You asked, we answered: here’s a short version of the WDMV Guidelines and Best Practices. Click the links below to see examples of music video briefs, concept pages, full treatments, and even sample emails. Scroll down for even more resources and contact us if you have any issues or suggestions.
Step 1: Artist-approved music video briefs are sent out to directors.
Step 2: Directors submit concept pages presenting their high-level video ideas.
Step 3: Artist selects 1-5 concepts to be expanded into full treatments.
Step 4: The label informs all parties selected to create full treatments. Directors ideally get a minimum of four full business days to complete their treatment.
Step 5: The artist rep and Director can hold a call prior to treatment writing.
Step 6: The directors submit their treatments. The artist’s rep can again have a follow-up call for each director to verbally pitch the treatment.
Step 7: Artist can request at most one round of unpaid revisions to the treatment.
Step 8: Directors are notified immediately as to whether their idea has been selected or not.
Intellectual Property: Concepts not selected to be turned into videos remain the intellectual property of the director.
Inclusivity: At least one third of interested directors during the “Concept Phase” are to come from marginalized communities.
Read about why this process exists on our About Us page.
RESOURCES & EXAMPLES
Below is an example of a music video brief that follows WDMV’s Guidelines. By including the “Concept Page Due” line, commissioners are signaling to reps, directors and production companies that the treatment process is Guidelines compliant.
This brief can be sent to an unlimited amount of representatives or directors.
THE CONCEPT PAGE
AFTER RECEIVING THE BREIF, directors will then submit a Concept Page. This is a simple one page document outlining the director’s idea(s) and can include images.. There is no restriction on how a concept page should look. Below are some examples derived from the DANIELS’ “Turn Down For What” music video, note how they range in the amount of text and images they use.
This gives the Label and/or Artist a chance to see if the Director’s idea aligns with the Artist’s vision, before the Director invests more time into a fully formed treatment with text, images, and references.
SELECTING THE TOP 5
AFTER THE CONCEPT PAGES HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED, commissioners or the artists will then pick their top five favorite ideas that they want to see fully formed treatments for. Commissioners will then notify these five directors that they will be advancing, making up the final Treatment Pool.
Transparency: We suggest the label inform all parties of the other directors’ names and/or the number of directors who are creating treatments. If over 5 treatments are requested, we recommend compensating the writers.
BEFORE THE TREATMENT IS WRITTEN, WDMV recommends holding a short 10-15 minute phone call between the artist and directors to discuss the creative vision and ensure everyone is on the same page. WDMV recognizes that scheduling five phone calls per music video is time-consuming. We recommend commissioners coordinate with artists ahead of time to block out a window of time to speak with directors.
Here’s a sample email informing directors they’ve made it to the treatment round:
Congrats! Your “Zookeeper” concept for “Cool Song” has advanced to the treatment round. Please submit a full treatment by September 7.
We’ve blocked out time for optional artist-director calls on September 3RD, 2-4pm. Please let us know if you have availability during this window.
The other directors pitching in this round are Martin Scorsese, Andrea Arnold, PT Anderson, and Steven Spielberg.
THE TREATMENT ROUND
AFTER THE CREATIVE CALL, directors have a minimum of 4 full business days to complete a treatment. If a director decides not to pitch, they should let the commissioner know ASAP.
Below is an example of what the concept pages for “Turn Down For What” look like as a fleshed out treatment. See more treatment examples for award-winning videos in a wide variety of budget ranges HERE.
AFTER THE TREATMENT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED, WDMV recommends holding a follow-up call for the director to pitch their treatment and ensure the final product is aligned with the Artist’s goals. WDMV also recommends a call between commissioner and producer to discuss the schedule, logistics, and feasibility of the concept before it awards.
AWARDING THE VIDEO
ONCE A DIRECTOR HAS BEEN SELECTED, commissioners should immediately inform all parties, including the directors who did not get the video.
Thanks for pitching on Cool Song! Unfortunately we’ve decided to go with another director for this one. We appreciate you taking the time to share your awesome idea!
THE WDMV SIGNATURE
I’VE GOTTEN A MUSIC VIDEO BRIEF THAT DOESN’T MENTION THE GUIDELINES. WHAT DO I DO?
In this situation, we recommend that you pitch according to the guidelines, with a WDMV explainer sheet attached to your Concept Page. We’ve authored a WDMV Concept Page attachment that explains to whoever reads your treatment that you are pitching according to the WDMV treatment process. Click here to download.