Mike Bogatyrev ~ Music Video Planning

Mike Bogatyrev head shot 2 (225x185)Hello to everyone. My name is Mike Bogatyrev, and I am a freelance cameraman. I would like to share how to plan for a low/no budget music video.

Music videos are great. Essentially, they are a great creative blend between the story, emotional interpretation and the advert for the artist. The ratio of the mix creates the wonderful variety of the videos we see and enjoy today. But what is it like for the person making those videos? Video is an art form itself. And the great beauty is when the two art forms blend into a wonderful product. So, it really is a creative dialogue between the artist and the video-maker, be it a one man band or a crew.

In order to be on the same page before, during and after the production, it is important to keep certain points in mind. Let me talk about those points. The bigger the artist, the more elaborations are affordable, but if you are on a super low budget, I find that the following helps.

Avoid Long Meetings

What’s this about? Basically, every meeting must result in something more than just an agreement on a concept or dreamy elaborations. Make sure you have an agenda and a diary. Make sure you come prepared too. If you covered a topic on the phone or in writing, something concrete needs to be brought to the next meeting: an idea, a concept, a location. Always have all your notes in one folder. That way they won’t get lost or misplaced.

Once the meeting is over, clarify what needs to be done before the next one. That way, you avoid wasting time and money on coffee too!

Mike Bogatyrev website 2Agree on the Budget

Make sure you nail the budget down as soon as you possibly can to set the boundaries of the artist’s fantasy (or maybe even filmmakers). Suddenly, you would think twice about that sunset helicopter shot!

Also establish how and when the filmmaker will be paid. Normally, I ask for 50% deposit after I complete the storyboard or shot list. Basically, once the concept is signed off, I ask for the deposit. Why? Because then both parties have a stake in the production. I am paid for the work that I have done, and the artist also knows the remaining work to be done.

Many people don’t see concept creation as work completed. I am an avid believer that when the preproduction work is completed, the scope of the project must be finalized and it must be paid for. Otherwise, the scope of work never stops changing: concepts keep changing and the project never lifts off. It is always talked about in meetings in cafes or pubs, but it never hits the ground running.

Make sure you put in your budget and clarify who is responsible for the following:

  • Travel expenses
  • Location scouting
  • Shoot permits
  • Props
  • Costumes
  • Make up

Everything is about the dialogue. It makes no difference who deals with the points above, but someone has to be responsible. There should be no ambiguity.

Mike Bogatyrev website 1Have Sign-Off Stages

All the expectations should be managed and agreed on. Don’t go into the next stage if you haven’t finished the stage before.

I normally sign off on the following before I move onto the next stage: Concept, Storyboard (or anything as close to it as possible, like a shot list), Location, Props.

When all those points are covered, the shoot becomes a much easier and nicer process.  If you would like to know more production, tips please visit my website.

Best of luck with your projects and share your thoughts on how you do it!

Mike Bogatyrev