February 18, 2005

Master Director

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Having written Daze articles for three years, I have had bad experiences: reviewing chick flicks, missing deadlines and writing articles that are so bad, they’d serve better purpose as toilet paper. It has been tough at times. But this week, a half-hour made up for everything. I, along with a half-dozen other writers, was given the enormous privilege of having a conference call with Dave Meyers, the video director, who was in Los Angeles.

Who is he? Ever see the I-Pod commercials with dancing silhouettes? Well unless you’re blind or a pathological liar, yes you have. Dave is most known for directing over 190 music videos including Missy Elliott, Kid Rock, Jay-Z, DMB, Outkast, Lil’ Jon, Dido, Usher — well I’ll stop there.

Now, he’s moving into commercials and feature films. Dave’s interview was sponsored by Mastercard’s “Priceless” Internship, in which 36 college students nationwide will get the opportunity of a lifetime, working alongside executives in the film, music and sports industry. This is the second year that Dave has been a apart of the internship. The following is the cream of the crop responses from the 35-minute Q & A.

Q: What do you think about new bands like Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse?

Dave Meyers: I think that stuff is brilliant. It’s opening up doors for the chance for the small guy to get in and promotes independent music. That attitude promotes independent films as well.

Q: What made you get involved with the Mastercard Internship?

Dave Meyers: I was an abused intern; I did about ten internships. I had to wash fruit, photocopy… it was not very balanced with allowing me responsibilities and exposures. I had a couple of awesome internships, and now I know the value of an internship that works against one that doesn’t work. Mastercard’s done a great job in opening up the right doors to go experience the right things with the right people. I really wanted to support this program.

DAZE: (my first question) You’ve expanded into commercials and films along with music videos, do you have a preference and what does each one offer above the rest?

Dave Meyers: My music video interest has dwindled after doing 190. I’d like to think that I retired at the top like Jay-Z. Videos in general are like a paid film school. Commercials are great because they are a 10-hour day as opposed to a 20-hour day, but there’s more politics. Movies ultimately are the place I will be the most comfortable. I will get to tell a story about people. I’m really excited about that personal aspect because I haven’t really had that yet. Commercials will be my main staple right now.

Q: What sets one apart from the thousands of others trying to break into entertainment?

Dave Meyers: You need to communicate your passion. You need to be passionate and propel your enthusiasm for the entertainment business and let other people see that. Don’t talk about it, just do it. Financially-challenged? I shot a $10 digital video project in high school and it got me my first paying job. I borrowed lots of equipment. It’s about your ability to communicate your ideas and be passionate. Not how flossy and glossy it is.

Q: Do you have a lot of creative license on your projects or do you have to cater to the individual artist?

Dave Meyers: A lot of the artists have ideas, so every video should be catered to the artist and what they’re about, cause it is essentially an advertisement. You shouldn’t stray too far away form their vibe. That said, some artists have very few ideas and other artists have extremely specific ideas. Both extremes work. Janet Jackson likes directors to express themselves so she stays removed. Her collection of videos is very different and unique. Andre from Outkast dictates everything, he’s almost a full-fledged directors. He’s not doing camera angles, but he’s very active in the ideas and creative concepts. It depends.

Q: Has the discussion of new censorship laws affected the way you envision videos?

Dave Meyers: Yeah. I try to convince people to not spend too much time doing shots that will get cut from MTV. Budgets are becoming lean and I’ve been a victim of some censorship. Some artists have gotten heat from MTV, some artists have been loved, It’s a very weird scale of standards with MTV. Since the Super Bowl last year, the FCC’s been rigorous, changing a free flowing entertainment world into a new unpredictable direction with censorship. In general, though, it’s never hurt my creative vision.

DAZE: (my second question) What’s it like working with the artists in post-production and how close do you work with your editor?

Dave Meyers: A good portion of the artists I’ve worked with had no comments on the post-production. A few of the divas want beauty touch-ups. J. Lo requests and studies dailies to make sure that every best shot she did make the video. The diversity makes an interesting life experience between your own ideas and what each artist wants. I’ve used the same editor for the last eight years. For a while I’d help in the editing room with him, now he’s independent and sends me stuff when he’s finished.

In the end, we all said goodbye and thanked Dave for his time. I returned to another night of dealing with the snow and Dave returned to another night of dealing with the stars.

Archived article by Dan Cohen
Sun Staff Writer