From Atmosphere to Astronautalis: Music Videos Offer Education Through Creation

Posted by on March 26, 2013

Minnesota School of Business (MSB) Richfield is out to repeat last year’s success with another educational music video project, this time for local act Astronautalis. The video shoot project originated in 2012 as part of MSB’s focus on applied learning. This project offers real-world work experience to those in MSB’s digital video and media production program, as well as for the 12 high school students from area high schools, who were given the chance to partake in the shoot.

digital video media production, AstronautalisThe project pairs local industry professionals such as renowned music video director Justin Staggs (Foo Fighters, NOFX, Against Me!, etc.) with MSB staff and faculty, allowing students to be in a true “on-set” working environment. This year’s production took place over an action-packed two days at MSB’s Broadview Media studio facility in Edina on March 20-21. The video’s release date and world premiere event are slated for this spring.

This footage will be incorporated into a documentary about the project. The documentary will be overseen and produced by MSB’s marketing department’s video team, but primarily shot and edited by our digital video students and grads as an additional applied learning project–it’s a meta-applied learning project, if you will.

digital video media production, AstronautalisThis project was the brainchild of Sam Kovar, who does marketing and media producing for the MSB/Globe University network of colleges. The professionals and artists involved are all people Sam is connected to in the music scene.

“I keep an active pulse on the creative and music community,” Sam said. “At the end of that day, it’s really all about networking. MSB has this amazing facility and amazing program that not many in town know about. I thought, who do I know that would want to collaborate and what kind of experience can we create? How can we bridge all of these things together into a once-in-a-lifetime engaging learning experience that results in a tangible product? It’s really multifaceted, and much deeper than just a music video.”

Andy Bothell, also known by his stage name Astronautalis, performs a mix of indie hip-hop. He moved to Minneapolis from Seattle a year and a half ago, as he was drawn here by the music scene. He stated in a previous interview on the subject that he was “a firm believer in the importance of arts education,” which is why he was compelled to work on this project with MSB students.

digital video media production, Astronautalis“To me, at a certain point, it becomes more about your craft and your art than just making money and selling records,” Andy said. “There’s far more I can do than just helping myself. This is an opportunity to give back, to give the students an opportunity–that’s something I want to be part of.”

Atmosphere was the artist featured in last year’s project. That music video now has close to 300,000 views along with nearly 6,000 views on the documentary about the MSB applied learning filmmaking experience. The Huffington Post referred to the project’s success as “art at its best.”

“It came full circle for me this year when a high school student who participated in last year’s Atmosphere experience came up to me at IPR, told me he is now a student there, and proceeded to go on to all of his friends about who I was and how amazing his experience was,” Sam said. “The number of views and publicity are great, but those stories are the real payoffs and why we do what we do as creatives and educators. It’s a win win, win.”

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