Though neither Nancy Spittle nor Kathy Odziemek caught The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" when MTV went live at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1, 1981, they both have a soft spot for music videos just the same.
"We both grew up with them," said Spittle.
But by favoring reality TV over music, MTV eventually went the way of the eight-track, which crowned YouTube as the new music video king. According to Spittle, when you pair YouTube's accessibility with cheap video production technology, there's no reason for a scene like Boise's to sidestep creating original music videos.
"Boise has always had a strong music scene," said Spittle. "But the video scene has been developing. I was trying to figure out how to expand the reach of music in Boise outside the state and at the same time help expand video."
Three years ago, Spittle and Odziemek teamed up to create the 208 Music Video Show, an event that offers prizes and bragging rights to those who showcase their music videos. In the third iteration of the show, the pair are embracing the digitalization of the music video.
"We're new to YouTube this time," said Spittle. "People had asked us in the past to put the submitted videos on a DVD and sell them, but instead we've created YouTube video playlists."
Spittle said the playlists offer a chance for the content to go further without legal considerations about making DVDs. And, at its roots, the show is more about attracting eyeballs than dollars.
In 2010, filmmaker Jason Sievers received top honors out of 15 competitors for his work on the The Very Most's "Autumn Air." The following year, the event pulled in 20 music videos, and Shasta Nash's video for a.k.a Belle took home the prize. Spittle said the program packed Neurolux both years.
"I feel the music and video scene here are very supportive," said Spittle. "It's about, 'OK, what are you trying? What have you done? And what can you do differently?'"
Kildow will return this year with two submissions, including a video of Central City Music Company's "Blazin' Lasers," using footage from the space race and old science-fiction cartoons.
Dave Boutdy, aka Peanut, one-half of Boise rap duo Dedicated Servers, said introducing new music with a compelling visual element can turn a new listener into a solid fan.
"It's fairly essential for a band. It seems like, for a lot of people, it equates them to a band," said Boutdy. "To see the band in action--just to see them walking--it gives you a whole new perspective."
The duo has submitted three music videos this year. Boutdy and his partner Matthew Dixon, aka MCMD, contracted with filmmaker Darren Peterson to produce "Rise," a new video Boutdy called "a little nicer" than the videos "After Her" and "Finally Home," which they made using iMovie. "After Her" was created by Dixon's wife, Lubi, using only a Nintendo DSi handheld gaming system.
"The technology is so accessible now," said Spittle. "You can make a music video using a cellphone."
In 2011, filmmaker Zach Voss entered two contributions. For Owlright's "OweOwe," Voss shot beer-swilling extras on the Fourth of July skidding across a makeshift Slip-n-Slide on a North End lawn. Voss' video for "Igor Pops" by Brother Dan (Atomic Mama vet Daniel Kerr's side project) featured Kerr shimmying in the Foothills with a guitar. And for Voss' 2012 submission, "Plural" by Finn Riggins, Idaho remains a strong visual element.
"Finn Riggins wanted a video that was textured by Idaho," said Voss. "They're very much a flagship arts group for Idaho, and they wanted a video to reflect that."
Voss traveled with the band to the Tender Loving Empire Festival in Pullman, Wash., filming Finn Riggins as it played at stops along Highway 55.
"Because we're working in Idaho, we have a different set of restrictions and opportunities," said Voss. "We don't try to make the environment something it's not."
But Voss doesn't focus solely on making music videos. His work took home top awards at the i48 film competition in 2011, and his company, Retroscope Media, is midway through a short film called Mandrake Estate.
Voss said he'd rather help build the Boise film scene than move to a larger market.
"A trend that I'm definitely supporting is staying here, developing my skills here," said Voss. "To stay in Boise and build this scene is, I think, significant and important."
Spittle said the 208 Music Video Show seeks to bolster both local filmmakers and local music. For the participating bands, having an impetus to produce a high-quality music video gives them an opportunity to connect with new fans. And for the filmmakers, the event provides a regular place to showcase that work.
"I can stay here and fill a role, I think," said Voss. "I have a personal investment in what's going on here. Every year that myself and other creative people are staying encourages others to stay."
Spittle said the Music Video Show is now looking for other ways to expand, which may include hosting more regular events.
Ironically, this year's First Thursday screening date is the same day as MTV's Video Music Awards.
See a complete list of First Thursday events here.
*Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Edward Kildow's video for Thomas Paul's "Flags in the Way" won first place in 2011.