Liz Kessler is Head of Music Video at Academy Films/A+. To celebrate the return of the Music Video entry category, she offers up her favourite award-winning examples, and explains the importance of the medium to the creative industries.
For 2013, D&AD dropped the Music Video category. Ever mindful of their charitable status, they felt the award was no longer viable as it had lost money for some years running.
It was a dark day for those of us out there in music video land. With budgets decimated, it's more important than ever for directors to win paid work, and an award from D&AD is a sure-fire way to get in front of the advertising world. The director who can live on music videos alone is a rare creature.
So we posted and blogged and wrote and moaned at each other in the pub. We called, we threatened to cancel our memberships and when D&AD saw the effect of their decision, they paused. The committee was surprised, they had no idea about the strength of feeling that this action would generate.
D&AD asked us to come to a meeting. With lovely sandwiches. And we got to talk about how important the awards are for us.
For example, Dougal Wilson said “As the definitive document of the year's best pieces of commercial creativity, D&AD would be incomplete without the music video section. This category is integral to D&AD's culture, and has consistently provided the awards with some of its most inspiring, entertaining, irreverent and memorable entries. And entrants."
He cited musicians as diverse as Aphex Twin and Die Antwoord, Bjork and Gnarls Barkley and filmmakers such as Nagi Noda and Encyclopedia Pictura, Spike Jonze and The Daniels as examples of everything that D&AD should be about.
In the face of these undeniable arguments, the reasons for axing the category, pretty much entirely financial, just melted away.
We're up for helping D&AD find ways of making the numbers work; after all, we're the experts in low budget. We're talking to people to encourage them to support the re-introduction of the category by entering more work. We're hoping that the record labels will get involved. But it's clear that the value to D&AD of music videos far outweighs the cost.
Hear from OK GO's Damian Kulash on the State of Music Videos
Dougal Wilson again: “If there's one category which I think completely warrants subsidisation from other, more lucrative categories, it's the music video category. It warrants this because it's one of the most exciting and inspiring categories in the D&AD Annual. Not to mention its heritage of being the starting point for many new directors who then go on to commercials and even bigger things.”
If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Professional Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.