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amazingarthur 02-22-10 03:33 PM

Promo video advice
Trying to keep it under 3:30 or so. Open to any advice on editing, content, whatever...

Isabella 02-22-10 05:04 PM

Strong material - is the video reflecting your style as strongly as it could? Right now, the photos say "WACKY!", the music says "medium wacky", the verbals say "relaxed wacky", and the editing says "comatose". Do you want to reflect a relaxed, personally-connected style or a high-energy style? Either are a great choice, but if you go for the former, maybe a new music choice; if the latter, maybe shorter cuts as per below.

You're very funny - why are you a "comedy superhero"? Would love to see more of that hook, it's a great, catchy phrase.

Pictures good but it opens like a slide show. What if you got one or two higher-footage-quality video clips and opened with them?

Captions not always legible over video - maybe another color?

Too long. I felt my button pop at 1:21.

Is there music in the show? The music becomes slightly annoying because it doesn't sound like it's the actual sound and it stays the same. What if the music was "connector" music over the quotes on a black background between clips? Bring up the volume then and take it out/down on the talking bits?

With all the clips, can you get in later and get out earlier? Like, bring us in right before the peak of action or comedy and cut away before we're done laughing?

It's very verbal - seeing the pictures didn't add much to hearing the sound.

Why do you end with a music credit rather than your contact info?

Long black screen before music credit.

Great font for your name. Can your other visual captions be as strong a stylistic choice as that one?

Thanks, I enjoyed seeing your work!


Doctor Eric 02-23-10 04:24 AM

Get the quotes off of your face.

Make them look pretty, not illegible and ugly.

Ditch the ones that are more than 13 words. Too much info, you talking, and me trying to read and listen at the same time? No can do.

You have too many of them anyway, you would be better served by using 3 really good, short ones, at key moments, rather than a barrage of quotes, some of which are very blah, I stopped reading them real fast.

I find the term "comedy super hero" to be childish, pretentious, ridiculous, and most of all, completely untrue. I'd be much more interested in your name.

Along with that, you don't need your phone number in the corner the whole time, it's just visually distracting.

You have quite a few good jokes. Opening with the racist one isn't a very good idea. there are a few other things that should be clipped out, or moved around, I think a bunch of time should be devoted to re-editing, but there are too many little instances for me to list them all.

I agree with too long. There was a point that I was sold. For the market that you're poking for, you're good, and probably better than a lot of the choices out there, trim off all the fat, you're good enough.

The music is entirely unnecessary. Use quick burst of music in cuts, if you feel you have to, but throwing it in the background is a waste, and it's distracting.

I REALLY wish your footage looked nicer. If you can get nicer footage (preferably with nicer sound, as well), do so.

I just watched it again. Your jokes go from fucking stupid, to good and likable. Cut the first two, and start with the third. It's totally okay to go from good and likable to fucking stupid, because now we like you, the other way 'round, we may not give you a chance.

amazingarthur 02-23-10 01:17 PM

Thanks for the input. Some of the advice is helpful. I find it particularly humorous to be told that my title of 'Comedy Superhero' is "childish, pretentious, ridiculous, and untrue" by someone whose location is listed as "The Inner Bowels of Roseanne Barr." Which in comparison is very classy, funny, timely, and obviously true.

I did take some of the advice from both comments and put it together on this link. It's not done yet, I plan on tweaking quite a few things.

In response to some of the comments...I don't think the contact info is distracting, most television channels have their logo on the bottom corner. I dropped the music down (doesn't music on a promo video help tie the whole thing together, like a soundtrack?), cut the time by about 25 sec, lost some quotes, moved some quotes, cut the "racist" joke (how is that racist?-maybe you meant funny), and uploaded it in better quality.

Isabella 02-23-10 04:25 PM

That's what I love about you Eric, I always feel so sane and balanced next to you.

Arthur - this version makes me think "funny" "clever" "verbal-heavy comedy". The footage is faster paced and more exciting. My "time's up!" moment came at 2:21, but I do think you need a longer promo in general because it's word heavy. What if all the balloon jokes were a mini-montage together?

The music is better but drops out in a couple of odd places. Sorry to not be more specific, I'm heading to rehearsal.

like how it ends strong with you.

Quotes better.

My main concern - if I was your agent - would be that you don't look "expensive". If your market is mid-range, you're bang-on. If you want to be marketing for a higher-end client (and i think your material is smooth enough to do that) it may be worth it to later make a new promo with purpose-shot footage of higher quality in a more expensive-looking setting and a pricier costume (like a really sharp suit). However, this seems fine for mid-range bookings, maybe take one more pass to tighten it up. Right now, your logo is the most sharp/expensive part.

