Q1: What is We Direct Music Videos (WDMV)?
A: WDMV is a community of music video directors who believe that if we work together and engage in conversations with other industry professionals about the state of music videos, we can bring about much needed change that will make creating music videos more efficient for everyone while simultaneously increasing fairness and promoting high quality work… Yeah, we know we’ve got our work cut out for us, and we know the road to change will be long and filled with obstacles. But that’s why it’s so important that we build and grow an inclusive community that will be able to weather the many years necessary to make meaningful change in our industry.
It’s important to point out that this community isn’t about “directors vs. record labels”. We have so much to learn from one another within the industry. We’re looking for win-win solutions because we believe that the best changes are the ones that can help everyone.
Q2: Is the WDMV community exclusive to directors?
A: Absolutely not! While our primary focus is on music video directors, we are trying to work with producers, commissioners, reps, artists, managers, and anyone else involved in music videos to get a better sense of why things are the way that they are in the music video world and see what kinds of changes would work in favor of all parties.
Q3: What are the goals of WDMV?
A: Our long term goal is to build a strong and lasting community that allows us to fight for better rights as workers, fair compensation and a more respectful industry that addresses everyone’s concerns-- not just directors. Our short term goals as of December 2018 are focused on community building and pushing for the adoption of a Best Practices Guidelines for the Pitching Process. For more details you can refer to our Mission Statement!
Q4: What are Guidelines and Best Practices? And with so many issues facing music video directors, why is WDMV starting with improving the pitching process?
A: We’re glad you asked! We believe that the best way to make changes is to focus on one or two issues at a time. Based on the feedback from our first town hall meetings, we’ve learned the pitching process is a main source of frustration and wasted time for many directors. The Best Practices Guidelines for the Pitching Process document is a handshake deal between everyone in the industry. They outline the basic expectations all parties can have when starting the music video process. By establishing a more respectful and organized workflow from the get go, we’ll hopefully see improvements during all stage of production.
We believe this will make the pitching process more efficient—not only for directors, but also for reps and commissioners. We’ve put this plan together mostly based on directors’ feedback. Next we consulted with reps and commissioners to make sure it works for everyone.
They are coming soon, so look out for them!
Q5: Why aren’t we fighting for things like residuals or bigger budgets right now?
A: Once money becomes part of the equation, the road to change becomes a lot more time consuming and costly. On top of this, because we are technically not a union or trade organization, our hands are tied as far as what we can talk about financially. While we believe these financial discussions will be necessary on our path towards improving how music videos are made, we can only do so much right now. For now we want to build a strong foundation, starting with achievable goals (like fixing the pitching process) to pave the way for bigger issues like these moving forward.
Q6: I heard that WDMV is just a group of entitled directors trying to stir up trouble so that they can make more money.
A: Hey! That’s not a question, but we’ve heard this too, and it’s an important misconception that we’d like to clear up because it couldn’t be further from the truth.
WDMV is still a young organization that got started suddenly and publicly. Because of this, while a small group of volunteers was forming behind the scenes to have thoughtful discussions and gather input to help shape things, our reputation kind of got away from us. Many of you have strong feelings about what our organization is or should be, so we understand how our motives could be misinterpreted. We’re sharing these FAQs now as a first step towards increased transparency about how WDMV operates, and we’re always open to feedback.
We don’t want to stir up trouble, but we do want to shake all of us out of our complacency and see that the way things are now aren’t necessarily the way things have to be. Our main goal right now is to get a better sense of where we are in the music video industry and to advance the industry in a way that promotes quality videos and respect for everyone involved at all stages of the process.
We know that the current music video process is difficult for directors, and that’s why we’ve started WDMV, but our goal is to work with labels, not against them. It’s natural to feel frustrated, but we believe it’s important for directors to remain civil in the face of that frustration. Instead of getting angry with reps or commissioners, we hope that this organization empowers directors to start friendly conversations with them. That’s why we are really here. We want to start a conversation that is long overdue. We hope you will join in.
Q7: Who’s behind WDMV?
A: For information about who we are, check out our “About Us” page!
Q8: Will this make creating music videos easier?
A: Yes and no. While we will be working to make the process more efficient and respectful, making music videos will never be easy. It will always be competitive, require a lot of passion and perseverance, and if you want to succeed you will still need to put in the work. Our hope is to cut out some of the unnecessary nonsense so you can focus on what matters: making great videos.
Q9: How can I keep up with what’s happening?
A: First, you should definitely join our mailing list. That’s where we share our most important updates and event information. We promise we won’t clutter up your inbox! For day to day updates, you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. All that info can be found on our “Connect With Us” page.
Q10: Are you planning to have a community meeting in my city?
A: Because we are still such a small volunteer run organization, we are concentrating on events in Los Angeles. But if any directors who have the initiative want to organize meet ups in their own cities, we are open to helping them with our network and resources to building a community that fits their city’s specific needs.
So far we have this relationship with New York, London, and Paris. If you would like to start a group in your city send us an email at email@example.com and let us know which city you would like to become a Community Leader for. We will give you all the details on how to get started.
Q11: Is there an online community for those of us who can’t meet up in person?
A: You know it! The WDMV Reddit group is an online message board for those who cannot attend our meetings, or for anyone who has a pressing question they want to ask the community between meetings. We think for productive conversations to take place, there needs to be a safe place for open and candid discussion to happen.
Q12: What is the difference between WDMV “Community Hangouts” and “Town Halls”?
A: WDMV “Hangouts” are informal monthly gatherings that give us all an excuse to meet up with other music video professionals and, well, hang out! Sometimes we might host a panel or a workshop, sometimes it will just be socializing over drinks, but it will always be a place to meet like-minded people. “Town Halls” are more formal goal-oriented meetings that will only happen a few times a year and provide the community at large with an opportunity to give input and help determine the direction of WDMV.
Q13: I’m being taken advantage of on a project I’m working on. What should I do?
A: Unfortunately this a common problem, often without a clear solution. Talk to your producer/production company. Talk to your fellow directors. Hopefully others with similar experiences will be able to offer good advice. Be smart and try to be diplomatic. It’s never a good idea to burn bridges. You can also always reach out to the WDMV online community on our Reddit group.
It is very convenient for those in power that music video directors seldom communicate with one another. If we begin connecting with each other, it will make it much more difficult for those who are taking advantage of us to do it over and over again, as we will learn much quicker as a community and hopefully find a way to navigate around these types of problems.
Q14: How can I help?
A: WDMV is completely run by volunteers who graciously take time out of their busy schedules to push the organization forward. If you have the time and the passion to join this effort please send us an email!
Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can help by spreading the word, visit our socials, keep us updated on what’s going on, and donate!
Instagram: @WeDirectMV #WeDirectMusicVideos
Twitter: @WeDirectMV #WeDirectMusicVideos
Q15: If I still have questions or I have a suggestion or I disagree with some of the things I’m hearing from WDMV, what should I do?
A: Contact us! If you want to keep it public, get at us on Twitter. If you want to ask the community, consider joining our subreddit. If you’re shy, you can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first priority is making sure that all voices in the music video community are heard, and we’d be happy to hear your suggestions, whether they’re positive or negative!
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