Writing the Music Video
The music video is truly a unique art form. Taking a musical song and turning it into a successful theatrical production requires a level of artistic expression that often is hard to find. …
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Such a video captures the heart and soul of what the musician was trying to accomplish with the song. In many cases, it provides the artist with a venue that enables them to portray a deeper meaning that cannot be conveyed with mere lyrics and instrumentation alone. On the one hand, a music video describes the content of a song in visual format. On the other hand, it also seeks to analyze a deeper meaning and interprets the true feeling and emotion of the musician for the listener. Combining these tasks into one video using film, video, animation, and other electronic means, the producer of a video can accomplish these feats and provide an enjoyable experience for all who watch and listen. One such video that truly captured the emotion and depth of a song is Michael Jackson’s ‘Leave Me Alone’. Michael Jackson helped create the first major music video in the industry’s history when he did his 10-minute plus rendition of the hit song ‘Thriller’. That video was almost more like a short movie than it was a music video. That set the stage for most of Jackson’s videos. He seemed very interested in making the true essence and story of his songs come alive in video form. The music video ‘Leave Me Alone’ is certainly no exception. Taking a step back from traditional film shooting, this particular production is fully done in animation. As such, it appears that Jackson was able to accomplish much more in this video than would have ever been possible with mere stage scenery, props, and ‘live’ actors. To fully understood the context of this particular music video, it is helpful to first analyze what was going on in Michael Jackson’ life at the time. After being one of the most popular artists in the world since the age of 5, Jackson had just started to get the reputation of being quite an eccentric person. The tabloids were following him around everywhere, reporting on his every move, rather public or private. Since much of his behavior was considered ‘non-traditional’, Jackson’s actions away from the stage made his a prime target for many of the world’s ‘gossip’ reporters. It is quite possible that this is where the title for the song ‘Leave Me Alone’ comes from. He seems to be using the platform of the video to poke fun at the tabloid newspaper industry, while at the same time make the point that enough is enough. Let us analyze some of the particular scenes from the music video that demonstrate this point and see how the animation employed became so effective. The video opens with Jackson popping out of a space age trailer. As he sails into outer space, the animation clip to various headlines touting everything from his fascination with mediums and psychics, to his desire to sleep in a hyperbaric chamber. The video is full of imagery as Jackson floats through a chomping fish in a canal, greeted on all sides by various images from outer space. The animations in this part of the video are great to watch and entertaining, but even here the viewers are told a story. Jackson appears to be trying to escape the reporters following him at every point. So, as he enters the ‘fish’, his hope is that the reporters will be swallowed up behind. In addition, everywhere he looks is a new headline that just makes Michael Jackson smile and sing ‘Leave Me Alone’. The entire time he is piloting his own ship or plane, indicating he is the captain of his own destiny and that he will continue live his life as he wants, no matter how ‘strange’ others may view that to be. The animations shift towards the middle of the video as Jackson enters, what appears to be, a museum filled will famous actors, actresses, and musicians of the past. Each of these stars have their own share of off-screen antics that seem to be have been
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