Before heading to Hollywood, many filmmakers started making music videos. Although directing a music video is not necessarily the same as directing a film, there has always been a transferable skill set. Both media obviously use imagery and sound to evoke emotion. Over the years, making music videos has often honed the skills of filmmakers before they tackled bigger, more expensive projects.
Some of the most popular music videos in history have been directed by top directors. Although Martin Scorsese has already directed critically acclaimed films, he next directed the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Since music video credits aren’t usually well known, even famous directors have gone relatively under the radar. Here are eight major filmmakers who have directed music videos.
8 Marc Webb – My Chemical Romance, “I’m Not Alright (I Promise)”
Mark Webb was recognized as director of 500 days of summer, Giftedand the amazing spider man franchise. Before entering the film world, Webb made a name for himself as one of the best music video directors of the 2000s. Webb directed more than five music videos for My Chemical Romance, including “I’m Not Okay ( I Promise)” and “Helena”. Other artists Webb has managed for include Hilary Duff, Incubus, Green Day, Fergie and the All-American Rejects. In 2017, he directed the music video for “Dusk Till Dawn” by Zayn and Sia.
seven Francis Lawrence — Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”
Director Francois Laurent could be best recognized for his work on the hunger games franchise, but he has over a hundred music videos to his name. With her first music video released in the early 90s, Lawrence directed music videos well into the 2010s. Some of her most popular videos include Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”, “Sk8er Boi ” by Avril Lavigne, “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé. In the late 2000s, Lawrence directed the critically acclaimed music video for “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga.
6 Tim Burton – The Killers, “Here With Me”
Known for its distinctive gothic and fantasy style, Tim Burton has made many beloved classics. His filmography includes beetle juice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batmanand Alice in Wonderland. Fans wondered what a music video directed by Burton would look like, and their curiosity was finally appeased. Burton was responsible for two music videos for The Killers; “Bones” and “Here with me”.
5 F. Gary Gray – Dr. Dre, “Keep Your Head Ringing”
The fate of the furious and Men in Black: International director F. Gary Gray began his career directing music videos in the 90s. Over 20 years before directing Straight outta Compton, Gray directs his first music video with “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube. This led to more music videos and Gray made her film debut with Friday. Gray hasn’t directed a music video since Rick Ross’ “Super High” in 2010, but left an incredible legacy. His critically acclaimed music videos include Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson”, TLC’s “Waterfalls” and Dr. Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringin'”.
4 Martin Scorsese – Michael Jackson, “Bad”
Years after realizing Taxi driver and angry bull, Martin Scorsese directed the music video for Michael Jackson’s mid-’80s hit single, “Bad.” The full video was nearly 20 minutes long, with an abbreviated version under five minutes long. Shot in Brooklyn over a period of six weeks, the music video for “Bad” was inspired by West Side Story. In the same year, 1987, Scorsese directed a music video for Robbie Robertson’s “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”. Thereafter, however, Scorsese focused on feature films and did not direct more music videos.
3 Sofia Coppola – The White Stripes, “I just don’t know what to do with myself”
Multi-talented filmmaker Sophie Coppola made some great music videos. His first was for Walt Mink’s “Shine” in 1993. In the following years, Coppola directed videos for Flaming Lips’ “This Here Giraffe” and Air’s “Playground Love”. She then worked with My Bloody Valentine singer and guitarist Kevin Shields on “City Girl,” which was featured in his 2003 film. lost in translation. Coppola also directed Kate Moss in “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” for The White Stripes. His latest music video directing credit is on “Chloroform” by French indie pop band Phoenix.
2 David Fincher — Justin Timerblake, “Suit and Tie”
Noted for his expertise in directing psychological thrillers and biopics, David Fincher was the director of Seven, The social networkand missing girl. Fincher also used his skills in the world of music videos, directing Sting performing “Englishman in New York” in 1987. Don Henley, Aerosmith, George Michael, Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones were among the artists Fincher worked with. Fincher directed several music videos for Madonna, including for the songs “Vogue” and “Express Yourself.” A major part of Fincher’s music video history was Justin Timberlake’s black-and-white “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z. The music video was spectacular and won the 2014 award Grammy for Best Music Video.
1 Spike Jonze – Fatboy Slim, “The Weapon of Choice”
The director of Being John Malkovich and His, Spike Jonze, became one of the most successful music video directors of all time. In the 90s, he made music videos for Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, Weezer, REM and Daft Punk. He then directed a music video for Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” which had immense charm for not taking itself seriously. Jonze was also behind the 2011 music video for Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis.” More recently, Jonze directed a live music video for Karen O & Danger Mouse’s “Woman” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.