many creatives can actually struggle.
Ben’s journey is far from over. His dream is still to shoot a feature film, fuelled by that passion that he developed as a little kid. However, patience is the name of the game. Many people only get one shot at it, and so he advocates for waiting for the right project, the right budget and the right time in order to make something really worthwhile.
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