The LAMVF Musicians/ Filmmakers Collaborative offers a way for musicians to make high-quality music videos on a shoestring budget.
Howdy, dear and loyal RFSL readers! We’re kicking off Cheap Trick, a series of tips and interviews to help musicians get shit done on a shoestring budget. Our first installment is an interview with Sami Kriegstein, founder of the Los Angeles Music Video Festival (LAMVF). The LAMVF is a pretty awesome annual showcase of music videos featuring work from filmmakers from around the world. Now entering its third year the festival is scheduled for May 4-5, 2013. They also host the LAMVF Spotlight, a really cool monthly directors showcase at Downtown Independent movie theater. Past featured directors have included Isaac Ravishankara, Dugan O’ Neal, and Nicholaus Goossen. Admission is a measly suggested donation of $5 (chump change, amirite?) and you score a free T-shirt, plus there’s $2 drinks. I hope to get my homebody butt over there one of these nights.
We were lucky enough to interview Sami Kriegstein, founder (LAMVF about a special collaborative program, which pairs musicians who have a minimum of a $1k budget with a video music director to make a stellar video for not much money. Here’s what Sami had to say about program:
How did the idea for this unique program come about?
I remember looking around when I was in college at USC and everyone I knew was either an aspiring filmmaker or an aspiring musician, and all of them were making music videos. But they were doing it separately, in parallel. My musician buddies were struggling to find directors for their videos, my filmmaker friends didn’t seem to know any bands. It became very clear to me that there was a need for some sort of bridge to link the two communities. They need each other.
How will the filmmakers and musicians connect with each other?
Musicians will submit songs they’re looking to make videos for along with relevant information like budget available, aesthetic they have in mind, timeline, etc. Directors will be able to preview the songs and submit video treatments directly to the bands. There aren’t any guarantees with this processit’s more about forging the connection. My instinct is that some amazing collaborations will emerge.
Why low-budget films in particular?
If you were to ask an “industry professional” they’d probably tell you that at this point, all music videos are low-budget. They’re talking of course about budgets today in comparison to budgets 10-, 15-years ago. The definition of low-budget is a bit relative and therefore hard to define but we’re basically looking at mostly $0-$5K, stretching up to $10K in rare cases. If the program is successful, there’s no reason it couldn’t some day expand to include larger budgets but we’re more interested in helping the “little guys” – the emerging artists who just need that small push in the right direction.
How did you recruit the filmmakers? Who are some of the music directors who will be participating?
We’ve begun recruiting mostly through our monthly newsletter and via word-of-mouth. We’re tapped into a great community of directors who’ve already established themselves as up-and-comers who I very much hope will participate but our main goal is to inspire the next generation to hop on the music video band-wagon, kids in film school, etc. Ultimately, participation will be dictated by the quality of the songs submitted.
Are you planning on focusing on LA-based directors first, or directors from all across the U.S.?
We’ll be focusing on LA-based directors as a proof-of-concept. There’s so much activity in the music and film industry here already, it makes the most sense to keep it local!
How does this program relate to the annual LAMVF fest?
Videos created through the program will automatically be entered into the festival and we’ll try to do some recruiting at the event as well. Some day there may be an entire category dedicated to these videos.
What do you hope to achieve with this program?
The program is meant to both bridge the gap between indie filmmakers and indie musicians, and to raise awareness around the groundbreaking work being done with music videos today. More people than ever before are making music videos, amazing ones. It really is a renaissance of sorts. But no one’s talking about it. We hope to change that.
How could this benefit the music and film community in Los Angeles?
We want to help foster a real sense of community and support for music video lovers. People get into this business for pure love of the art form and it can often feel daunting or isolating. We hope the LA Music Video Festival will be able to establish itself as a platform for music video collaboration and a springboard for new and excellent work. We want to help discover the next Michel Gondry, then introduce him or her to the next White Stripes. Wouldn’t that be cool?
For more information about the program, contact Colleen Curlin at email@example.com.