Grammy-winning kings of the quirky music video OK Go, who skyrocketed to internet fame with their film antic for “This Too Shall Pass” and “End Love”, are challenging filmmakers to direct the visuals to accompany their funkadelic new song “I’m Not Through,” taken from the band’s currently untitled fourth album. To provide inspiration, band frontman Damian Kulash offers a curated selection of his own Instagram highlights alongside a call to action. “I’ve been listening to a lot of 60s and 70s soul, and I think this was my attempt to get the same space and groove that I love from Percy Sledge or Solomon Burke,” says Kulash of the brand new track. “It turned out way more electro-disco than that. Whenever I do anything with a falsetto voice and a groove to it, people go straight to Prince in their heads—which is fine with me. He’s one of my biggest idols.” The OK Go Saatchi & Saatchi Music Video Challenge 2013 is in partnership with global creative platform Talenthouse, and renowned music video curators BUG. The competition closes on May 7, and Kulash will lead a judging panel of successful creatives who will elect the winning video, to be premiered at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this June. “I suspect I’ll like the entries that are comfortable in their own skin more than the ones that are trying to guess what OK Go would have done if we were making the video ourselves,” he says. We caught up with him to glean more insightful tips for aspiring entrants.
OK Go videos are famed for their ingenuity and choreography, like the treadmill routine for “Here It Goes Again.” Are you looking for similar outside-the-box ideas here?
Damian Kulash: In the videos we’ve made, we are usually trying to get at a particular feeling. It’s that sense of wonder, joy or surprise that you get when you come across a good idea. There’s a spark of connection you get from art, entertainment, journalism, literature, or whatever, and when it happens, the context, the technology, the medium all disappear and you feel directly connected to the human on the other side of it.
What tips can you give the aspiring filmmakers?
DK: Decide what your creative canvas is and stick with it. Give yourself rules. Don’t try to cram in every idea you have. Also, importantly, don’t let your budget or your technology be the defining parameters of your ideas or your work. It doesn’t matter how great your idea is if you can’t execute it well, so define your creative boundaries more narrowly than your logistical ones: make the creative rules tighter than the financial reality, not the other way around. Then you’ll have all the resources you need to do that particular project well and people will see the work, not its failings.
Are there any themes in the song “I’m Not Through” that might help directors to make the winning video?
DK: I think I’d pick up on the sense of playfulness and the dedication to absurdity. The pauses for the saucy triangle, the disco strings, the distorted party bass in the choruses, that ludicrous guitar solo—I hope they mean the same thing to other people as they do to me: a kind of shameless commitment to fun.
How do you think Instagram has changed the way we produce and consume images?
DK: The ubiquitous nature of cameras and the connectedness of social media mean that everyone now speaks the language of images—not just reads it, but writes it too. That’s already a pretty serious tectonic shift. But on top of that, the filters allow for something even weirder: the aestheticizing—and in a way, marketing—of our own lives and memories. They encourage people to experience life not just as a sequence of experiences but also as a sequence of potentially gripping, perfectly tuned and tweaked images that validate the very life they document.
For details on how to enter the competition, click here.