Hustle Harder: Music Videos

By Donny Goines  |  05/02/2008

Donny GoinesThis past weekend, I shot my second official video (The first one was "Do It For Hip-Hop") with my main photographer and director Don Hankins. We also had the help of Justin Miller, a video editor and producer who works closely with Don. We shot at two locations, the first was in my neighborhood and the second was in Central Park. There was no budget, no wardrobe changes (although I was wearing a outfit provided to me from Young Jeezy's clothing line called 8732, thanks to my boy Pete over at Shady) and definitely no Bentleys and half naked women around, haha. I think it's going to be a great video.

Many up-and-coming artists are really blinded by the things they see on television. They see these music videos on the popular networks and think that they need to live up to those standards. Here's some reality for you. Majority of those items you see are usually rented or borrowed (jewelry, cars, clothes, etc.) and many times those videos run up very high budgets. The artists that shoot these kind of videos usually do not pay (the label does) the director, models, staff or any other expenses that come along with these videos and thy go into DEBT doing so (these kind of expenses are recoupable). If you are not a major artist and your wealthy uncle didn't die, then chances are these sort of videos will typically be out of your price range. Don't panic though, all is not lost people.

You can shoot a video with little to no money and still compete with the big boys. Will it get played on BET or MTV? Probably not, but with the popularity of the internet, who cares? Syndicated television is not the end all people. Youtube, Kyte, Google, AOL, Podcast, etc. There are countless examples of popular videos that have never even AIRED on any of these national stations, but yet have gained major popularity via the internet. There are also public access channels (which are highly underrated and slept on I might add) that will play your videos as well. That's rule number one. Don't get caught up in the hype. Focus on making a quality video and then let it loose in the world the best way you can. You'd be surprised how far good music travels.

Another rule of thumb is to utilize the proper resources and personel. The problem today is that people think you can buy a $200 camera, put it into the hands of an amateur and compete with the likes of lets say, a Hype Williams. You have to be realistic. You will get what you put out of it. A common excuse I hear is "I can't afford a high quality camera." Well then rent one. There are plenty of businesses that will allow you to rent whatever kind of camera you need for a day or so. You just have to do your research. Your next step would be finding the right person to shoot your video. Don't get Hollywood with it, just because someone hasn't directed a Jay-Z video doesn't mean they can't do yours. Start off small. I'm sure there are some talented people within your community if you just look hard enough. Can't find them there. Go to a film school and post flyers. Those are the next generation of directors anyway and chances are they'll do it just for the experience. The last step of this process would be to find a good editor. If you're lucky (like I was) your director might work with a great editor, but if this isn't the case then you just need to get out there and search. This part is crucial too, you can lose the whole video if you don't find the right guy so make sure to check out some of his previous work before you deal with him.

The name of the video I shot is titled "Play Out In The Rain" and it was produced by my man Remot. When it comes out, I would like you all to check it out and remember this blog when you do. You will see that good music videos can be made with little to no resources. Much love.

For more on me and my music visit my Myspace page at