The Fame Fatale
Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' video: Rape culture's got a hefty price tag
Here are some things that cost $250,000.
An 8-carat diamond-and-platinum engagement ring.
A brand-new house in Las Vegas.
Raising a human being.
Know what else may have cost up to a quarter-million dollars? That "Blurred Lines" video. You know: The one with three girls, no clothes, a handful of mylar balloons and a white backdrop. That one.
Actually, to be fair, the visual representation of Robin Thicke's Pharrell-fueled jam o' the summer is actually two videos, one featuring Thicke, Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. in suits and three models in plastic shirts; the other much the same, but without the tops for the ladies.
Oh. I forgot the live goat. And the stuffed dog. And the single bale of hay. And some big words that occasionally come between the audience and all those boobies.
But still: Up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. For 4 minutes 31 seconds of ... that.
To get that estimate, The Fame Fatale turned to two highly experienced commercial, short film and video makers: Tim Hyten and Jack Daniel Stanley.
Hyten's initial theoretical budget hovered around a more reasonable $20,000 to $40,000. But then we started to drill down. And the numbers started to, well, balloon.
"I think Tim's just including studio space, gear, wardrobe and crew," Stanley mulled. But then Stanley noted that the director of the video is a veteran -- Diane Martel, the same woman who documented Miley Cyrus' latest adventure in twerking.
And we haven't even discussed the three models yet. Breakout star Emily "Meow" Ratajkowski is no Linda Evangelista, but she's not a $3,000-per-job nobody, either, having appeared in campaigns for Forever 21 and Nordstrom as well as big mags like GQ.
So how do those two factors affect the price tag? Well, put it this way. Hyten says there's still a chance that the video was made for under six figures, or maybe $120,000 or so.
But then again, maybe not, Stanley guesses.
"Tim could shoot it for under $15,000 if it was some up and coming no name rappers, with no-name models at $2,000 or $3,000 per model," Stanley mulled to me. "But it would get this is in the $250,000 range once the personalities, the director of photography, the director and the models collect their fees."
All that said, a quarter-million does seem kind of quaint compared to the heyday of music videos. Back in 1995, top director Mark Romanek directed Michael Jackson and his sister in a video for the single "Scream." The cost? Something close to $7 million.
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