I’m lucky to be the head writer at a video production company that shares my passion for incorporating narrative lead storytelling into our projects whenever possible.
Music videos are both a great opportunity for storytelling, as well as a constant challenge due to their short run time and (often) low budget.
Thankfully, the latest band we’ve had the pleasure of working with, Whiskey Lies, understood the benefits of telling a story within their music video.
The band tasked us to build a story around their new EP, ‘You Know Who’ — a rock ballad that would not be out of place on a Guns ‘N Roses album. Inspired by their rock ‘n roll-love story lyrics, I set out to write a script that would act as a proof of concept for my long-held belief that the best music videos are – music video/short film hybrids, that incorporate many, if not all, of the storytelling techniques we expect from longer form media.
Whilst the band and my fellow Fine Rolling colleagues could see the potential in my narrative lead concept, the script was met with a certain amount of skepticism. Phrases such as; ‘too many locations’, and, ‘too ambitious’ kept coming back to us in our initial feedback. But, with full credit to the Fine Rolling team, we decided to back our collective vision and put my ambitious script into production.
I was delighted to join Fine Rolling’s Executive Director, Kristian Kane, as co-director on yet another project, marking what must be something like the sixth time we’ve directed and produced a film project together.
Ultimately, we came out with a music video which does justice to a great band and acts as a calling card for the kind of narrative lead music videos we believe in.
So, how do you write a music video? Isn’t it all just made up of whip-pan shots of the bands playing to a ‘fake audience’ in a sterile studio? Well, I’ve cut together a version of the video below, to illustrate how I crafted the script for this music video and took it forward to become the final version we see on screen.
Of course, not all music videos are written like this, or even written at all. But, I think the end results are worth the effort if you have a clear vision for a video.
If you have a music video in the works, I think you should seriously consider merging it with the short film form and creating something with a narrative that can inspire repeat viewings.
All screenwriting is an exercise in economic, visual storytelling — by telling a crafted story with a narrative throughline (sometimes referred to as a ‘beginning, a middle, and an end) within the claustrophobic time restraints of the music video format, you will prove to anyone watching that you are the kind of visual storyteller that can be entrusted with larger projects going forward.
If you enjoyed the music video for You Know Who, be sure to follow the band, Whiskey Lies. All the info on their latest shows and events can be found here.
You Know Who – Official IMDb Page
See how many easter eggs foreshadowing the ending you can count!
If your band needs a narrative lead music video, get in touch for a free quote.