You know, people these days tend to over think music videos. Millions of dollars in FX, exotic locations, guest stars; it's a big production anymore. But when you're a bunch of teens rocking out in your Mom's basement, you can't afford all that falderol. I think a band could condense what "the kids" like down to a few key elements, and save a lot of money. So here, as a public service, is Balog's guide to music videos for poor teen start up bands.*
1. Fire. Everyone (especially boys) loves a good fire. Set the instruments on fire, torch the stage, throw Nomex suits on the band and have 'em spend the whole video running around on fire. Heck, just throw a road flare into a barrel of gas or set off some thermite on top of blocks of ice to maximum your flame to dollar ratio.
2. Girls with low self esteem. Aside from being a great Arrested Development reference, this is also a popular video element. Since you're on a budget, you probably can't afford the full on army o' skanks that seems to be mandatory in videos these days, but you can get tons of extras at your high school for free. Thanks to the prevalence of abusive, absent, or generally emasculated fathers more girls than ever before are desperate for attention and love. Let their Daddy issues work for you! Note: while this advice also applies to creepy old guys trolling for girlflesh, let me just point out that misusing this knowledge is a ticket to the special hell, the one reserved for child molesters and people who talk at theaters. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeNBS1IY3pY
3. Shaky/spinning camera work. I have no idea why this is so popular, but it is. This is undoubtedly the cheapest element of all, as it requires nothing but a monumental lack of talent on the part of the videographer. Heck, wrap the camera in foam and give it to the clumsiest guy you know. The kids will eat that disorienting, nausea inducing swirl of incoherence right up.
4. Out of focus close ups. I always assumed they did this in a desperate bid to keep you from noticing how unattractive the lead singer is, so if your frontman is hideous you're in luck! Again, just keep the camera away from anyone with a modicum of talent and you're golden.
5. People falling down. If there's one thing the good folks at FailBlog have taught us, it's that unintentionally phallic items are hilarious. Thankfully, there are at least two things they've taught us, the second of which is that people falling down never becomes less funny. I suggest just having the clumsy guy who's doing the filming set the camera down focused on a set of stairs then try to dance up them. Failarity ensues.
6. The big finish. Ideally a combination of all the other elements. I'd suggest a scantily clad girl with a poor sense of balance getting knocked over by the blast wave from torching a barrel of gas. The camera stops spazzing long enough for one last out of focus close up, cut to the fire burning merrily, roll credits.
Well folks, there it is. With this simple guide you and your fairly talentless friends will undoubtedly score multi-million dollar recording deals and get all the glamour, fame, and substance abuse problems that entails! Congratulations! Feel free to send my modest %10 gross consultation fee along by paypal.
*Disclaimer: this guide only applies to teenagers and the sort of music that appeals to them. But really, that's the target audience in most cases isn't it?
This guide does not apply to rap (lots of stupid cars, silly outfits, and a double ration of sluts with impractically large posteriors) or emo kids (just slap yourself, unless you're Pete Wentz in which case punch yourself in the balls).