Another gem from hypebot. Mark Romanek explains the budget of Michael and Janet Jackson “Scream” video.
Mark: Yeah, I mean, listen. I want to go on record, again, as saying that “Scream” is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive music video ever made. This is not true. Guinness made a mistake.
Question: Oh, really?
Mark: Their book is inaccurate. There was a music video made by Propaganda Films back in the day for Guns N’ Roses and for Michael Jackson that cost millions of dollars more than “Scream.” “Black and White” cost $9 or $10 million. And some Guns N’ Roses extravaganza with oil tankers, I can’t even remember the name of is, cost something like $9 or $10 million. So I am annoyed that I am on record as this profligate maniac who spent $7 million.
Question: I don’t think anybody looks down at you for that…..
Mark: The reason that video cost such an obscene amount of money was that the record label came to me too late with a hard release date. And they said, “We’ve got the two biggest pop stars in the world, brother and sister, Janet and Michael together for the first time.” And Michael’s crazy. Everything’s got to be the biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest, best, best ever in all of history. And they gave me something like five weeks from the day they came to me to this hard premiere date. The song brought to mind, these sounds of explosions and stuff in the beginning sounded like spaceship engines igniting and stuff. So I got this idea about these two lonely brother and sister in their own private spaceship, kind of based on Cocteau’s “Les Enfants Terribles.” Where am I going to go? The spaceship location?
Mark: So had to build all huge sets and do all these huge effects. Think about it. It takes two weeks minimum to figure, write it down, prep it and budget it. Then it took 10 days to shoot it. That left us two and a half weeks to edit it and do the visual effects. So they, not me, had to throw money at it to get it done. And two million dollars of that was Michael and Janet’s perks and security and campers and trailers and assistants who have assistants that have assistants. So two million of that didn’t even go on the screen. So that’s that story. But it is not the most expensive music video ever made. I sound a little defensive about it because I am. But in answer to your question…
Question: I didn’t mean it that way.
Mark: No, no, no. I’m glad I got to go on the record about it finally. Also, to continue in my defensive rant, I’ve made music videos for $90,000. The Johnny Cash video cost about $100,000, which sounds like a lot of money to some struggling film student. But, professional filmmaking, it’s not a lot of money. Some of the less expensive things are my favorite things. Like the “Devil’s Haircut” video, I think it was about $250,000. But all I care about is do you have the resources to do the thing well? Every project has different requirements. And I just want to have the tools, which are time, money and people’s patience basically, to pull it off.