Film & video

Do’s and Don’ts of Directing Music Videos

Director Lyona Ivanova teaches you what to do and what not to do when creating music videos

Music videos are their own art form, so don’t lay down any limits. Imagination and creativity are the only musts. However a few simple steps will give you a better finished, more appealing product.

Having worked on over 80 music videos for artists including: Love of Lesbian, Sidonie, Amaral, Carlos Sadness and Aitana, Lyona Ivanova knows the Do’s and Don’ts of making music videos.

Learn more in the video:


1. Let your imagination run wild

Restricting yourself is the worst thing you can do: experiment with different resources, techniques and narratives. The best music videos break barriers and create an indelible mark, thanks to their originality.

Lyona reminds you that a small budget shouldn’t put a break on things. She cites the example of the music video she directed for Love of Lesbian song “Te Hiero Mucho - La Historia del Amante Guisante” (I hurt you loads: the story of the pea lover). This super-cheap job was designed to resemble a pop-up book, and the result is very visual and very effective.

Do’s and Don’ts of Directing Music Videos 4
Scene from Lyona’s music video for Te Hiero Mucho by Love of Lesbian

2. Plan the shoot
“You have to plan things properly and have a good shoot plan” underlines the director. She also recommends having a storyboard in advance to “keep things safe”.

3. Create a good environment and enjoy the process
Lyona believes that getting the whole team caught up in a great creative environment is the best guarantee of an outstanding final product. “I know shoots can be really stressful, but you always have to find the positive side.”


1. Don’t sign up for a project you don’t like
If a song doesn’t inspire or excite you, just don’t do the video. You’ll lose one job, but it will lead to a better reel in the long term, full of projects that reflect your inspirations and talent.

2. Don’t be negative
Don’t focus on criticism when directing actors, you have to know how to get the best out of everyone. “If you liked something in one scene, rather than another, always start by highlighting the positive side,” she teaches.

Do’s and Don’ts of Directing Music Videos 6
The music video for El Incendio by Sidonie, another successful Lyona project

3. Don’t stress out
Lyona knows you will learn how to solve unforeseen circumstances with practice. The process can be very stressful and involve plenty of problems, but the solutions will usually enrich the final result.

Like these tips? Learn how to achieve your vision through the process of development, filming and post-production in Lyona’s online course: Creative and Artistic Directing for Music Videos.

You may also like:

- The Music Videos That Inspired Director Lyona Ivanova.
- Domestika Diary: Chuck Pereda.
- 8 Great Concert Photographers You Must Know.


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