Henry Scholfield on Making Music Videos Worthy of Hit Artists
Like many directors who found a career in music videos, Henry Scholfield grew up on the MTV diet. It was mostly thanks to his friend Benji, who had access to the channel. Scholfield would go around his house even when Benji wasn’t there (Benji’s mom let him in) and he soaked it all up. “I would watch clip after clip and just sit there waiting for my favorites to come back,” he recalled. These include, among other things, “anything Gondry.” You would just have to sit closer to the screen. It was like watching magic in some of these videos. Also Jonathan Glazer, namely his video for Unkle and Thom Yorke’s track, Rabbit in your headlights. “I was curious because it wasn’t like a movie, it wasn’t like anything you’ve seen,” an experience echoed by many YouTube commenters. “Spike Jonze too, of course.” But above all ? “99 Problems is my favorite video of all time.
Fast forward to Scholfield’s senior year of college and he was beginning to experiment with his own creations, gorging on scholarly books on film and the UCLA reading list in place of the usual graduation route. movies. Armed with the handy camera he stole from his sister, Scholfield made his first amateur documentary about the hip hop subculture in the UK at the time. “It was like graffiti artists, scratch DJs, MCs and stuff like that – a lot of MCs. I was going to venues and interviewing them and shooting rap battles and all that kind of stuff,” he recalled. This eventually evolved into him making his first hip hop videos, which in turn laid the groundwork for a career directing music videos (many of them award-winning) for some of the world’s biggest musical artists: Billie Eilish, Stormzy , Rosalía, and now Ed Sheeran, whose new video was released today.
Watch even a handful of videos of Scholfield and his propensity for movement, dance and choreography is evident. Is there a link? “My mother was a dancer,” he explains. “And also I was a very graceless B-Boy. All power moves in breakdancing and no uprock or toprock. I was less good at it, but still in the idea of dance and I saw a lot of things growing up, contemporary dance, which influenced me. But I’ve always been interested in that as a form of expression and how you use dance to create feelings or use choreography to create feelings.