SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
February 22, 2024

Norwood’s Music Video Challenge taking over Adelaide

The clock is ticking for 10 filmmakers and bands as they race to make a music video, with international help, to screen on Monday.

  • Words: Helen Karakulak
  • Main picture: Clare Elvia

Filmmakers and local muscians are running around town filming and editing to deliver a music video to premiere on Monday, February 26 at the Hotel Metro. 


10×10 Music Video Screening

Metro Band Room at the Hotel Metropolitan, 46 Grote Street, Adelaide 5000

Monday, February 26, 5pm ‘til 8pm.


Fresh off a 22-hour long flight from North Carolina last Thursday, film and music video director Norwood Cheek filled the Mercury Cinema with excitement as he opened the 10×10 Music Video Project: a brainchild of his, presented by Channel 44 for the Adelaide Fringe. 

The premise is simple: 10 artists and 10 filmmakers have 10 days to create music video magic. 

Addressing the eager participants, Norwood explained music videos uncomplicate one of the most important aspects of filmmaking: sound. 

“When you’re trying to make a short film, one of the biggest things that gets kind of left behind or the last thing I thought about is sound – and sound can be one of the most powerful parts of any film,” he says. 

“Doing a music video you’ve got that giant component taken care of because the band’s already done all the hard work for you. As a filmmaker you get to really focus on the visuals and just worry about that.”

Norwood has directed over 60 music videos for bands including Ben Folds Five and Eels, in addition to his work as a producer and editor, known for Bring It On, The Cable Guy and Yes Man. This picture: Clare Elvia

Norwood’s number one rule for the project? There are no rules. Storyline or no storyline, visual effects, amateur acting, and anything in between goes. 

“What’s great about music videos is there’s not really any rules,” he says.

“It’s like, just do something that you’re interested in, that makes you either laugh or cry or gets you pumped about the song, something that you know you’re just into, it can be anything.

“Try to make the video that you want to see, that you feel like it’s gonna really service the song because that’s that’s what you’re doing; you’re making something that’s in honour of the song.”


New here? Sign up to receive the latest happenings from around our city – including all the cool bands you should be keeping up with – sent every Thursday afternoon. 

The challenge comes from the time frame and budget constraints, but Norwood says you really don’t need much to DIY a music video. 

“The other thing I love about this event is that it shows you as the filmmakers and the bands that you don’t need a year to do something like this,” he says. 

“You don’t even need a month, you just need an idea and the energy and enthusiasm to do it. That’s what this is all about.”

In the workshop at the Mercury, Norwood showed a clip from The Beths “Little Death”, a music video he says was shot almost entirely on his back porch with a makeshift green screen he fashioned out of green fabric and some natural light. 

“It’s like super low-budget video and you know, we just made it work,” he says. 

In the case of The Beths, Norwood reached out to the New Zealand band himself after hearing their track on the radio and finding out they’d be stopping by LA on tour.  

“That’s something you can do as a filmmaker – don’t wait for the band to come to you, the band’s hardly ever going to come to you,” he says. 

“You know, it’s like ‘I love your band, I have an idea, let’s do a video’ and for the band that’s a win for them because they probably want a video!”

If participants weren’t matched up on their own by the end of the session, the hats would be called in to help. This picture: Helen Karakulak

Norwood answering questions and playing matchmaker at the 10×10 workshop. This picture: Helen Karakulak


Norwood says music videos tend to have a longer lifespan than short films: case in point above, as CityMag has linked out to the now five-year-old video for “Little Death”.  Music videos benefit the filmmaker’s experience, give the band a vehicle to promote their track, and are a huge asset to the reels of emerging musicians. 

When it comes to the power of the music video, it’s an experience Norwood knows from both sides of the camera. 

In his uni days studying French – a major he chose with the hopes he would learn a language and get to see France – Norwood was in a band. Years on, he says his world is still mid-90s indie rock.  

“So in the back of my head, I always wanted to be involved in film and TV, so I was in a band and one of my best friends made a music video for us and I just had the greatest time doing that and that’s how I started doing music videos on Super 8,” he says. 

“It’s so fun because as a musician, I love bands… I was getting to work with all of these bands that I loved and it just kind of grew organically.

“I’m still rocking, and this new duo I’m working on, it’s just bass and drums, very excited.”

Plotting very important music video business at the Mercury. This picture: Claire Elvia

The 10×10 project is designed to connect emerging local bands and filmmakers to collaborate and has been part of film festivals across the United States and Canada. Norwood and Channel 44 first brought it to Fringe in 2023, but due to Covid Norwood couldn’t be here in person and had to Zoom in. 

This time he’s made it and is ready to rock. Norwood was last in Adelaide 20 years ago and loves seeing the city light up for the Fringe.

“The incredible response to 10×10 has been very exciting,” Norwood says. 

“It’s a reflection of Adelaide’s thriving live music and screen cultures.”

Share —