Last fall, a pair of unknown, Miami-based film makers earned $25,000--and a kiss on the cheek from Madonna--by submitting the winning entry in MTV and Madonna’s “Make My Video Contest.” The video wizards, who did a lavish version of her hit “True Blue” for $500, figured that record companies would be knocking down their doors with work offers.

Instead, Angel Gracia, 24, and Cliff Guest, 29, found themselves doing little more than enjoying another warm Florida winter. “We thought for sure we’d get a lot of offers,” Guest said. “But it turned out to be a pretty slow time. We began to worry that maybe nothing was ever going to happen.”

Now something has.

In what is apparently an industry first, Geffen Records has signed the team to an exclusive one-year contract as in-house video directors. Gracia and Guest, who will continue to be based in Florida, will make videos for a variety of Geffen artists, all for prices far below the current industry average of about $60,000 per clip. The team has just completed its first production, a pair of videos for newly signed artist Tim Scott, which will be released later this spring.


“Videos have just become far too expensive these days,” said Geffen A&R; exec Michael Rosenblatt, who proposed the idea of in-house video makers. “It’s crazy for us to go into the studio, make an entire album for $100,000 and then spend as much as $75,000 in just three days for one video.

“The industry has had in-house record producers for years, and I think this is just another way to improve our creative team. It allows us to make use of a great tool--video--yet not let the costs get so out of hand. It’s nice that they’re down in Florida, where you don’t have to use $1,000-a-day models, helicopters and horses to make a good video.”

The young video makers say that by being based away from Hollywood’s expensive video production houses, they can keep costs far below current standards. “Listen, if someone gave us $100,000 today, we’d buy a new car, make a down-payment on a house and still have plenty of money left over to make the video,” Guest said. “We can do videos for a third or even a quarter of the cost of a regular clip. We can do virtually everything for considerably less cost here in Florida.”

Rosenblatt said that Geffen will initially team up the video makers with young, developing artists. But he added: “They won’t just work with up ‘n’ comers. My guess is that after some of our other bands see their work, they’ll want to use them, too.”