This budget video has everything: artfully filmed fridge contents, poorly-synced singing, and a crowdfunded cat slideshow.

The world of music is a hotly competitive one. How do you get an artist recognized in a sea of talent? Well, one tried-and-true method is to market a song with a fun video in hopes it might go viral.

Some of the best viral videos are relatively low cost – however, anyone would be hard pressed to stretch the budget given to Yu Hayashi‘s new song, “NEXT STAGE.”

The director was told he would have to make 2,000 yen (US$18.20) go a long way, hence this distress call sent through Twitter in early December.

“Please send me photos of your treasured cats!”

“I’m currently directing a music video but could only secure 2,000 yen as my budget. I’m well known for only taking on projects with a big budget, so I’m pretty much just winging it this time.

And because I’ve been winging it, I ended up not having enough footage to cover the song. So I’m hoping to solve the problem with the power of the most mighty and honorable animals there are, cats.”

The director, Jump Maeda, also attached a more specific request to his tweet:

“I’m thinking to cover the section of the song without any footage with a cat slideshow. It has absolutely nothing to do with the song, but I figured people will let it slide if they get to look at cats. However…I don’t own a cat myself, so I can’t take any photos of one. Could any cat owners send me a photo of theirs? (I only need about 10, so I’ll cut off after I get that many). The photos I receive will star in this music video. It can be your cat’s music video debut(?). Anyway, thanks!”

▼ While many folks submitted great cat shots others posted photos of goats, chickens and this cat called “Dog”.

So what sort of music video did these lucky felines get to star in? Well, it’s exactly the kind of music video you would expect to cost 2,000 yen.

▼ The video starts with this ominous shot of a foot on some steps and a “message from the director”.

The assorted clips are disjointed, vary in quality and have very little continuity between them. The shots are also labelled throughout with commentary from the director. After explaining the situation with the budget, he explains certain jarring font choices: “I just picked whichever font here”. He also points out the obvious: “This is re-used footage.” “I put my finger over the lens while filming.”

“It was easier to just film this part with the director rather than the singer”

Then during a bizarre shot of a beam above the director’s head: “Messed up the focus”. The artist himself does star in the video – for a short shot, broadcast through Skype, that’s filmed entirely on a hand camera. “I couldn’t afford the travel expenses”, explains the director in the accompanying text.

Once that shot’s over, the artist never appears in the video again. Instead, it’s back to the director: who sings along with the lyrics, but without actually lip-synching in a believable way. He also filmed one shot in portrait mode and didn’t bother to go back and fix it. Which is a shame, because his tripod fell down at the end of the take!

We’re also treated to a clip of the director, dressed in a cheongsam and exercising with gym equipment decked out in fairy lights, singing along with the song. “I filmed this bit before I had the concept worked out,” admits the director.

▼ This section also continues past when he’s finished performing, but “It was too much bother to cut it”.

The artistic shots of ponzu sauce are literally because “It was in my fridge and it looked good”. There are dramatic shots of him dashing through scenery… Though they’re filmed from selfie mode, so we don’t get to see any of it.

But after all that, we’re treated to the fruits of his crowdfunding effort: cats!

“Ran out of footage so please enjoy this cat slideshow.”

Keen-eyed viewers might notice the cat slideshow wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, either. Anyway, it turns out ten shots wasn’t enough, as he runs out of cat shots and implores viewers to “Enjoy the black screen” instead.

After all of this the credits section pops up, where Yu Hayashi should get his due for writing, composing and singing his song. But the text on Jump Maeda’s computer apparently got corrupted and so where his name should be there are just some blank white boxes. Oh well.

It seems his hard work paid off, all the same. At the time of writing the video has been retweeted over 7,000 times and has over 16,000 likes. That’s real value for money, right there!

And the Internet had nothing but praise for those sharp directorial decisions:

“Is this… an ad for Ajipon (ponzu sauce brand)?”
“I thought I was gonna die laughing at the workout part.”
“Are my eyes broken? I could have sworn I saw a baby goat.”
“Looks like one of those videos you get at karaoke parlors.

Next time Jump Maeda has to direct a hit, how’s about hiring our own Go Hatori for cost-cutting tips? We’re sure he could put together a cheap music video kit in no time, and we bet he’d be willing to Skype in while wearing a pretty dress and exercising, too.

Source: YouTube/ハヤシユウ official, Twitter/@jumpmaeda via My Game News Flash
Images: YouTube/ハヤシユウ official