Promonews - 26th July 2019

We Direct Music Videos, the community of global music video directors established by Daniel Kwan of directing team DANIELS last year to highlight the plight of directors within the music video industry, have now published a set of Guidelines for the process of pitching on music videos. 

The Guidelines, that are now available to view at the We Direct Music Videos website, tackles the main concern that spurred Kwan to launch the community last year, and gain widespread support among music video directors in the US, the UK and elsewhere - the perceived abuse of the pitching process, lack of clarity as to the number of directors pitching on tracks, and the amount of unpaid work that directors put in to create music video treatments.

With pledges of support from some top directors - including Spike Jonze, Alma Ha'rel, Ian Pons Jewell and others - the Guidelines make a series of recommendations about how the pitching process should evolve. The objective is that they will are widely adopted by all sides of the music video industry from early September onwards - after the US Labour Day holiday.

The central goals of our movement are: respect, transparency and minimized free work​.

This follows the gathering of feedback from a series of WDMV online surveys, that concluded that pitching was the biggest source of frustration for directors, and when they felt most required to work for nothing.

“In a world where YouTube is paying 1.8 billion to the music industry and music videos make up 90 of the current 100 most viewed YouTube videos of all time, it’s time to rethink the value of music videos both culturally and financially. ​Donating time and money should be a ​choice​, not an ​expectation​. The central goals of our movement are: respect, transparency and minimized free work​,” said WDMV in a collective statement.

The first and arguably most important recommendations in the WDMV Guidelines revolve around the management of the pitching process, from the moment the artist's representative or commissioner sends out a brief with a track, with a view to having directors' write treatments for that track. The three-part Treatment Pool Section Process, is designed so that the only a small group of directors who have a realistic chance of winning the job actually write a full treatment, after a larger group of directors each provide a single-page 'concept document' in the Concept phase.

Overall, the WDMV document details new precedents for the treatment pool selection process, briefing calls, treatment submission and award process. Additionally, the Guidelines establish a treatment follow-up, informing directors that their concepts were not chosen, and allows them to retain the intellectual property of their non-selected treatments.

Recognizing the need for inclusivity and diversity in the entertainment industry, WDMV recommends that at least “one-third of interested directors during the ‘Concept Phase’ (Section IB) come from a marginalized community.” This proponent was adopted from Free the Work’s model, the recent initiative following Alma Ha'rel groundbreaking Free The Bid that gave an agreed proportion of female directors access to advertising pitches.

WDMV is also inviting all parties involved in the music video industry to ​pledge​ their support for its community and the guidelines ahead of their adoption after US Labor Day.

Promonews - 26th July 2019

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