Business and Operations
When you are known by labels and have a solid resume of past work, you will often be considered for work when specific songs are in need of videos. You will likely be called in along with several other music video directors and production companies, and they will provide you with the track, a spec sheet, a full budget that they are allowing, and some other information. From this you will create a treatment for the project, including things like a story outline and information about the look, and you will pitch it back to the label and artist. If they like your take on the video then you could land the job.
When working on a music video, the director will make ten percent of the total budget, and the producer will make five percent. In general, the production company takes in 15 percent of this total budget. This may sound like a lot on larger jobs ranging from $200,000 to $500,000, but that kind of budget is only allotted to the highest level of artist. Most emerging or smaller artists will be capped between $40,000 and $80,000, and budgets are lowering as the record companies shrink. What this has meant is that more and more artists are in need of videos, but the music video director's take is going to be smaller and smaller.
Shooting a music video typically takes one to three days, but it is most common to have single day shoots. Including the pre-production and post-production, you will find the entire video being taken care of over a month's time, but this will not be the only thing that the music video director is likely to be working on.