Taylor Swift isn’t just the music industry anymore – Q30 Television

Taylor Swift is the music industry.

—Barbara Walters

No truer words were ever spoken by Barbara Walters in 2014 when she said, “Taylor Swift is the music industry”. At the time, Swift was in the midst of what was her biggest era yet – releasing the mega-hit pop album “1989.” She was breaking record after record with “Shake It Off,” and for turning 24, she was on a whole different level than her other peers in their twenties. Eight years later, she continues to defy expectations and effortlessly transition from genre to genre. But Swift is starting to shift gears to become an all-out force in both music and film.

In 2019, Swift made her directorial debut by co-directing the music video for her song “ME!” with Dave Meyers. Swift, who had long been involved in processing her videos, wanted to branch out and try something new that would challenge her. During the “Lover” era that followed, she either co-directed or was the sole director of his videos. “The Man,” his first solo debut, won the VMAs for Best Direction of 2020. The music videos for “cardigan” and “willow” were also directed by Swift. All of his self-directed videos have received rave reviews from critics.

In case anyone was starting to doubt her, Swift decided to take it up a notch, yet again. In 2021, before the highly anticipated release of “Red: Taylor’s Version”, she announces a brand new music video. But it wasn’t like the music videos of the past; it was a full-fledged short film based on “All Too Well: 10 Minute Version”. Titled “All Too Well: The Short Film”, Swift wrote and directed it, starring Sadie Sink, Dylan O’Brien and herself.

Much like the song itself, the film was a smash hit. It received universal acclaim, praising the writing and artist direction, the acting chops of Sink and O’Brien, and the cinematography of cinematographer Rina Yang. For a brief time, it was the highest-rated film on social film site Letterboxd and reached 77 million views on YouTube. So far it has won an Art Directors Guild Award and three VMAs, for Best Long Form Video, Best Direction and Video of the Year.

The dominance of “All Too Well” is far from over. The short film completed an Oscar qualifying run in theaters to be considered for the 2023 awards. Swift did a mini film festival tour over the summer, making stops in Tribeca and Toronto to chat of his creative process behind the making of the film and the sequel. As fall festival season winds down and awards season begins to ramp up, it’s not “the last time” (no pun intended) Swift will be promoting and receiving awards For the movie.

As for what’s next for director Taylor Swift? On October 21, 2022, Swift released her 10th studio album “Midnights”, and with it she released two new music videos, “Anti-Hero” and “Bejeweled”.

Both videos were self-written and directed, with co-stars such as Laura Dern, Mike Birbiglia and the Haim sisters. “Anti-Hero” showcased Swift’s greatest insecurities, played out by herself in various scenarios while dining out, learning life lessons, and even at her own funeral. In the end, however, all of the Taylors get together and enjoy a bottle of wine, settling for being, well, the “anti-hero.”

“Bejeweled” is a spin on the classic “Cinderella” fairy tale, filled with Easter eggs hinting at future “Taylor’s Version” albums and featuring dazzling outfits. This video ends with Swift standing on the balcony of a castle, surrounded by three dragons, which could be an allusion to “Speak Now”, her third album, her three cats or perhaps her favorite character from “Game of Thrones”, Daenerys Targaryen.

Swift continues to push herself creatively, and her journey from music video treatments to full-fledged shorts is truly to be admired. After all those “Speak Now: Taylor’s Version” Easter eggs in the “Bejeweled” music video, and how she likes to challenge herself, it’s logical to assume that the next step is a feature film based on “Dear John: The Version of Taylor”.


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