Jannie McInnes Executive Producer, Revolver Films

Jannie McInnes Executive Producer, Revolver Films
Originally from Halifax, Jannie McInnes began producing music videos in 1996 with Sloan’s "The Good In Everyone.” She is now Executive Producer of the international award-winning production house Revolver Film Company.

What kind of music videos does Revolver make?
We make videos in Canada, the U.S. and the UK for independent artists and major labels. Our clients may at once be the Hidden Cameras, Sean Paul, and the White Stripes. Making groundbreaking work for bands we love is the point of what we do, but we’ve taken on jobs for artists like Celine Dion and Aaron Carter to keep the lights on.

How do you match up a band with a director?
A label can send us a track for a specific director because they love the way that person takes music to unpredictable visual places or maybe the artist knows they want animation, for example, because the song is fantastic or they aren’t available to shoot a video. Some artists choose directors they trust and know, like Micah Meisner and k-os, who have collaborated together many times. We sent Floria Sigismondi’s reel to Sigur Rós and the video she did for the band won the award at the European MTV awards against Missy Elliott, so that worked pretty well.

In your opinion, what makes a great music video?
When you feel like the visuals are inside the music so that you get to hear the song and its parts in unimagined, totally synchronised but unpredictable ways. Marilyn Manson’s "The Beautiful People” is a good example of this. A great video manipulates emotion, like the baby animals in the Weezer "Island in the Sun” video, the violence of the U.N.K.L.E. "Rabbit In Your Headlights” video or the referencing of Aphex Twin’s "Windowlicker” video.

What are some serious no-no’s that bands should consider when scripting a video?
There are [broadcast] standards rules about violence, furs, headless women and guns that don’t apply to big acts like Jay-Z or Green Day. If something looks shitty even if it’s purposely lo-fi looking, MuchMusic will likely not play it. Don’t use MP3s as an audio source, no strobing is allowed outside Canada and if there’s performance make sure the footage is properly lip-synched!

What advice do you have for inexperienced video producers, in terms of what they can do to make things go more smoothly?
The worst videos are low-budget ones that try to emulate big budget ones. Don’t try to do bling videos on a shitty budget. Don’t do post [production] heavy videos unless you have either a lot of time, talent or money. Don’t show artists their video until the director loves it, unless they’re involved in the creative process with you. The video will suck if the artist is unhappy, uncomfortable or doesn’t trust the director. Every meltdown happens because ideas aren’t communicated properly. Reference material is good — "modernist” can mean a lot of different things. Videos can be the most exciting, experimental film format. The rewards are not financial but it’s amazing if you’re a part of delivering visual magic to the world.