Video kills

Reno Music Video Night

A production still from Smiley Mikey’s “Storey County Line” video.

A production still from Smiley Mikey’s “Storey County Line” video.

The Reno Music Video Festival is Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Studio on Fourth, 432 E. Fourth St. Doors at 7 p.m. All-ages. No cover.

Reno’s got its share of local showcases—visual art displays, concerts, even food truck gatherings. And now it’s got another feature to add to the bill: an evening of viewing local music videos.

Premiering Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Studio on Fourth Street, promoter and songwriter Michael Sion, a.k.a. Smiley Mikey, has gathered 21 music videos from across all avenues of local music, and compiled them together to form one night of back-to-back play for the enjoyment of local music fans, musicians, videographers and music video actors alike.

“There are a lot of creative videos out there and we have a very entertaining collection,” says Sion. “I could have doubled the number, but there’s a fair representation of genres.”

The evening’s showcase is meant to be entertaining, while also providing an opportunity for future collaborations among participants.

“This is a chance for local artists to share videos with each other and network while showing the town what they’re doing,” says Sion.

The majority of videos are recent releases, filmed within the last year, according to Sion. He attributes the recent spike in local music videos primarily to the need for an effective online presence, and a Facebook page only goes so far.

“Reno has a fertile music scene [with artists that want] to become a success as either a hometown hero or a national touring act,” says Sion. “They need an online presence either way. You can’t get anywhere in the music business without one. … A video is as important as your band’s promo shot nowadays.”

As for choosing what to show, Sion says that while he did solicit and accept submissions, he ultimately made the final call based on a loose grading scale.

“I wanted variety in genre, quality in video, quality in song, no repetition, and no flat-out vulgarity,” says Sion.

The chosen line-up includes one of Sion’s own videos—“Storey County Line” which was filmed partially at the Moonlite Bunnyranch—as well as local artists such as soulful pop singer Whitney Myer’s video “Wake and Watch,” rapper Chari “Knowledge” Smith’s “Generation Next,” songwriter Tim Tucker’s “Mango Tree,” rocker Greg Golden’s “Long Way Home,” and hip-hop artist Craig Prather’s “Crazy Life,” which has currently racked-up more than 750,000 hits on YouTube.

“I wrote the song about two years ago based on the idea of bringing people with different religious beliefs together,” explains Prather on “Crazy Life’s” conception. “The video was recorded last October, mainly at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Reno. There’s a scene shot in a cemetery up by [the University of Nevada, Reno], and the piano portion was at the Grand Siena … It went from 5 or 10,000 hits overnight, then to 100,000 within a month—it’s just continued to climb from there.”

Videographer Bryon Evans, who filmed three of the videos in the evening’s showcase, including Sion’s “Storey County Line,” says he’s excited the videos are getting the chance for the spotlight, outside of YouTube.

“A video is one of the most visual mediums for a band,” says Evans. “It has everything—sound, color, and motion. … It’s important to help musicians get their point across.”

Sion will MC the evening, giving a short introduction to each video before it airs. The night will close out with a live performance by local band Clementine’s Knight, who also has a video set to air.

“I think [the showcase] is a great idea, and I’m honored to be involved,” says Evans. “I hope it will inspire more videos, and more people pushing to create them.”