film Famous Film Directors Who Got Their Start in Music Videos  

Ann Casano
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List Rules Vote up the now famous film directors whose early career music videos you think are the best.

A music video typically tells a song’s story in just a few minutes. Music videos have evolved over time to be more poetic, definitely more cinematic in their visual style, and even launched some of their creators into big time film directors. These are the famous film directors who got their start in music videos. 

People don’t really think about the power of MTV anymore. The network’s channels are largely filled with reality shows, teen dramas, and Internet clip shows like Ridiculousness. However, there was a time when MTV was king, and the 24-hour music channel turned rock bands into legends. Of course, they still make music videos today, which we can all readily see on the Internet.

These film directors who made music videos span nearly every genre. On one hand you have the big-budget box office behemoths like Michael Bay and Gore Verbinski. Then there are also the more independent film-minded, think outside the box types like Michael Gondry and Spike Jonze. Of course, no list about music videos directed by famous people would be complete without David Fincher. He is perhaps the most-acclaimed modern auteur working today, but he got his start calling the shots for pop icons like Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Call these early forays into cinema blue prints or calling cards. This list features some of the most noteworthy artists directing movies today. Be sure to vote up the movie directors who made music videos that you enjoy the most.
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David Fincher


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Video: YouTube
Considered one of the most prominent auteur directors working in cinema today, David Fincher never attended film school, even though he knew that he wanted to direct movies from an early age. The director has helmed music videos for several pop heavyweights including Madonna and Paula Abdul. Even after Fincher's incredible success in Hollywood, the cinema pioneer still enjoys directing select music videos from time to time.
 
Must See Films:
Se7en (1995)
Fight Club (1999)
The Social Network (2010)
Gone Girl (2014)

Select Music Videos:
"Express Yourself" and "Vogue" by Madonna
"Straight Up" by Paula Abdul
"Suit and Tie" by Justin Timberlake ft. Jay-Z
"Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith

Also Ranked

#17 on The Greatest Directors in Movie History

#6 on The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

#22 on The Greatest Auteurs in Film History

#36 on The Best Things from Oregon

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Spike Jonze


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Video: YouTube
Spike Jonze is not just one of the most innovative screenwriter/directors working in cinema today, the auteur is an avid Beastie Boys fan, former BMX freestyle rider, and is considered one of the most revered music video directors of all time. The Academy Award winner is also a co-creator and executive producer of MTV's Jackass and has created several skateboard videos.

Must See Films:
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Adaptation (2002)
Her (2013)

Select Music Videos:
"Buddy Holly" by Weezer
"Sabotage" by Beastie Boys
"Praise You" and "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim
"It's Oh So Quiet" by Björk

Also Ranked

#92 on The Greatest Directors in Movie History

#46 on The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked List

#47 on The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

#50 on The Most Overrated Directors of All Time

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Michel Gondry


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Video: YouTube
The French writer/director is known for creating music videos using one of the most original visual styles in the industry. The former rock drummer got his fast start directing music videos when Björk saw his work on MTV. The collaboration proved to be a major success, and Gondry would go on to direct a total of five high-budget, innovative Björk videos, and over 50 music videos for other rock bands, including The White Stripes and Radiohead. The Academy Award winner also created commercials for major companies like Nike and Gap.

Must See Film:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
 
Select Music Videos:
"Fell in Love with a Girl" by The White Stripes
"Hyper-Ballad" and "Army of Me" by Björk
"Let Forever Be" by The Chemical Brothers

see more on Michel Gondry
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Gore Verbinski


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Video: YouTube
Gore Verbinski helmed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films and won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2012 for Rango. The former punk band musician's 11 feature length films have raked-in almost $3.7 billion worldwide, which earns him the spot as the tenth highest grossing cinema director in the world (as of September 2015).

Must See Films:
The Ring (2002)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Rango (2011)

Select Music Videos:
"American Jesus" by Bad Religion
"Negasonic Teenage Warhead" by Monster Magnet
see more on Gore Verbinski