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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Lights...camera...action! » » Editing a Promo Video & Adding Marketing Value To It...... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Aedryan Methyus
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Hello everyone! I am in the midst of working on my 2nd promo video and I'm planning on targeting cruise ships. There are actually several questions that draw to mind on this subject but I will try to keep it brief for now.

Firstly, I have learned that they recommend that your promo is no longer than 6 - 10 minutes long. Personally, I totally disagree with this concept for the fact that there is no way anyone can express their artistic ability in this amount of time. My first one was 18 1/2 minutes long and I still had to leave out a lot of great clips. The clips were taken from my 2 hour full stage production and a couple of smaller stand up shows.

So my first question is,what is it that they truly want to see in this 6 - 10 minutes? Do they really care about the magic? Do they just want to see clips of the audience's reaction, clips of your "inbetweeners", (showing your interaction with the audience), testimonials along with a 1 - 2 minute montage and only the beginning, middle and end of the effect with no dancing or theatrics?

Any input on this tedious and frustrating subject would be greatly appreciated. Smile
Peter Loughran
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Aedryan,

The entertainment directors from criuse ships don't have time to view a tape or be bothered to view a tape that long since they receive hundreds of tapes on a regular basis. They will view the first minute and if isn't appealing to them right away they don't hesitate to hit the 'Eject' Button.

If they like what they see in the first 60 seconds, then they will continue to view the next few minutes. From this, they will get an idea if your product is suitable for them and then they will contact you for further information or a demo of a longer or more in-depth performance. So it is very important your demo dvd or vhs is no longer that about 6-8 minutes.

You also don't need big special effects added to your video as they don't care how good your editor is, but how good you are. They can always spice up the performance with their stage and lighting effects. They are more concerned with your talent and experience than a flashy title screen, if you catch my drift. Anyway, hope this helps.

P.
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Jeb Sherrill
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I'm afraid Peter's quite right. You just have to keep in mind that although it sounds like a lot of fun to watch promo videos, it really isn't when you have to watch 30 in one sitting. Keep in mind also, how bad many of them are.

Also, directors/agents etc., don't look at things the way we do. They are looking for a certain look and the first minute of your tape has got to show "your look". If they like the look, then they'll wait to see if they like watching you do a few things, but they don't want to see a performance. They've seen enough in their lives to get a good idea from very little.

Look at this as a good thing, though. I think the montage at the beginning goes a long way to selling the show and if you have a good video editor, you can make one look really good. Make that really short, snappy promo work for you as a commercial and then you can show them your stuff later.

Sable
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Aedryan Methyus
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Thanks for your reply, Peter.

What do you suggest that I put in the first 1 - 2 minutes? Perhaps a combination of short and fast clips of the very best highlights of my performances such as the peak of an illusion where the audience is howling, the peak of audience participation effects where the audience is laughing/clapping etc., standing ovations, short clips of in-betweeners where I'm just interacting with the audience, camera shots of the audience's reactions and maybe live testimonials from after the show combined with a voice-over introducing me?

If that's the idea, then what do you suggest I put in the remaining 6 minutes?

Someone that I know that has "made it" so to speak once told me that it's a good idea to have a 6 - 8 minute edited promo with a whole unedited performance after it and word it as such on the tape's label, i.e. "8 minute promo/1 hour unedited performance."

I shouldn't fail to mention that this same performer's current demo reel for his illusion show is only 3 minutes long and although he doesn't speak even 1 time, it has gotten him an enormous amount of work. However I haven't seen the tape to be able to use it as a guidline. I'm totally open to suggestions.

Thanks again,
Aedryan
Peter Loughran
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Aedryan,
In my demo, I don't speak either. I do have title screens rather than voice overs. My first 30 seconds is clips and close-ups of me.

Unfortunately, the cruise lines base alot of their entertainment on looks. If you and your crew are hideous, it lessens your chances to be accepted. That's just the way it is. It's like the movies; they first see if you look the part, then they see if you can act. Plus, you will be interacting with the guests between performances and during your time off, so they want attractive looking people to fill these positions. You won't just be a magician, you will be mingling with the guests.

In the rest of my video I feature shortened and edited performance clips of about four illusions, complete with view of the audience reacting as it is happening(so they know I haven't just placed a clip of a reaction anywhere in the routine). This is all done with a music track playing over the video. It ends with basically some contact info. And that's all you really need!

If you are perfroming close-up then it might be a completely different set up for that type demo, I'm not sure.

I had my video edited by a company called ABC Produtions and they were fairly affordable --they only charged me $60.00, Canadian, an hour to sit with the editor as he made the video. It took about 5-6 hours. The editor will also be able to give you advice and his input as well, since these guys see and make hundreds of these types of videos.

I'm in the process of having my new demo done; however, I will be having it put on dvd rather than vhs. It's actually around the same cost to produce, but it will last longer, and will be cheaper to ship than the weight of a vhs, not to mention the quality will be that much better. Hope this helps out.
Brand New: - SNAKE BITE ILLUSION
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Saydean
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In Vegas the agents make two piles. In one, the easy watch stuff (3-5 minutes tops), and in the second pile anything over 5 minutes. An agent in LA told me that they want to see enough to decide in less than 5 minutes, as they don't have time to watch every tape they get. Only really good 2 or 3 camera digital stuff catches their eye. Then they make up their mind to watch it or not.

We use 3 camera digital and constuct our videos with more care than we do our show in some respects. Ask people like Peter and Ryan, C. Reed and Andy Leviss to watch your video and give you a honest opinion of what you need .
There are many others here who have gone down the trail you're on, and will be happy to lead you in the right direction. Including myself.
Saydean Smile
Majack
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A quick tip given to me by TV producer who was helping me put together a promo video: Watch the trailers for movies at the cinemas for tips on how to sell a product on screen in minimal time. MTV also have some great ideas when it comes to camera angles and filming techniques.

JACQUES LE SUEUR
Sniper
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I would agree with the comments here, HOWEVER... I have had agents (for a Cruise line) require a full UNEDITED show on tape. They weren't interested in the video quality as much as seeing how I interacted with the audience - and to determine if the show was genuinely entertaining. A carefully edited video can make even the most incompetent performer seem like Lance Burton.

Also, Cruise ships (and passengers) are generally EXTREMELY conservative, and the agent wanted to make sure that my act was appropriate for their audience.

But, as the others stated, a 5 minute video is long enough for most decision makers to do just that.

Sn!per
Zudlini Magik
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I have to agree with those who have stated you must capture the attention within the first 30 seconds or so. I am a video producer working for Children's Medical Center in Dallas and part of my job is reviewing audtion tapes of all kinds, actors, magicians, clowns etc. A year ago, while working for JCPenney, we sent out a casting call for a magician and were smothered with tapes. We would watch about the first 30 to 45 seconds of the video to get an idea of the look of the act. I know it is frustrating to spend a lot on a video, but that is the reality. Another aspect is video production value. Videos need to be professionally produced to avoid the "home video" look.
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