The Director’s Chair: Back In The Hot Seat


I finally can dust off my director's chair.  It's been a minute since
we last connected, but I'm glad to be back. This time I am going to walk
you through the process of the way I direct a music video.  I know
every working music video director out there has a process, but I have a
unique one that works for me and I would like to share it with you all.

been hard for me lately in the music video world. A lot of artists and
labels just simply don't have the money to finance visuals for their
projects anymore.  That's why I have decided to once again take matters
into my own hands and finance my own projects.  I saw that Current TV
was holding a contest to direct Common's latest video for his next
single "Make My Day" featuring Cee-Lo, so I decided to enroll to see
what would happen.  They actually provide the footage of Common performing
the song in front of a green screen, and it is on you to decide what you
are going to do with it. I have a background in network TV and I love
telling stories so I am going to combine his green screen footage
within an overall story that I plan on shooting this weekend.

This is actually a good opportunity for me to share my process as I
don't have to worry about label politics and keeping the information
about the shoot under wraps.  So join me on my two week quest to direct
a music video for Common.


The first thing I try to do when I get ready to submit a bid for a job
is to grab some headphones, download the track on iTunes and listen to
the song on repeat so I can get a vibe for the song and find out its
underlying message. The next thing I do is transcribe the lyrics into
a Word document so I can literally break down what the song and the
lyrics are about.  A lot of times there is a story already mapped out
in the lyrics and luckily with this Common record there was one.  After
I have written out the lyrics I close my eyes and listen to song at
least ten more times.  I try to see the visual in my head and normally
an idea comes to me almost immediately.  After I see the video in my
head I write the beats of my vision down using bullet points.


  • Leading lady walks on toward beach holding her Video MP3 player and her towel
  • She sets up her tanning area
  • She hits play on her video MP3 player and we see Common's performance.
  • Our leading male jogs down the beach and spots our leading lady
  • The top of her cooler blows off and lands in his path
  • He takes it over to her and introduces himself
  • She shakes his hand and thanks him for his help
  • She offers him a beer out of the cooler
  • He politely declines but respects how how cool a move that was
  • They continue to have a conversation.
  • The leading male pulls out a flier for a cook-out and hands it to her
  • The flyer reads "Make My Day Cook-Out"
  • She smiles and tells him that she will think about it.
  • He jogs off
  • The leading lady looks at the flier and debates going to the event
  • She puts the flier down

That is my beat sheet for the first verse of the song.

After I have beated out the entire song, from the instrumental intro to
final fade out, I get more specific and write up a detailed treatment. I will share my treatment and my pre-production process right here on my SoulBounce blog this upcoming Friday.  I hope this blog is helpful to
any and all up an coming filmmakers and directors.

You guys have a
blessed day, and I'll leave you with this quote:

"If you're not willing to invest in yourself then why would you expect somebody else to?"

Matthew "Mac" Cherry
Cherry Entertainment
Follow me on Twitter

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6 Responses

  1. Definitely looking forward to vicariously going through your process. I am currently learning how to do some quality video blogs for my site and hope to learn some lighting techniques and other camera tricks! Thanks Mac for sharing!

  2. It's great to learn the process behind your artl. Thanks for sharing. I'm definitely looking forward to the final product!

  3. Director Cherry started out as a lowly paid PA just a few short years ago to now being called a Director. I commend his efforts and wish him much success. I look forward to his tweets daily and will follow-up with his blogs periodically. Thanks for sharing your talents. It has inspired me, even in my mid 30's making a decent salary, to seek out similiar creative interests as a possible mid-career transition move. Hopefully, I'll have the courage to make the change with the process that Director Cherry shares.

  4. It is indeed very impressive in a short period of time to go from PA to director. Director Cherry put in the work learning the business from the bottom to the top. I hope to go from PA to Producer as I attend a Los Angeles PA 2 day bootcamp coming to South Carolina in about 10 days. Thank you Mr. Cherry for sharing your gift and not keeping it to yourself.

  5. very cool. cant wait to see the rest.

  6. All I can say is thank you. So many people have the knowledge and don't want to break it down and tell up and comers how it's done. They just give general advice about passion will get you where you need to be. Passion isn't "hands on" knowledge. Passion without the knowledge can't help you succeed because you don't know how to get from point A to Point Z. So thank you thank you thank you for taking us through the process step by step.