How To Create The Perfect Promo Video

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valerie june

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Well, a video tells a million. You need that video that shows who you are. What you do best. Shows a bit of your personality. And sells you. Anyone who watches this video will think, “yeah these guys got it.” This video you can pass along to venues, promoters, labels, agents, managers, whomever, to give a 5 minute glimpse into who you are. You don’t need to fill the screen with press quotes. Let the video speak for itself. You can put your bio or accolades in the description and on your bio page. This isn’t the YouTube video that is going to go viral. This isn’t a stale label EPK promoting the album. This video is not for your fans. This video is for the industry. It’s the video that will get you booked.

The video will be your calling card. With iMovie (free) and Final Cut Pro X (cheap), you can learn how to create this video on your own without hiring someone to do this.

Back in the day, pre Myspace, most venues, promoters, managers and labels needed a physical press kit. In it contained an awkwardly posed black and white band photo, the CD, and a one sheet with a bio, press quotes, and some impressive accolades. Some got creative with the size, paper, goodies inside, but regardless this was the basis of the press kit. They were annoying, wasteful and usually got tossed in the trash, unopened.

In came Myspace. Every band had one. Out went the physical press kit. Everyone requested the Myspace of the band because it had everything beautifully laid out.

Out went Myspace. In came the flood of Facebook, Reverbnation, Purevolume, Sonicbids, Onesheet, and all the others. There’s no standard anymore about what people will ask you for when you pitch them.

But everyone understands a video.

VALERIE JUNE EPK from matt wignall on Vimeo.

What Goes Into The Video:

Live Footage
It should be your first priority to get as much GREAT live footage as you can. The next big show you play in front of a big crowd at a great venue, get a video crew in there. At least 1 SLR camera (2 is better). You can edit it together later. Make sure this camera guy/gal is a pro and knows how to focus and capture moments. There’s nothing worse than attempting to edit together shaky, out of focus footage that spends 23 seconds setting up the shot and holding it for only 5.

Show The Crowd
At the live show make sure you get a ton of great fan footage. Get them jumping, singing, dancing, clapping, smiling, whatever. Get some shots from the back of the house and from the stage. If the powers that be see fans going nuts for you they’ll pay MUCH closer attention.

Music Video
This isn’t crucial, but if you have a great looking music video you can edit in some clips from that. If you don’t, don’t worry about it right now.

Show your personality somehow. Be it in an interview (typically dry – not recommended), stage banter, fan interaction after the show, YouTube videos, vlogging, Vines, whatever.

The Best of What You Do
Whatever it is you do best, showcase that. If you kick ass at covers in your style, then include that. If you can belt the high notes then focus on it. If you have a dance show, show that. If you shred… well you get the idea.

This is the one video that says who you are. The one video that needs no explanation. The one video that will get an agent to take notice. The one video that will get you booked.

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based DIY musician who has played over 550 shows around the country. He has had songs featured on multiple TV shows and has opened for Ben Folds, Cake, Matt Nathanson, Joshua Radin, Ron Pope and others. His most recent album debuted at #11 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts. He runs the independent music business advice blog

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