A music video that effectively communicates the messages, themes and thrust of the song on show is now – perhaps more than ever before, the make-or-break feature of that piece of music.
And this, according to leading filmmaker Andy Cutta, is why music videos must be carefully crafted, well made and given as wide a platform as possible.
Andy Cutta is a name closely associated with music video production in Zimbabwe, and it’s an area he is keen to see develop further, with benefits for artistes, the film community and music fans alike.
He also believes that Zimbabwean music videos could become the envy of Africa, if their creativity, uniqueness and communications ability can become the hallmark of the Zimbabwean music video.
Andy was born in Bulawayo and grew up there and in Harare and became a qualified IT specialist. He took an interest in filmmaking and is now what he describes as a self-taught filmmaker keen to grow and develop and to contribute to the country’s growing reputation.
“What makes for a good music video? It’s a piece of film that is memorable and enjoyable, of course, but should also convey or translate the vision, words and feelings of the writer and performer into something that the audiences can see clearly and understand,” he said.
Andy believes a good video will stimulate sales of a song or album and that a bad video can harm the song and the performer.
“In this digital, global age a music video is the best marketing tool an artiste has, if it is good. It flows from the excellence of the performer and the level of investment an artiste has for his or her brand and it can make a mark on audiences,” he said.
Andy has enjoyed all the work he has done so far and finds it hard to identify one that is perhaps the one he has had the most fun with. “That’s a tough question, lol. I have had huge fun on most videos I have shot, but if have to pick just one then perhaps it is the one with Tammy Moyo and Jah Prayzah, a hectic but fun shoot that was rewarding in so many ways, especially artistically.”
As a content creator, director, cinematographer and producer, he looks at the whole scope of a production he is involved with and sees his role as adding value to the whole process.
He likes his performers to equally enjoy the experience of filming a music video and advises them to be relaxed but alert, as well as geared to communicating the essence of the piece of music, as originated in the mind of the writer.“Professionalism. Enjoyment. Strength. Conveying the message. These are key,” he said.
Andy has been thrilled with the platforms his productions have been given, and many of his works have appeared on channels on the DStv platform, which gives access to an audience across Africa.
“A lot of my videos have been on DStv: Tammy, Takura, Mai Mwana, Sandra Ndebele, Vimbai Zimuto with Donald … many more, of course, but these I recall.”
Away from his own productions, he enjoys the work of other filmmakers, and on the DStv platform he is especially fond of a variety of shows such as BBC’s Top Gear, CNN’s African Voices and Inside Africa.
“I really enjoy the current affairs programming on DStv, and I like to watch a wide range of content as this is important as a viewer and as a filmmaker,” he said.
The sky’s the limit for Andy and, already an award winner, he hopes to be on a continuous journey of learning, creating, succeeding and making film products that people enjoy and value.