How to apply to a festival

In the past I’ve written about how to submit your act to a festival. I’m reviewing videos of acts submitted to one of the two variety arts festivals that I’m on the booking team of. Here are some of the most common mistakes, or things that annoy me as someone who reviews acts:

Have a video that’s at high definition. It doesn’t need to be 4k, but needs to be clear and easy to watch. Someone submitted a video that was 144p! It was unwatchable at such a low level of definition.

promo video

Your video is more that just what can be seen. Have good audio as well. The audio your camera pulls is usually bad, use an actual audio recorder to capture the audio. Also if your act uses music, I want to hear what you’ll use, don’t mute the video and play a different song that’s not used in the act. It just doesn’t look right.

Make your video publicly available so I don’t have to request it access to it. I have limited time to watch these and deadlines to when I have to submit my opinions on the acts. That day delay while I try to get access can lead to a NO from me just because I can’t watch your video. Also your video should be streaming, so not something that I have to download. I frequently watch these when I’m out of town performing and may not have the best internet, and downloading your video may not be possible.

For content of your video I want to see your act. I don’t want to see a 50 second introduction. It’s just a waste of my limited time. Have your video start with host saying your name and you starting…or better yet, just you starting. You don’t need to edit your existing video, you can simply send me a youtube link that starts at the 0:50 mark or whatever.

These things aren’t really hard to do, you just need to know to do them.


Video Showcasing…

I’m home now from a booking conference I was at earlier in the week. One of the things that happens at these are video showcases. These are up to three minute videos that play usually in between the live act showcases. There were a couple of good video showcases and a lot of bad ones.

The number one thing about a video showcase is to use still images sparingly and use them with purpose. One of the showcases I watched was of a musician who does a roving act and he does a lot of audience engagement and pulls around a wagon that looks really cool. His video was all still images with him singing a song played over. It didn’t really give any context to what he does or how a buyer would use it.

The next worst thing is to play a video of you playing a gig. One person played a video him that had bits of several songs, but they were all at the same venue. It was visually boring. At least have several venues…and record them from the soundboard, they audio will turn out much nicer and easier to listen to.

Another thing is that news footage is great…but trim out all the stuff that’s not you! One act had a nice news clip, but they kept in the intro of the two newscasters bantering about the weather or whatever at the beginning, essentially wasting the buyers time for 15 seconds. Then they left in the extro of the two newscasters banters about what was coming up next, once again wasting the buyers time.

The final thing is you don’t need to use the full 3 minutes (or whatever the max is) for your video. If you can tell the buyers what you need in 75 seconds, great…you don’t need to bore them with redundant info for the remaining time. Trimming out the fat is key!

Those are some tips if you are putting together a video showcase or making a sizzle reel!


Can’t Stop the Hustle, But Maybe You Should…

Oh man, so recently in an Facebook group for magicians someone posted a news report about them with a streaming TV deal. The problem with post it in a magicians group was mainly that it really served no purpose for that group. It was a “Look at how great I am” sort of post, but … Continue reading “Can’t Stop the Hustle, But Maybe You Should…”

Oh man, so recently in an Facebook group for magicians someone posted a news report about them with a streaming TV deal. The problem with post it in a magicians group was mainly that it really served no purpose for that group. It was a “Look at how great I am” sort of post, but more that, in my opinion it’s all smoke and no fire.

I’ll let you watch it and decide for yourself:

So, do you think it’s relevant in a magicians group? I personally don’t and it’s someone trying to inflate their ego and I’m not a fan.

Here’s the nuts and bolts of this. In my opinion he hired someone to do a news report, as there’s no news company’s logo on the video. So far that’s fine, it’s a promo video. Second the news stories is that he’s “shopping” a show to the major streaming sites, which really isn’t news, but still in some sort of promo that’s fine. Next he tagged all three streaming services on it, which is unusual. I’m not an expert in pitching TV shows, but I’ve heard that once you get to the actual pitch, usually things go on lock down so no one swipes your idea. Once it’s out there, someone with a higher profile, more money or connections can steal your idea and get it made.

The big one is that he’s saying he has almost 40K views, which I’m sure he does. This is what he’s selling hard, that he has 40K views in the post. However personally I’d guess he bought those views. Here’s why I think this, the post only has 70 likes/hearts/etc and 5 comments. His rate of engagement is insanely low for having 40K legit views. With my high school math the rate of engagement from the video is something like 0.0018%! That’s not a good rate.

Maybe in May 2019 when this is on Netflix I’ll be eating my words, and I hope I do.

How is this relevant to being a magician? Pretty simple, if we are supposed to be good at the art of deception, at least think about what you are doing. Look at it from all angles. Don’t just buy views, buy likes and comments. Now look at your tricks from all angles, what do you need to cover? Is there a bad angle to that palm? Can you fix it?

Make your magic better than just “good enough”!