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The Director’s Chair: The Treatment

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Hello everyone, Matthew Cherry back with the second installment of
my blog that gives you a look at my process of directing a music video.
 As you may already know I am submitting a music video for a contest on
Current TV to direct Common's latest music video for his next single
"Make My Day." Today I am going to be talking about writing a treatment.

What I am about to share is my unique treatment writing process. I do not claim that this is the only way it can be done.  
The
other day
I spoke on writing out a beat sheet with bullet points that
simply describes your vision simply and easily. Well a treatment is
the tool you will need to book jobs directing music videos so it has to
be an expanded version of your beat sheet. With a treatment you need
to be able to fully communicate your vision to the label or artist and
show how it can realistically be done within the means and resources
that you will have. I try to close my eyes and listen to the song on
repeat and see how each part plays out in my head. I then look at the
lyrics, which I have already transcribed, then cross reference and
align the lyrics with that vision and write it out. I try to keep my
treatment between one to three, pages and I always try to include a lot of
picture references. 

Here is my treatment for Common's "Make My Day":

The song "Make My Day" is a feel-good record about a man
letting a girl he just met know how she makes his day. The song has a very defined narrative in the
lyrics that I plan on following pretty accurately. We are going to shoot at a private beach in
Malibu and really try to evoke the emotions of the song. We are blessed to have two incredible leads
for this video. Playing the female lead is Celestina Aladekoba and playing the male lead is
Marcus Howell. I already have footage of
Common singing the song in front of a green screen and we will creatively work
his performance set ups within the music video.

celestina.jpg

The picture opens with an all white screen. Camera pulls back and we see the letters
C-O-M-M-O-N spelled out in a space like background. We see that one of the O's is actually the
planet Earth rotating. Camera zooms into
the planet earth through the clouds, and with a series of cool VFX shots we end
up in Malibu, California. We see a shot
of Celestina walking from her car to the perfect spot on the beach where she
sets up camp. Here we will see the title
credits for the song "Make My Day." She
is in mid set-up as she carries a portable stereo with iPod capability with her
towel and suntan lotion.

The chorus comes on. She arrives at the perfect spot and
lays down her beach towel next to her cooler, suntan lotion and
radio. She hits play on her iPod and
sets up shop. We see Common's image on
the iPod.  She gets the suntan lotion out
and starts putting it on her body. We
will shoot this sequence with a series of high frame shots to get it in slow motion
and shoot her very seductively. She
finishes up, puts her shades on and starts relaxing.

The first verse comes on and we see Marcus jogging down the
beach with his shirt off.  He notices
Celestina and smiles at her on the line "enjoying the Nile, Whooh, taking the
breeze in." We see the top of her cooler
blow off and land near his feet. Marcus
takes it over to her and gives it to her. She accepts it back. He
introduces himself to her and extends his hand. Celestina accepts his hand and
takes it in hers and introduces herself. She offers him a beer on the line "she had drinks in the cooler and I
had an invitation, if I wanted I could brew up, this is just an indication of
how cool she was." He politely declines,
as he is working out. They continue to converse and all seems to be going
well.  We see Marcus pull his phone out
to get Celestina's information. She
gives it to him. He then precedes to gives her a flyer. It is advertising a "Make My Day"
cookout. 

The chorus comes back on and we see Marcus jog off. Here I am going to have Celestina do a slight
yoga like stretch and attempt to capture this in a sexy and seductive way and
then I will end it with her getting in the water and frolicking around a little
bit. She finishes up and we fade to
black.

marcus-ray-howell.jpg

The second verse comes on, and we see Celestina making her way down the hill on her way to a
secluded beachfront barbeque. We see
several people walking around and mingling. Marcus spots Celestina and walks up and gives her a hug. They both have
changed clothes at this point. She takes
off her shoes and lets her feet breathe in the sand. They pass a bar set up with a TV screen
and bottles of alcohol everywhere then Marcus brings her over to a table where
he was about to play Spades at. We show
them interacting and playing cards and having a great time. Celestina takes a book and slams it on the
table and she and Marcus celebrate that they have won. We see someone go over to the portable TV and
turn it up.  On this TV we see Common
performing the record.  On the line "We
dance and danced away yo, I showed her how the step is like the tango." We see
Marcus grab Celestina's hand and dance with her. They look into each others
eyes as they dance and have a great time. After they finish dancing, Marcus whispers in her ear asking her if she
wants to leave the party. She agrees to
but its not to go and do what everyone is thinking they are about to do.

On the final chorus we see Celestina and Marcus walking hand
in hand on the beach.  As the song fades
out she put her head on his shoulder and we fade to black.

And that's it!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my process. We shoot tomorrow and I am really excited.  Here goes a final thought:

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."

Matthew "Mac" Cherry
Cherry Entertainment
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5 Responses

  1. Very nice concept. Good Luck with the Contest!!

  2. Thanks Director Cherry. Now I know what a treatment is. I like the visual image you are giving with this treatment. I can close my eyes, listen to the song, and imagine the above. Great concept. Good luck with the contest.

  3. I think its great that you are sharing the treatment with the audience. I am looking forward to visually seeing it after the editing which is my favorite part of the process. Good Stuff!!

  4. Thanks for sharing the incite of making a treatment. As you've noted it is your process. The visuals in a video makes the song come to life and your process is outstanding. I wish more current videos followed this concept. Reminds me of back of the day during the time of BET's Video Soul. Continued success and looking forward to more.

  5. Class is in session and I'm taking notes.



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