The Role of a Music Video Director | Guest: Ainsley Bowman 🎬

5 min readNov 18, 2020

Sofas being set alight & fake blood highs.

Photos credit @ ainsleymbowman

Ainsley Bowman joins me on Ep 30. She is a Director, Creative, and Filmmaker from Glasgow. Lori, from Ep 27, included Ainsley in her shout out section and I asked to be introduced. It has blossomed since then.

Our chat will focus on Ainsley’s role as a Director for Music Videos with an aim to offer insights, advice, and knowledge about this role.

This episode includes talking through the making of a music video for the band HYYTS, which Ainsley directed earlier this year.

What we talk about.

How & when she became a Director

✨ The pitching process as a freelance director vs when you are working in a production company

The role of a production company (access to resources, edit suites, a network, etc.)

The Process of Making A Music Video — discussing a particular video from treatment ideation, pitching, pre-production, the shoot itself, post-production, and the team involved to make all this happen

Advice for Music Video Treatments — writing, prep, research & links to template resources

Shoutouts to other bodacious babes!

My guest.

Photos of Ainsley in the asset credit @ meeshabee123

Ainsley Bowman

Director, Creative, Filmmaker
Instagram @ainsleymbowman

Ainsley went to Art School in Edinburgh and specialised in ‘Intermedia’ (video, sound design, installations, performances). That is where she started to work with film

“Not a linear journey to now as a Director”

After Ainsley left Art School, she was set on film making and wanting to explore that more. Armed with ideas but not the practical skills to make them, she went on to study how to edit, operate cameras, lighting, etc. in Berlin.

Ainsley then returned to Glasgow. Whilst at Uni, she was in a music product initially called ‘Ainsley’ but developed into ‘MADES’. Part of this music project was very visual (artwork, photography, music videos) which she was making herself. Over the time of doing this, she started to learn how to film, grow a network, and get a higher production level.

Making A Music Video.

Case Study: Hyyts ‘Low Sound’

“Film making is very much being part of a team; working together to make the scenes (mini-worlds)”


  • In this case, one face-to-face meeting with the artist and then constantly on calls to talk over ideas
  • You think — Where are we going to shoot the x5 scenes in this video?
  • Assign your crew — who do you want to work with (Director Of Photography was Steve Cardno, Art Director was Marie Lidén, Producer was Beth Allan, Casting Directors, Make-Up, Wardrobe, etc.)
  • This video needed a cast (Facebook is a great tool for that)
  • Had a fight coordinator come on board as they had a fight scene (talked the guys through how to take a punch safely and ensure it looked convincing)
  • You are thinking — what do you need each scene to look like (so bring on an Art Director to work alongside you)
  • The schedule was organised by the Producer — this was shot over 2 days


After you shoot, you go into the edit

  • Ainsley Edited this too!
  • Send version to the band, then await feedback (back and forth to make those tweaks)
  • Then when you have the final sign off, you move onto the final grading to make it look pretty to be delivered to go out into the world

“Through the process of doing things you learn, you enter the world of the industry, and that is where fruitful collabs can happen.”

Selected Work.

✨ HYTTS ✨ Be Charlotte ✨ Celeste ✨ Ninth Wave ✨ The LaFontaines ✨ and more…

Advice for Music Video Treatments.

We Direct Music Videos: a treatment database which was recently set up and is an INCREDIBLE resource for examples of treatments

Promo News: a platform for showcasing amazing music videos. They credit everyone in it. A great resource to see :

  1. What music videos people are making
  2. The team and make contact with some of these folk

✨ Make your treatments look professional with software like Indesign, Keynote, Paste. Keynote & Paste are good places to start as they require less upfront knowledge (incl. templates and they have a more “drag & drop” vibe). You-Tube is a great source for learning about the software

Keep an image library. Get high-quality images to look professional. Ainsley’s process: she downloads videos, goes into Premiere Pro, and takes a screengrab to get high-quality stills. From these stills, she will put these into her image library and categorise her image library.

✨ Get good at writing your own ideas

Grow your network — reach out to people. Perhaps a skills swap when you are starting out

Maximise every opportunity — think to yourself, how can I up the production? How can I get further reach and ensure more people to see this?

✨ Stay positive


Ailie Hutcheson — Graphic Designer @dailiedesign

Melanie Dutton — Music Producer and Engineer @Melanieldu

Fiona Anderson — Super talented creative lady and also a Dance Therapist @movingwithfiona

Emily Rimmer — Filmmaker @emrimm

Jasmin Hedger — Animator/Stop motion @happeninstudio