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janet jackson, call on me, dir: hype williams

simple question... this video is revolutionary? please discuss.

side note: it cost more than $3m.

fungible, September 5, 2006 at 4:58:25 PM CEST

It's quite revolutionary...for 1991. But then, why does everything have to be revolutionary? Really insanely expensive is good enough for me.

(Although if yer asking if Hype deserved that VMA achievement award, oh yeah, he sure did.)

Also, why do they always mix Janet's voice so low? I could hardly tell she was singing, except that her lips were moving.

captainmarc22, September 5, 2006 at 8:59:28 PM CEST

wow that is so not a hit single....

$3 million???

yeah this was very mediocre. the shot of the two of them singing felt very awkward. Like one of those deals where you're on set and think "well, it will look cooler when we see it on film" and then it doesn't....

robodrug, September 5, 2006 at 9:30:33 PM CEST

Why do American stylists go permanently over the bleedin' top? Making the artist look like a moronic freak

G.W. Pabst said as much to Louise Brooks in... er......1929

kevathens, September 5, 2006 at 9:49:11 PM CEST

Eesh, I was hoping this wouldn't be posted. $3m is nuts. Maybe Joseph Kahn can do well with her next vid..

blackmoth, September 6, 2006 at 12:56:52 AM CEST

This video bores me. I want to love it's lusciousness but the few gorgeous visual scenes just don't hold in there long enough.

rotundus, September 6, 2006 at 1:30:44 AM CEST

3 million. Crafty musta served lobster sticks on the buffet table allday. In fact maybe lobster theme menus for all shoot days? That would of been wacked! Lobster supreme casserole bake with macaroni, heavy cream, milk, butter and greeen peas... faaacking green peas!!!


lusk81, September 6, 2006 at 4:56:58 AM CEST

Amazing how a video shot 95% on greenscreen with CGI by junior artists (simple syphlex anyone) and compositing by interns could cost this much.

I'd also bet a good dollar this is HD.

kevathens, September 6, 2006 at 5:21:37 AM CEST

Hype? Janet? Nelly?

Meet Eric, Steve, and Huse (Monfaradi)

kalstark, September 6, 2006 at 6:11:05 AM CEST

If this video actually cost anywhere near $3 million then Hype's prod'n company literally stole Janet's money. Let's remember the artist pays for their videos. Sure labels front the cash as an advance but that's all money the artist has to pay back - so this video is $3 million out of Janet's pocket.

Wow, how brazen can you be to steal money from someone this out in the open. This video could've been shot for under $200,00.00. Again, I'm not sure that I believe Janet's people paid $3 mill for this.


design_officer, September 6, 2006 at 6:21:20 AM CEST

i don't know what my problems are with it. i think it's just very flat and the camera moves are just really uninteresting. it feels like it was shot on a cardboard background. i think there are some potentially nice shots with the fabric moving when she is in the red dress.

i also feel like so much of the stuff was just added in as filler. as in 'we've got this huge budget and we've got to try to get every shot we can so let's make a cgi pirate boat'. to me it comes off looking like a cheap imitation of a barney series only not as freakish and lush. it wants to be weird and ground-breaking but it just isn't there. that's just what i think.

design_officer, September 6, 2006 at 6:54:39 AM CEST

as far as the budget i've heard between $3m-7m. i haven't been able to find the exact number online though so i went with the low-end number.

tertulio gonzales, September 6, 2006 at 6:44:55 PM CEST

¿ revolutionary ?

this is just a piece of shit.

framescourer, September 6, 2006 at 11:39:56 PM CEST

Was open-mided until Nelly Arrived looking for Moby Dick. What a waste of money! Reminded me of that duff J-Lo vehicle The Cell where the plot gets abandoned halfway through so that we can concentrate on the costume changes.

hiconcept, September 7, 2006 at 12:26:04 AM CEST

It's a pretty openly discussed "secret" that Hype pockets every damn cent on these shoots, which are through his own production company. Here's a typical current era hype shoot:

1 DP 1 AC 1 2nd/Loader 1 second unit shooter 1 second unit loader 3/3 crew A fuckload of PA's A cheap out of the way soundstage for "secrecy" purposes some green screen no producer no PM No Shame

Hype stacks money hand over fist, especially since his fx are so amazingly cut rate these days (artcenter interns anyone)

It's all pretty scummy and is really affecting the visual quality of the work of a director I used to love...but the thing to remember before you judge someone for stealing from the music biz; is that these prospective clients are typicaly people that all fuck their mothers and would run you over in a dark parking lot for 25 cents and a half a pack of smokes, so to hell with them. If they let Hype steal that's their own damn fault, a lot of smart lables simply won't hire him these days. Hey Hype, what ever happened to speed racer movie, you charlatan you?

cutcutcut, September 7, 2006 at 1:07:49 AM CEST

$3million? That's absolutely digsraceful!! I am quite flabbergasted how all that money can be spent and I can still be bored half way through the video. It's actually kinda insulting how such a huge pile of dollars can be wasted like that. The video does not justify such a cost (correct me if i'm wrong, but how much of that budget goes towards the molly-koddling of Jackson/Nelly and co?).

