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Spike Jonze Case Study

Key Director Case Study - Media Studies A Level

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Spike Jonze Case Study

  1. 1. MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTOR CASE STUDY: SPIKE JONZE By Ellie Lester
  2. 2. Background • Spike Jonze was born namedAdam Spiegel on October 22, 1969. • He is an American director, producer and actor. • Spike created different products which include music videos, commercials, film and television. • He is best known for his collaborations with writer Charlie Kaufman, his work as director of the 2009 film ‘Where theWildThings Are’. • He is well known also for his music video collaborations withWeezer, Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim and Björk. • He was also a co-creator and executive producer of MTV's Jackass. • He is also part owner of skateboard company Girl Skateboards with riders Rick Howard and Mike Carroll. • He was well known by many for his weird but wonderful production with Bjork with her video for ‘Oh so quiet’. • Jonze was also a co-founder and editor of Dirt magazine along with Mark Lewman andAndy Jenkins, as well as an editor for Grand Royal Magazine and senior photographer forTransworld Skateboarding.
  3. 3. The Auteur Theory • Spike Jonze is an auteur theorist which means that as a director he uses the commercial apparatus of film-making in the same way that a painter uses a paintbrush and paint. • The auteur theory is a way of using personal factors in a artistic creation as a standard of reference and a feature that continues throughout directors work. • Spikes personal factor is making music videos and films that are off-beat with their storytelling, particularly their mix of live action, animation and puppetry. • The idea of having a personal factor, like a trade mark, is used amongst many directors such asTim burton. • Burton is anAmerican writer, artist, film producer and director. His personal factor is films that are dark, gothic and have lots of quirky themes. His most famous films include Beetle Juice, Edward Scissor Hands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice inWonderland. Like Spike,Tim is also know partner Helena Bonham Carter (actress) and Johnny Depp (actor).
  4. 4. Weezer – Buddy Holly • Buddy Holly was the innovator of Rock ‘N’ Roll who is also labelled as the most influential and inspirational singer- songwriter for contemporary and later musicians.The song ‘Buddy Holly’ byWeezer pays respect to him on what would have been his 58th birthday. • Throughout the music video, there is live-action from the band who are presented playing on the original set of ‘Arnolds Drive-In Diner’ from the 70’sTV show ‘Happy Days’. Furthermore, there is also a cameo in the music video by ‘Happy Days’ cast members ‘Al Molinaro’ and ‘Fonzie’, this creates a sense of union between the band and cast members. It also makes viewers feel like they are watching an episode of ‘Happy Days’ as there is a live audience who laugh at the start and end of the video. • At the beginning of the music video there are credits which shows the director (Spike Jonze) which allows it to be viewed as aTV episode or a film rather than a music video. • Overall, the visual storytelling in the video is off-beat and has a very imaginative aspect to it by making it appear as part of an episode in ‘Happy Days’ which is what Spike Jonze envisioned.
  5. 5. Fatboy Slim – Praise You • The music video for “PraiseYou” was shot guerrilla-style (on location without obtaining permission from the owners of the property) in front of perplexed onlookers outside a movie theatre inWestwood, California.The video features Spike Jonze and the dance group dance to "PraiseYou”. • Spike Jonze starred in the video under the alias ‘Richard Koufey’, along with a fictional dance group ‘TheTorrance Community Dance Group’. • The video apparently cost only $800 to produce, with most of that money going towards a replacement boom box and food for the cast and crew.The video won three major awards at the 1999 MTVVideo Music Awards: BreakthroughVideo, Best Direction and Best Choreography. It was also nominated for, but did not win, Best DanceVideo. It was voted number one of the 100 best videos of all time, in a poll to mark the 20th anniversary of MTV.
  6. 6. Conclusion • To conclude, Spike Jonze is an auteur theorist because there is a consistency of ideas used throughout his work which makes it recognisable amongst viewers. From the music videos that I have watched, his work tends to be very creative in terms of ideas, he uses a mixture of live action and music that works really well together. • His videos also have a tendency to be influenced by things/people in the past, whether that be a show, singer or television series. He always portrays then effectively within his work. For example, the ‘Buddy Holly’ music video forWeezer takes inspiration from theTV show ‘Happy Days’. • He also has a regularity of working with the same people whether that is in films or music videos. • When I create my music video I will take into consideration the originality and bravery of Spike Jonze. He is completely unique, as is his work.This helps Jonze to expand audience attention and this is why he has been so successful in his career.

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Key Director Case Study - Media Studies A Level

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