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Even Nominated Directors Have To Buy Pricey Tickets To MTV VMAs
For some music video directors, getting nominated for the MTV's Video Music Awards is on par with the Oscars for films. So, that's why one director was really excited when he found out he was nominated for a VMA, but his "heart sank" after finding out that he would have to pay over $400 for his own ticket just to attend the awards show.
Los Angeles-based Josh Forbes, who co-directed the music video for indie pop outfit Walk the Moon's popular "Shut Up and Dance" track, was nominated for Best Rock Video award earlier this month. After realizing he didn't have the money to attend the show, he tried his luck asking for friends and family to help him crowdfund his tickets, which range from $450 (the nose-bleed seats) to $800, depending on where you sit.
"Huh? That doesn't make any sense," Forbes wrote on his GoFundMe page. "If the director is nominated for a VMA shouldn't he get a ticket to the VMAs? Yes he should. But he doesn't."
If you're not a big-name celebrity or director, it doesn't look like MTV isn't going to offer you free tickets. Mashable reports that MTV generally gives two complimentary tickets to the nominated artist and band, and in the Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Cinematography categories. The rest of the tickets go on a private sale. That leaves out directors like Forbes, who said he can't afford to go to the show.
Forbes' wrote that his goal was to raise money for a ticket for himself, and if there was an extra moolah, a ticket for his "very pregnant wife," maybe a suit and an Uber ride for the event. He says he's doing this as part of a "social experiment":
If I could get a bunch of people to donate a few bucks a piece I just might have a shot at going to this silly thing. And if I go, I'm not just going for myself, I'm going as a champion for the little guy. The outsider goofball who wasn't invited to his own party. I represent every little guy with a dream, hoping for a shot at the big leagues. Is that too grandiose? Perhaps, but it's worth a shot.
It's only been less than a week since Forbes posted his GoFundMe page, and he's already raised over $2,400 of his $1,300 goal. So, he's now going to the awards show on August 30 in downtown L.A.'s Microsoft Theater with his wife. Forbes told the Daily Dot that he plans on using any extra money to make a donation to his son's school, a nonprofit called the Blind Children’s Center, since his son is visually impaired.
"It started as a pragmatic thing," Forbes told The Daily Beast. '"I want to go to this!' But to just spend that much money on a one-night event, it feels a little bit like buying your own birthday present. It kinda sucks."
There was even little fanfare to how Forbes found out he was nominated. There was no real formal announcement from MTV, and he said he heard it through text messages from other people. Forbes told the Daily Beast that he had to call MTV to find out what to do next to attend the show, and even then there wasn't much information. Even his rep got the runaround.
Forbes isn't alone. When Mashable writer, Brian A. Hernandez, asked Jeff Nicholas, who is also nominated for a VMA and co-directed Rihanna's "American Oxygen," if MTV contacted him about being nominated, he replied:
Andrew Hines, a director for Big Sean’s "One Man Can Change The World" and nominee at the VMAs, expressed that his frustration with the whole situation as well. "I don’t feel that in the current industry right now, in music, that the director is really considered," Hines told The Daily Beast. "This isn’t the late ’90s when there were five to 10 directors who had everything. But it’s the director who’s directing a video. Not the label or artist. So they’re disregarding a cog in the cycle. If nothing is captivating, people won’t watch it."
MTV hasn't made a comment about this situation. However, Forbes has an idea why this is happening. He told the Daily Dot:
"I don't really know the history of the award show so I can’t really comment on it, but my guess is that it’s a vestige of the old era," he said. "It’s like how we still have a tailbone. When we were all tadpoles, it made a lot of sense. In the same way, this industry used to be so bloated and overflowing with money that an $800 ticket to a major label or even a major production company might feel like a drop in the bucket. Back in the day, videos cost a couple hundred grand and up. Right now, if there’s a budget that’s $75,000, you’re lucky to even get the chance to write an idea for it."