Yes the colours were sumptous, yes the costumes were kinda dazzling (except Nelly's bare chest...yawn), yes it was all very pretty. But what was missing? I thought it started out ok - quite intruiging, all very minimal and subtle, but then it just didn't go anywhere at all. Perhaps the downbeat subtlety of the track didn't help. If nothing much is happening with the music, then surely SOMETHING has to happen with the video, otherwise whats the point? These kinds of 'fashion shoot' videos rarely hold attention past the 1 minute mark.

Not that Jackson can't do subtle and succeed - her 'Thats The Way Love Goes' video was fantstically subtle and laid back. But where that video had warmth and personality, this is like an icebox. I don't think the sunglasses helped.

I particularly hated the Nelly 'look at me i'm grinding with Janet Jackson' moment towards the end. Really creepy.

And what's with the 1980s style alternate frame flash editing? Didn't fit at all.

I'm not sure who will like this, but for me it definately missed.

captainmarc22, September 7, 2006 at 1:46:46 AM CEST

hiconcept, wow, that was exceptional.

is this thread heading towards antville classics? I can't help but feel this is the last $3million video ever. Actually before this I never thought there would be another, but now I'm convinced this is the nail in the coffin.

though it's pretty cool an old bitter Hype is pocketing all this money as revenge for all the budgets getting slashed.

I wonder what his opinions are of his classmates who have successful feature careers and do an occasional music video "for fun".

dickthompson, September 7, 2006 at 2:07:53 AM CEST

speaking of nail in the coffin, hype could have shot a feature with that dough, in particular, this one...

now that's a pirate ship

spit, September 7, 2006 at 2:18:58 AM CEST

Hype's just overcharging labels for what they did to the Cold Crush.

kevathens, September 7, 2006 at 2:52:24 AM CEST

I've heard from good places as well that Hype's slashed down his crew, and pockets a large sum for each vid. (JK said $100K easy) Interesting info, hiconcept.

I question to what extent it's affected his work, though. It's obvious he has not reached the level of impact he had in his prime years. ("Gold Digger" is the closest contender, but even that is a little bit recycled.) But is his pocketing all the cash really what's affecting his work? If it is a factor, how much does it play? Few directors are making any quality rap mv's lately. I'd love more info on standard Hype budgets (or any other rap director) in the 90's. i.e. Breathe and Stop?

captainmarc22, September 7, 2006 at 3:05:10 AM CEST

yeah how much did those girls cost? I heard $700/day is the minimum for hot music video girls but something tells me those girls cost a lot more....

blazinglazers, September 7, 2006 at 3:08:43 AM CEST

Well that's the death of music videos right there. Pointless green-screen, pointless cg, no coherent creative vision or viewpoint, and it cost 3 million dollars. Someone with a lick of talent could've made, oh, a life time of music videos, or an amazing indie feature for that. Amazing.

cutcutcut, September 7, 2006 at 10:07:39 AM CEST

Two words sum up this video for me - Conspicuous consumption.

hype, September 7, 2006 at 8:04:19 PM CEST

I'm wondering on this site, who actually works in this industry and can offer a constructive opinion? I guarantee no one.

hiconcept, September 7, 2006 at 8:54:24 PM CEST

Hey Cap'n, Kev, good thoughts. My understanding is that Hype's budgets by prime era were the million - 3 million range, Missy Elliott - "She's a bitch" Jay-Z Big Pimpim, Busta w/ janet - Tell me what you want all well over 2.5 million.

I have not heard that this video was actually 3, because nobody spends that on anything anymore, but if anything was it certainly could have been this given that it was janet, who shot a million dollar video that she completely scrapped last album.

My feeling regarding Hype's current output, is that since he got to make the biggest videos when it was the most exciting time, and jack labels for the most money consistently (200K upfront was allegedly Hype's stipend by the end of his reign, plus day rate) now that budgets and videos are infinitly worse he just doesn't give a shit, because %50 of hype williams is better then 150% of Erik White, any day, every day. Rap videos are in a vastly different era, in which artists, management and label people actually sit down and have a real discussion about whether they should get Jesse Terrero or hold out for Benny Boom, so they can spend 550K that used to be a million and get some piece of shit that allegedly "the streets" will feel.

Glam squads still make what they always did (hair/make-up/styling was conservatively 300K of this budget a day), and star perks and travel are extortion, in this instance at least a third of the total budget.

(Side note, Girls are $200-$50,000 day rate depending on who they are. $700 buys some nice thick asseed Boom style chicks, but these girls are probably a few grand at least)


Hype sits there at home, realizing how little is required of videos these days, how his proteges donimate the airwaves with just a drop of his old pizazz, how much less money there is to work with and he thinks I've directed over 200 videos, all I have to do is shoot performance and then I can take the rest. Hype, being a star in his own right is entitled to make as much money as Nelly will just for showing up, right?

