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  • Wynter Rhys (Guest)

Create Groundbreaking Music Videos With The Right Artist-Director Relationship

Wynter is one of our Noisy Neighbors, which is a series of guest posts focused on specific skills and ideas to help artists & creatives turn their talents and ideas into a successful career.

Wynter is a director, writer, editor from the Seattle area. Her signature aesthetic and storytelling style represents all things controversial and abstract that push the boundaries of society and common thinking. Her films ignite raw truth and get under an audience's skin.

As a director, she begins and instills the story, but she believes the story evolves and resolves itself within the mind of her audience - which is precisely the reason why her films are so psychological. Universally human, undeniably chilling, and beautifully visceral - this is the foundation of every piece she creates.

Check her out at or follow @wynterrhys on Instagram.


Music Videos are Social Currency in 2018

You don’t need me to tell you that 2018 is an instant gratification generation.

In today’s age, content is saran-wrapped for quick delivery and even quicker consumption. From Instagram’s one-click culture to Snapchat replacing the now-ancient-feeling Skype call, everything that doesn’t grab attention instantly will be swallowed in the noise.

However, this does not mean that 2018’s advertising and video content culture must be cheap in order to satisfy the time constraint and attention deficit of modern social platforms.

In fact, it’s the opposite.

It is now more vital than ever to have cutting-edge visuals, immaculate branding and - perhaps most important of all - a groundbreaking message that speaks to the current social climate (whether serious or humorous) and shakes viewers to the core, either through chills or laughter.

This is the recipe to being remembered, and the gateway to going viral.

Still from Will Jordan's "Euphoria" video directed by Wynter Rhys

Picture your average fan on a Thursday night after work. They’re tired, bored, and swiping through Instagram.

They see a video of a rapper, doing his thing in front of a nice car.


They see a singer, doing her thing in front of a piano.


Then, they see Childish Gambino dancing in a warehouse before shooting a man in the head and saying “This is America.”

This is the moment where the A.H.B (Average Human Being) doesn’t swipe. Instead, they text it to their friends. Friday night comes, and they're still talking about it. By Sunday morning, there’s even more video content being generated in reaction to the original video.

This is how powerful video content can be in 2018 - it transcends from social media to real life and back again.

Right now, in 2018, music videos are social currency.

If you can grab the attention of complete strangers within a few seconds of watching, you have already won, and you are already ahead of the game.

Choose Your Director Wisely

This is why choosing the right director for your music video is a make-or-break situation.

As an artist, trusting in your director is key - but what is even more crucial is hiring the right director in the first place.

Still from Will Jordan's "Euphoria" video directed by Wynter Rhys

First things first, conceptualize your brand as an artist.

Are you dark and boundary-pushing? Lighthearted? Sexy?

The director you hire must reflect that in their work. Go through their work with a fine-toothed comb. If you aren’t in love with their content, you won’t be in love with the end result of your own music video.

Every director-artist relationship is different - and just like relationships in real life, it must meet the needs of the two people involved.

Personally, the artists I work with, choose me because of my specific style, aesthetic, rhythm and branding. This means when I collaborate with the artist, I loosely take their general theme or end goal and I craft a very specific concept broken down second-by-second with the song. Every shot is planned.

That is precisely why some artists love my past work and others, who have a very definite vision for their music video, may not want to collaborate with me.

Trust Your Director

I understand feeling protective of your art.

It’s very difficult to hand that over to someone else, but a truly talented and professional director will never disappoint.

Trusting in them will usually give results above and beyond what an artist would conceptualize on their own. That’s a director's’ job.

It’s like commissioning a painting. The painter must hear what the client wants, but at the end of the day, it is the painter’s responsibility to choose the correct color, texture and placement to make that vision come to life in the real, tangible world.

Communication is everything.

I recommend an artist and a director sit down and talk about all expectations, fears and desires before any collaboration takes place. To have the most efficient and professional environment possible both on and off-set, this step is crucial and non-negotiable.

Push Beyond Your Boundaries

Still from Will Jordan's "Euphoria" video directed by Wynter Rhys

Another facet where I see many music videos fail is they stay inside the comfort zone. Typically, there are a couple different shots of the artist singing or rapping, recycled over and over, and that’s about it.

In a world saturated with content, you know what that leads to - SWIPE.

Don’t forget that both your beat and lyrics are the essence of hours and years of your hard work, life experience and artistic expression.

If an editor edits off-beat and a director takes the lyrics literally or with shallow intent and tries to draw a story from it, it will be a disservice to your song at best and at worse, painful or boring to watch. It might even put a dent in your music being taken seriously.

Hire a Visual Storyteller

How deep or shallow your lyrics are has zero effect on a director’s responsibility to extract a memorable story from the song.

Even if the lyrics of a song are nothing more than expressing how much money someone has, there is still a story behind that. How did they get that money? How rough was the come up? When was the moment they popped off? How much grotesque pain did they have to experience on the road getting to that success?

Still from Will Jordan's "Euphoria" video directed by Wynter Rhys

Your director has to be able to answer all of these questions . They must be able to sit down, talk with you, and extract that story from you respectfully and honestly.

The pre-production stage of a truly excellent video begins with talking about these backstories, experiences, and expectations of both the artist and the director.

From there, the director will craft a concept and pitches it to the artist. If the artist wants to make changes, they discuss those changes. If the artist loves it, then contracts are signed, and you organize all of the logistics to begin shooting.

While a music video is a priceless investment in this day and age, most of my work before directing full-time was absolutely zero budget and I am well-versed on cutting costs without sacrificing quality.

In my speaking and Q&A segment at Noisy Neighbors on the 19th of May, I will be going more in-depth about the concept of low-budget, high-quality work, and how not having money is not an excuse for having a low-quality music video. I will also be discussing pre-production, production and post-production of a music video and how both the artist and director interacts at each stage, and I will delve into branding yourself as an artist through video content to be both unforgettable and irreplaceable.


Examples of Groundbreaking Videos


Wynter Rhys Director’s Reel

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