Acclaimed music video director Dave Meyers could tell you a few surprising stories about the artists he has worked with. Who knew that Dave Mathews, who Meyers describes as “a soulful, serious person” drank half a bottle of Jack Daniels and launched into a stand-up comedy routine before filming the video for “I Did It”? Meyers could also tell you that Andre Benjamin of Outkast is “practically a full-fledged director in himself,” while Janet Jackson is usually removed from the creative process.
In the seven years that Meyers has been at work, he has been the creative genius and energy behind over 190 music videos. Meyers has worked with some of the music industry’s most popular stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Nelly, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z and Pink. Having a reputation for capturing an artist’s original image and appeal, Meyers has become one of the most sought after directors among artists today. In a recent Hatchet interview, he reflected on his career and the music industry and commented about his current work outside of music video territory.
“My job can be a hustle,” Meyers said. “There are a lot of politics involved. Right now I’m trying to take what I’ve learned and hand it back to the next generation.”
Meyers began his involvement in film production straight out of college. After producing the short film “Copper Woman” for the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, he joined forces with Paramount Pictures on the films “Face/Off” and “Twilight.” Eventually, his work shifted to music videos, where he found his niche.
Meyers gained appeal among artists seeking to use their videos as vehicles for exposure and image reinvention. “Every video should be catered to the artist and what they are about. You shouldn’t stray too far away from the vibe of the artist when making a video,” he said, discussing the director/artist collaboration process involved in making a video.
Meyer’s craft has earned him dozens of nominations and awards for his work with Outkast on “Bombs over Baghdad” and Missy Elliott’s “Work It.” On collaborating with Elliott, Meyers said, “Every time she calls, she demands to be totally different. In addition to trying to keep up with her growth, I have to reinvent my wheel every time.” But he described the finished product as his most successful from both artistic and technical standpoints.
Two years ago Meyers became a part owner and commercial director for @radical.media – the largest commercial production media and entertainment company in the world. Meyers incorporated a music division – @radical.media/music, into the company, which serves as a launching pad for aspiring directors. While Meyers did reminisce about his good fortune and the accolades from directing music videos, he said he is moving increasingly deeper into different waters.
“My interest for music videos has definitely dwindled,” he said. “I feel like I’ve pretty much touched and done everything. Now I’m just interested in making the occasional video that really touches someone.”
Meyers is branching out into commercials and films, work he describes as being more of a political-type nature in which his work is not catered to individuals but rather conforms to a more corporate culture. Recently, Meyers has directed commercials for Hummer, Joe Boxer, “Apple I,” iPod and Adidas.
For anyone interested in directing, Meyers said the best place to start is with an internship, plugging the MasterCard International sponsored “Priceless Experience” internship contest, which gives college students the opportunity to work in music, film and sports. According to Meyers, the key to his success has been a genuine passion for his work: “Whatever you do, you need to be able to communicate your passion and learn to propel it for others to experience.”