Thanks for sharing!


amazingarthur 02-23-10 07:51 PM

Updated again

Watermark instead of bold font in corner
Is this one better?

Doctor Eric 02-23-10 11:47 PM

I like the pacing, at least for the first half, much, much better now. Like miles better. The last half still starts to drag, but I don't think you changed much.

Watching it now, as well as reading Allison's comments, you should probably put some TRICK footage in the second half. I didn't realize you didn't have much footage of you doing anything, and I'm pretty sure the only footage you have of a stunt or a trick is eating the cabbage. It's good, and it's funny, but it's in the middle, and it makes the video peak. after that, you go beck to jokes, and the jokes you put in at that point are wordy. It's REALLY hard to go from one-liners, to stunts. Wordy jokes make people think, cheering for a trick is easier. People resent it when the pacing goes that way. either just end this thing with the cabbage, or rearrange it, and throw in more stunt footage after that part. I just woke up, I hope what I'm saying is clear enough to understand.

The expense factor is important, but I think it's more about the footage than your suit. The footage of the theater looks really nice when panned out, but there is too much red on stage, and the camera obviously doesn't do heavy red well, when it zooms in, it looks like ass. But probably the best thing to do is work with what you have, and then hire some real pros later to film in a good setting.

As far as the quotes and the contact info. Yes, it looks distracting, but mostly, it looks bad. It's ugly, and makes the thing look low rent, try it without any text on top of it, and see the difference. There are subtle things you can do to make it look nicer, Scot is always my go-to guy on tricks like that, but in all honesty, I think you'd be best off taking all of it out, put your contact info and your good quotes in the rest of your promo, because it's making your video suffer right now.

Oh, the opening you had, with the logos? That was good, put it back in, it inspires confidence in clients. The "operators are standing by" thing? Drop it, it's cheesy, and comes off a bit needy.

That's the important stuff.

As far as your question: "cut the "racist" joke (how is that racist?-maybe you meant funny)"

No. If I had meant funny, I'd have said funny. Before I even start, I should mention that although it's REALLY hard to offend me, and I do TONS of race material, taking a cheap shot at Indians, with a really hack joke is one of my few buttons. It'll set me off every time. My grandfather, who helped raise me, was a fullblood Carolina Cherokee, I've been an environmental activist, involved with Indian affairs since I was 17 years old, and in 2004, I voted for Leonard Peltier. But I'll tell you why it's offensive.

#1 It's a hack, hack, premise. That's okay and all, but it's REALLY hack, and REALLY cheap.

#2 And this is the main one.... There is an old comic's adage. "Tell a black joke to a mixed audience, and it's comedy. Tell a black joke to a white audience, and it's a rally." There aren't any Indians in your audience to defend themselves. It's a cheap shot, at a group of people that not only aren't there to speak up about it, but are also the most abused group of people in the United States.

#3 It isn't funny.

I'll end my rant now. Spiffy up the second half, the first half moves real nice. I really think you should throw in more trick footage. And take out all the text in the main video (barring the opening and ending). Trust me, it'll look a lot better.

Schuyler 02-24-10 03:26 AM

"most television channels have their logo on the bottom corner"

Don't compare yourself to what other people have done. Ask yourself if what YOU'VE done looks good. I'm designing my own website right now and I've been looking around at other performer's websites to see what they've done. The trend I notice is that a lot of people seem to take a lot of trouble to make something that looks like a website. You shouldn't be focused on making your website look like a website, it's on the internet, people will get that part on their own. You should be focused on making it look good in its own right.

I think the same applies here. Don't focus on making something that looks like a promo video. Make something that looks good. Just because TV stations put the logo there doesn't make it right or good. It just means that's what they do.

Just a little insight you gave me. Carry on about your business.

Doctor Eric 02-24-10 04:49 AM

Good on ya, Schuyler.

amazingarthur 02-24-10 08:34 AM

Thanks again for the advice.

The footage was all filmed with a high def Canon camcorder. When I zoom in, some quality is lost. Still, I think it looks better than the long distance shot. I'm using Sony Vegas Pro and it is uploaded to youtube in HD on the second version I've got posted. Does it look much better than regular?

As far as tricks, there is me balancing the lollipop, juggling, 3, 5 balls, and the apples/lettuce as well as some yoyo stuff. I do need to put some magic in there. I think the jokes reflect more of my personality and humor.

I will completely disagree with you about my native american joke. Hack? Hardly. A hack line is "Take your hands out of your pockets sir, I'll do the entertaining around here." Offensive? Not at all. I've worked with native americans and they've asked to use the joke. How it insults native americans, I don't know? I'm not delivering the line with malice or anger. They are known for doing rain dances, right? Talk about politically correct...

