Since making their directorial debut with Kanye West's “Through the Wire” video in late 2003, the duo of Coodie & Chike have gone on to do much more than just music videos. They launched the highly successful Creative Control website, which houses their own sharp clips and recently branched out into film with 2012's Benji, a documentary on the rise and tragic death of Chicago basketball star Ben Wilson. Hive recently rang up the duo to ask them about their process and wrangled five tips for all of you aspiring music video directors.
1. Just Shoot It and Worry About the Logistics Later
Coodie: When we got the Gil Scott-Heron video, we listened to it and were like, you know what, we got a vision but I don't think we should write this. We told the management that we'll shoot the video and if you like it, you can give us the money you want give us and you can have it. But if you don't, we'll put it on our website.
2. Build Relationships With Artists
Chike: Most of the videos that are successful that we do, we work directly with the artists like Kanye, Erykah, and Joey of course. Coodie had a direction with Kanye [for “Through the Wire” and showed an interest in Kanye. The artist can be major, but you can't be scared to put your foot out there and show them your work and just say, “I wanna work.” Build a relationship. It's important to put yourself out there and get involved with an artist and build it into something more.
Coodie: If you have a vision and find someone that you think is talented, that's where I think you can start. Like Chike said, get your camera and just start filmin'.
3. Don't Sell Your Soul For Money
Chike: Regardless of how good of a deal it is, if it doesn't feel right, then it isn't. The times when money is the deciding factor, it becomes a headache and you can lose control of the situation. We've been in those situations.
4. Don't Shy Away From the Unknowns
Chike: You have to make the opportunity. There's this thing called luck, but you can't wait. If you wanna direct, just direct, especially now because there are so many more resources. Musicians need directors right now more than ever and that's why we created Creative Control. Find a young artist you like and if what you create is good, than it will make some noise. There is so much talent out there right now. It's a prime time to really work with someone up and coming. It's a renaissance right now.
5. Maintain Your Vision
Coodie: Like with “Through the Wire,” it's a vision that you just have. With Kanye, he was 17 and he would go up to the barbershop with these tracks and try to sell it to one of my guys and I would hear the tracks and thought they were good. And I had a TV show called Channel Zero with local hip-hop artists on the rise and they'd go to Kanye's house to get beats. Then I saw Kanye start rapping and I knew he was the one. I had also just seen the documentary Hoop Dreams and thought I should do a Hoop Dreams on Kanye, so I started filming. Then he moved to New York and I knew I had to get out there because I had the vision of what had to be done. And we were day to day with Kanye at that point, which led to creating “Through the Wire.” That's the vision that led to video -- seeing it and believing in it and moving on it.
Watch Coodie & Chike's video for Joey Bada$$' "Underground Airplay" below: