How to Make a Lady Gaga video

Joanne Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga

Listen, I’ve got no beef with Lady Gaga.  I’m not attacking anyone’s right to like her or her music.  I think a bunch of her songs are catchy, and I’m sure they make people go crazy in dance clubs.  All of that’s awesome for her.  Everyone gets excited about them and anticipates the next one and within seconds of their release there are hundreds of new uploads on YouTube claiming to be “the official” video, so there’s clearly a market out there and a dedicated fan base.  (I challenge you to go to You Tube and find the actual video–not a fan-made parody or a commentary on the video–within three tries.)  Despite the fact that so many fans of hers praise her creativity and imagination and style and all that, the truth (as I see it) is that her videos are rather formulaic.

How to Make a Lady Gaga video in 15 easy steps:

  1. Start by watching a bunch of Madonna video and steal what you see.  For the Alejandro video, for instance, make sure you watch Madonna’s videos for “Erotica,” “Express Yourself,” “Justify My Love,” “Human Nature,” “Like a Prayer,” and of course, “Vogue.”  In fact, put “Vogue” on repeat and watch that 20 or so times in a row.  (Hint:  If anyone accuses you of trying to rip her off, tell them it’s an homage.)
  2. Go black and white or rely on silhouettes when possible; the shadowy looks hide your flaws.
  3. Have lots of shots of you in underwear.
  4. Have lots of other people in their underwear, especially men with hairless chests.
  5. Never underestimate the value of latex suits.
  6. Go steampunk or future-tech.
  7. Have a gang of semi-threatening men rough you up a little, but then dominate them later.
  8. Insert some meaningless religious imagery, e.g. wear a red leather nun’s costume.
  9. Ways to distract attention away from your large, rather unfortunate nose:  (1) wear big goofy sunglasses, (2) wear big goofy wigs or hats, (3) cover your face in masks, (4) use extreme eye make up, (5) have videographers use MySpace angles, and (6) if you absolutely must have a shot of your face without any of these things, either keep the clip very short or make sure your hands are moving around your face in a distracting manner.
  10. Try to include scenes of bondage, S&M, psuedo-gang rape, and/or hot gay action.
  11. Play around with gender roles, but in a limited way.  (You know, have guys wearing fishnets and girls wearing suits, that kind of thing.)
  12. Get psuedo-political by making vague allusions to Nazis that don’t really mean anything, without admitting you just really like the costumes.
  13. Keep the music repetitive: this is best done by treating verses as choruses and separating them with other choruses.
  14. Put lots of technical effects on your voice.
  15. Try to appeal to audiences of gay men and young women who mistake sexuality for empowerment.

And, please, before you tell me I’m wrong, watch a few of her videos and see how frequently these things appear.

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2 Responses to How to Make a Lady Gaga video

  1. C-mor says:

    dammit you’re right…she’s all about shock value and not much substance. Not to mention that her videos are extremely cool, but they hardly ever have anything to do with the actual songs. I mean, the song Telephone has no relation to the context of the video…other than the fact that the song is played. And it’s like she’s trying to make a big political or cultural statement, but she ends up just confusing me and distracting me with men humping each other.

    And apparently this Alejandro video was supposed to be a comment on “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” in the military. Which I sort of got, but then she was at a funeral and wearing a red latex nun outfit…and she lost me. Yes, she’s interesting, yes she’s provocative, but original or truly creative…i dunno.

    That all said, I still think her music is fun, and I enjoy listening and getting funky to it. Am I going to pay $160 for a ticket to her show? Probably not. Am I going to build a Little Monster shrine to her in my living room? Definitely never going to happen. Yet, I love this crazy bitch and she’s definitely keeping things interesting in a “beiber-kesha” filled pop world.

  2. Deb says:

    I have always thought LG and her video’s were very much like Madonna’s. Same sexuality, shock value, and having a bit of an edge.

    I remember watching Madonna at the MTV Music Awards in the 80’s rolling around on the stage in a wedding dress, singing ‘Like A Virgin’. I found myself thinking she was really making a turn away from her teeney bopper pop-goth personality and heading down a completely different path. This is when she really became interesting as an entertainer, in my opinion.

    I must say I do like LG to a certain degree, and I guess it is because she is more theatrical then most vocalist today. I don’t always “get” her, however. (Just like Madonna) Maybe it’s me because I’m not young & hip anymore.

    I found this quote regarding her new video, Alejandro:
    Gaga describes the video as “a celebration of my love and appreciation for the gay community, my admiration of their bravery, their love for one another and their courage in their relationships. In the video I’m pining for the love of my gay friends–but they just don’t want me to be with them.”

    Gosh, thanks LG, for clearing that up for me!

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