Life, passion and music videos

by Annie Leung

As the star of a music video slowly dozed off on a couch, the extras wasted no time socialising with one another and the production crew members munched their snacks during a hard-earned break, one man ˇV Jacky Lee Chi-lun ˇV sat alone at the back of the room, still working. The director was drawing the storyboards for the next scene. It was the third day of shooting that music video, and he had not slept for the past 48 hours.

ˇ§Time is limited. We have no other choice but to get everything well done before the deadline,ˇ¨ said Mr Lee, one of the most talented and well-known music video directors in Hong Kong .

Despite constraints, the 31-year-old passionate director insists on striving for the finest quality of his work, which, he says, is a blend of beautiful pieces of music and creative imagery that captures peopleˇ¦s imagination.

Mr Lee realised his interest lay in creative media and music video production when he was working for Television Broadcasts Limited as a programme assistant ˇV the first full-time job which he took up shortly after his graduation from high school in Canada .

Later in 1996, Mr Leeˇ¦s best friend, who is a Taiwan actor, helped him get
a chance to shoot his first music video. Two years later, Mr Lee made a breakthrough in his career when he did a video for pop singer Kelly Chen Wai-lamˇ¦s ˇ§Take My Handˇ¨.

To Mr Lee, directing a music video is different from making a TV programme or movie. He can be more creative in music video production. ˇ§I donˇ¦t have to base my ideas on a script, and that allows me to create whatever I want,ˇ¨ he said. He also said he enjoyed the freedom in shooting music videos. Whenever he is in a bad mood, the director, who described himself as a pessimist, finds his world ˇ§refreshedˇ¨ through the camera lens.

Mr Lee is dedicated to producing high-quality music videos although the budget is often tight and the production cost is huge. Since the budget normally
cannot be changed once it is fixed, the more he spends on the production, the less he earns.

ˇ§The situation now gets even worse as music companies give less and less money for the music videos,ˇ¨ he said.

Still, he said he would rather sacrifice his earnings than compromise the
quality of his work.
In 2001, he spent an extra of $100,000 in a music video for the popular girl group Twins for the sake of excellence in quality.

[next page]

Gardening angel