Promo Vide-woes

One of the most difficult aspects of being a professional comedy juggler is having a slick promo reel. It can be hard to get good footage with high sound quality. My own video is outdated and leans heavily on one clip from a show that has really poor lighting. It’s also hard to know how much juggling to put in and how much comedy. You want to showcase that you are a “skilled” act as well as being funny. 

However if you are advertising yourself as a comedy juggler you should probably have some comedy in your promo video. I won’t name names, they probably don’t read this blog anyway, but it’s good to strive for professionalism. Not having a clip of you getting laughs is probably my number one pet peeve when I watch a comedy juggling promo. Here are my top three promo video pet peeves.

  1. No comedy.
  2. Music throughout the entire video so we can’t hear the audiences reactions.
  3. Clips that aren’t from live performance. 

I don’t want this post to be all negative so I’ll also share the best three pieces of promo video advice I ever received.

  1. Keep it short.
  2. Have an unedited clip of one of your acts.
  3. Include your contact information in the video. 

And three questions.

  1. Is your promo outdated: do you look different, still perform those skills, or dress that way?
  2. Does the video accurately portray what you sell?
  3. Would someone who wasn’t into comedy juggling enjoy it? 

3 thoughts on “Promo Vide-woes

Add yours

  1. Having had the “pleasure” of scanning a bunch of hypnotist’s promo videos recently, I was amazed at how many of them had absolutely no talking in their videos. A hypnotist, who’s act consists of nothing but talking, using a promo video where they do not utter a single word.

    Instead most were just filled with bad footage of idiots wallowing under their spell mixed with canned music and the garish effects that come with the editing software. Much of the footage looks like cell phone video that was texted to them by an audience member.

    Maybe the standards are lower when you’re the opening act for a baby pig that eats Oreos adorably?

    I’ve seen a similar trend in promo videos to that which took place in desktop publishing. Now that the tech is available to absolutely anyone more people are making their own promo without any clue as to what makes good promo, instead thinking their high tech camera does all the work for them.

    Here’s my tip for a juggling promo video. No one hiring you cares about your juggling. Don’t shoot the entire thing framed so you can always see the entire stage and every person in it from head to toe. Shoot close ups that show character and personality. Tight head shots, like they do on TV, sell character and personality. Watch a professional shoot of a juggler for TV and you’ll often see close ups of faces and hands. Shoot what your audience wants to see. If people really cared about juggling we wouldn’t be billed below the hypnotist opening for the headlining baby pig.

    Okay, one last tip. Sound is more important than video. Sounds silly at first but if you talk to successful producers and editors you will hear this a lot. It’s more subconscious than video flaws but bad audio can make a good show feel bad on playback.

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  2. Bob! Great comment. Super good tips. Maybe you should write a post for the site about what makes a good video? Or post a special version of “All The Tricks” where you talk about the choices you made in filming and editing. Like a directors commentary?

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    1. A directors commentary, I’m amused.

      All the Tricks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8-5DheNkzE was shot primarily to be enjoyed by jugglers. So in that video I wanted to make sure I didn’t cut off any of the action and the props were always clear. For a promo video I would be focused more on how Tim looks and know that the subtle differences in tricks we can see won’t even be noticed. I do see many performers videos cut as if the audience were other performers and not bookers.

      I would have also cut it from 8 minutes to about 20 seconds as a promo.

      I did try to use any clip with personality as I wanted it to be enjoyed by non jugglers but the priorities were different.

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