How To Be A … Music Video Director

chirsChristopher Sweeney is one of the hottest (and hottest) music video directors around.

I met him almost a decade ago during the Rockfeedback days, where he worked as a guest director on a SXSW episode, but since then he’s gone and gotten himself really really bloody successful and is now one of the most sought after directors around – with one of his more notorious vids clocking up a cool 40 million views.

He’s created gems for some of the world’s biggest pop stars including Lana Del Rey, Will Young, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Paloma Faith, Jessie Ware, Foals, and that huge video for Lily Allen’s come back ‘Hard Out Here.’

I asked him a few questions to find out how he got started.

What did you do when you finished high school?
I did an art foundation then studied TV production at Bournemouth.

How did you get your big break?
My big break come from a man called John Hassay who liked a video I’d done and signed me to his production company – Colonel Blimp who made all the best videos in the world.

Tell us about a typical day at work
There is no such thing luckily but my life is split between trying to think of ideas which I do by going running with the song on repeat until the idea comes to me. If I’m in pre-production making something then it’s meetings all day every day and if I’m shooting, it’s being on set… mainly eating all the amazing but unhealthy food I’d promised myself I would never eat again.

Who are the biggest artists you’ve worked with?
I would say maybe Lana Del Rey, Lily Allen, Will Young.

Who did you love the most?
Lily Allen and Will Young have made some of the best videos of all time so I feel very lucky to have worked with them both so many times.

Weirdest experience on set?
So many – but I can tell you that a horse going mental is not a funny thing to watch.

If you weren’t a music video director what would you dream job be?
I’d write novels as they’re the only other thing that stir a similar emotion in me – books can break your heart, make you feel euphoric just like music and visuals put together can.

How do you find people to work with?
Always ask a friend…!

What can a job applicant do to get noticed?
It’s so clichéd but just be nice and work hard. No room for arrogance in my humble opinion.

Can you give us your 3 golden tips for getting into music video directing?Never give up, always do your best to be original, make things that people will want to share.

Your Career high
My videos with Lily Allen

Your Career low
Whenever an idea you’ve written doesn’t get picked

Your favourite TV
House of Cards

Your Favourite Record
Of all time? The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

A couple of your online bookmarks – the oracle for music videos run by the eminent David Knight. And Flipboard – great news aggregator.

Taylor Swift or Katy Perry?
Today it’s Tay Tay.

Last thing you searched for on Google?


Follow Chris on Twitter or Facebook.