So he leaves RSA and we get Ne-Yo, Jeezy, Pharell/Kanye, Kanye, Mary J. Blige, Lil Jon etc. All exclusively performance videos shot in one location, mixed with a lot of second unit, stock footage or crap fx. This is still better then one of Boom's "narratives" but to be honest is the bare minimum possible for hype. And in my opinion, the visuals are no longer lush enough to sustain this style...nobody can watch "Number 1" and tell me Hype's visual quality is not massively compromised by the lack of funds. Its true Hype always shot copius performance, but damn it gets boring in these videos (Kanye an exception). If someone can find a link to the Alex & Martin video for that new Hillary Duff song that rips of the melody from the daft punk song, that, to me, is current example of Hype's style executed with a modicum of enthusiasm.

Again, this is not Hype's fault. I blame lables for caving in to the conservative brand name bullshit of still hiring his ass for no reason other then a lack of imagination.

And for the record, when I saw this initially I thought it was some non union equivelent knocking off hypes old ass 90's style...long black nails..quasi pan asain themes...really? Seriously, this shit is no longer fashion-forward.

And that is constuctive.

kevathens, September 8, 2006 at 1:43:39 AM CEST


I say we give Bernard Gourley some history lessons, though perhaps he's already had a few.

design_officer, eventually you'll have to cough up where/how you heard that 3m figure. If it indeed was less, we're lambasting this a bit unfairly.

cutcutcut, September 8, 2006 at 2:47:05 AM CEST

Personally, I couldn't give a rat's arse what the budget was. Thing is, I expect more from one of the biggest female pop stars in the United States. No one can deny this is a big budget video because of all involved. But there is just no excuse for 'video for video's sake'. I think this is just a lazy piece of work without any real passion.

30f, September 10, 2006 at 10:11:15 PM CEST

$2.9 million was the number I heard. Doesn't mean much, other than we both caught the same rumor. Might be be true or might not be.

I also heard (and this source would know) that there were many delays for completing the art-direction. Janet was often late and delayed in make-up (VERY standard for her), but when she finally emerged from her trailer - Hype was STILL not ready to shoot her. Allegedly, the first day they shot less than 3 minutes of film of her.

Hype does use a VERY small crew (like Kubrick) to keep costs down, but many question how many of those "saved" dollars end up on the screen. Hype also shoots multiple days and on this Janet job, things got so bad that one day (maybe the fourth, maybe the sixth) Janet shows up to the soundstage and no one is there. They pushed the shooting to the next day, but no one told the artist.

kevathens, September 10, 2006 at 11:21:44 PM CEST

This post is confusing me now. It's starting to sound like we're accusing Hype of embezzlement, which is not the tone I wish to strike, for sure.

I guess some people in the mv industry feel Hype's milking the labels and, somewhat indirectly, the mv industry, and that he's become lazy because of this? He's not simply just lost some of his touch, and perhaps he and his production company have management issues? (Are they really alone on that point?)

redxm, April 13, 2007 at 5:57:07 PM CEST

No the tone of embezzlement is not what I got at all. What i did get is that unless you personally saw or wrote a check for 3Million or can send a link to a publicized figure for this video budget you have absolutely no clue how much the video cost. The tone I got was professional jealousy because you are not getting the loot or attention Hype is. No matter who is questioning, run your little bit of no businessm no clients moving and keep your nose out of Hype's wallet.

kevathens, April 13, 2007 at 6:08:52 PM CEST

Where'd Hype go, anyway? Vacation? Jey's site lists nothing. No matter what he does I'd rather him work than not. Are budgets sinking so low that even Paul, Hype, and X are dropping off the map, or is everyone on sabbatical? Even Francis Lawrence is off to the features.

progosk, April 13, 2007 at 9:08:01 PM CEST

hi redx. are you hype's mom?

toddyokoh, April 13, 2007 at 9:44:32 PM CEST

This video is undeniably cute.

30f, April 13, 2007 at 10:17:55 PM CEST

I believe that Hype has burned much bridge lately. The poor videos and money-sucking that his Moms has forbidden us to discuss are part of the problem. Hype has his own company and he is known for striking a hard bargain on budgets and the like. I also think that he is still asking for a big multi-clip deal like the one he got to do 6 videos at once for Def Jam in 06. I would imagine labels are now even more reluctant to commit that kind of scratch to anyone, let alone a guy who is so pricey and inconsistent.

Paul, X and Meyers are getting plenty of commercial work while I bet few ad companies are willing to gamble on Hype. He likes to run things himself (to maximize his profits) while ad agencies find things like that extra shady. Ad agencies are already leary of MV types without a history of commercial success (which X, Hunter et all have established). I'm sure Hype will crop up again, he is eternal.


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