Life Flip or Flop: Make a music video

in Entertainment by

A-Ha, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and now… Bella Ramirez. No, I won’t be wearing a meat dress or an oversized hoodie this week, but I will make two music videos and learn about the creative process needed to accomplish doing so.

As someone in both our school’s broadcast staff (WAHS News) and newspaper staff (Patriot Post), I compete in video and writing competitions. For my first video competition I signed up for a music video competition for Student Television Network’s (STN) Quick Turns competition. My second video competition in the same week was also for the music video category. This one was for the district seven Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) carry-in contest competition.

For my first music video, I was assigned the song “Neverending Mess” by The State of How for the STN Quick Turns competition. I set up a storyboard on Notability and planned each of the necessary angles, shots and plot points of the music video in it. After creating the storyboard, my partners and I recruited actors and planned filming locations. We moved around as quick as possible — from Wynwood to Nova Southeastern University to my own house all in one day. Directing this music video was fun, but I did not expect it to be so time-consuming. We could only film on Sunday, so when we finished around 8 p.m., I needed to grapple with the time lost. We ran behind filming time by three hours, so the studying time I planned into my schedule suddenly failed to exist.

After filming, I needed to think about how we would edit the video. Luckily, my partners (sophomore Shivan Giroti and senior Cassius Jennings) were very skilled in both filming and editing.The collaborational aspect in this music video’s editing process was actually something I needed to get used to. Usually, when I edit videos, I edit the whole thing and then have reviewers look at the final product. For the music video though, instant feedback was required in order to meet our deadline. Giroti would change the speed of a clip and have me watch it to check if it was timed correctly with the song, I would move a clip to fit it on the beat and have Giroti watch it to make sure I fit it on the right beat. We were an unlikely team, but our differing experience helped make the music video the best it could be. This music video occupied my thoughts from Friday (when we were assigned the topic) to Wednesday (when we submitted it), and then I learned of Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) District Carry-in contests.

Another day, another music video. This time we had from Thursday to Tuesday. The last song sounded like a 2000s angst jam, but this one fit more into a current synth bop. “Dreamcatcher” by Geneva White ended up being much more challenging to form a plot around. Our last music video followed a boy trying to get over his ex-girlfriend; it was comprehensible on screen and on paper. However, for “Dreamcatcher,” the team could not settle on one idea. We went from depicting dreams to analyzing why she wants to live in her dreams to following a story around bullying to our final analysis. We decided the main character did not want to live in her dreams but was stuck there, but all of her friends were invisible and they were all she had previously known. At this point it was Saturday night, and we needed to film and edit as soon as possible.

With a new team and me acting this time, the entire group dynamic changed. I edited and acted; junior Brandon Woods filmed; sophomore Irene Newman and senior Adriana Cardenas acted. We all played directors in order to fit the little time available. Once filming finished around 8 p.m. again, I edited all of the footage until 12 a.m. Monday night mirrored the same event, and I finished editing around 11:30 p.m. I needed to learn how to “mask” shots for this music video and it did not help when my editing program, Adobe After Effects, kept crashing every ten minutes. Before I knew it, I woke up at 4 a.m. Tuesday and found myself still needing to reach our deadline.

Looking through the piece, my blood suddenly went cold. Performance shots. We needed video of me singing the song. So, I changed into normal clothes and had senior Cassius Jennings film me walking around the school singing the song. Since I already had the backbone of the music video done, all I needed to do was edit out some parts to leave room for the singing. The due time was 6 p.m., and all throughout the school day I could only think about exporting the video in time. When I finished editing at 4 p.m., I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The video looked beautiful and my obsession over it paid off. “Maybe now I can go to sleep and wake up at a normal time,” I thought. Now, I need to wait for the results of the FSPA Carry-in contest on Nov. 10 and the STN Quick Turns competition in Feb. 2019. Whatever the results are, I think music videos are a passion I will continue to pursue in the future.

Verdict: Flip

“Neverending Mess” music video

“Dreamcatcher” music video

Bella Ramirez, 15, is a passionate journalist and Marvel fan. She enjoys writing for the newsmagazine, doing segments in WAHS and running her third publication, Pressing the Future. Ramirez has her head in the clouds and her heart in New York, fingers crossed she can last the next few years of high school in this Florida heat.

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