Where can I see some video of you Eric? Maybe I can get some ideas of what would look better.

I'm still working on this video and it will evolve....or if you are from Kansas it will intelligently design. Is that offensive to right wing christian creationists from Kansas?

Doctor Eric 02-24-10 09:08 AM

You can disagree with me all you like, you're still wrong. And you're barking up the wrong tree. You got some PRICELESS help with your video, you shouldn't bitch.

And NO, they're not "known for doing rain dances" any more than black people are known for eating chicken. They ARE known for scalping mouthy button eyes though. Did you even fucking read what I wrote? Don't bother arguing with me, seriously, you'll lose, trust me on that paleface. I mean, for real. Trust me. I've been being nice.

It's all good where your footage was filmed, and what you think it looks like, and how you feel about it zoomed in or out, and all that. It still looks low rent. Sorry. That isn't going to change.

Yes, the jokes do reflect more of your personality and humor. You're right, but the video needs to go UP, if you don't have more tricks with more energy, then just trust me, and clip it after the cabbage. Your jokes, humor, and mugging are all pretty good, but a promo is still an ad, people don't want to watch a show, they just want enough info to know whether or not they should book you. You have them at 1:30, and then it still keeps going. I'd actually say just clip it. At that point, I have a definite sense that you are capable, funny, and likeable. Why bother pushing it, really?

If you have more footage, where you're doing stuff, more high energy, that really would ramp the video up, put that there, if not, I'm actually all for a really short vid. It's better to clip it rather than lose the energy.

And videos of me won't help you. I work raw street and comedy clubs. I know my shit, but I don't try to work cruise ships, I'm a loudmouth ass that forges my own trail. Looking at what I do will teach you exactly how NOT to do it.

You REALLY want to see what I do? Buy my track from Left Coast Comedy on iTunes.

Doctor Eric 02-24-10 09:23 AM

Oh yeah, and it's totally hack. Hack means hackneyed. And I've heard a thousand fucking hacks use the same rain dance premise. That's the definition. What you're referring to is stock, even more than hackneyed, that's just plain ripped off.

gav 02-24-10 10:31 AM

I don't find that joke racist. It's stereotypical, but stereotypical is not the same as racist. Eric seems too close to the issue to see clearly here.
I'm Australian, I wouldn't find it racist if someone told me to 'throw another shrimp on the barby'.
Eric, you're American, would you really think it would be racist if someone said to you 'hey man, it's just a joke, don't shoot me'. It's a stereotype that a lot of Americans have guns, but it's not racist to imply that.

It's a stereotype that Germans don't have a sense of humour, it's not racist to say it or imply it.
My dad is Scottish and I don't find it racist when I here yet another joke about Scots being cheap.

I think the video is looking good now after you've made the changes based on good advice. I know that everyone wants their video perfect, but you would be constantly changing it and never get to sending it out.
Stick with what you now have, it's a lot better than most that come to my attention.

Kenny Ahern 02-24-10 11:33 AM

What you need to do now, is send the video link to an established client (not an agent or event planner) and ask them for some honest input. If they are local, offer to buy them lunch or coffee ... so they can share their thoughts and as a thank you for their time.


Stephon 02-24-10 01:36 PM

Accidentally double-posted. Sorry.

Stephon 02-24-10 01:37 PM

I agree that starting with one-liners and going to jokes with longer set-ups makes the video seem longer than it is; either re-arrange them or cut all but the two or three very best.spam

The client montage feels a little long, too. By the time it gets to the third picture, I was feeling like, "Ok, we've got it--you've worked for a lot of people". Also, if the photos are important enuf to include in the video, don't cover them up with the logos; if they're not, cut the photos and make the client montage shorter.spam

Although the balloon jokes both get a good response, they are essentially the same gag--I'm gonna make a balloon animal, but not the one you think I am. Cut the first and keep the swan; it's shorter and still makes your point. In general I agree with Eric that once you've shown the client what you want to show them, don't show them again; it makes the video seem long.

Maybe a little more audio bleed into and out of the quote screens would help pacing. spam

And while Eric admitted that the Indian joke is a hot button for him, and Gav is probably right that he's too close to the topic, it's probably true, for all of us, that even a funny joke at the expense of an absent minority runs the risk of making you look like a bully. But that really has nothing to do with the video, I suppose.

I think you're material and audience interractions are really good and I'd be interested in seeing your show sometime.

Doctor Eric 02-24-10 05:46 PM

what Gav doesn't know is how absent Indians are from our population. You don't do a show with Indians in the audience, here in the states, unless you're at an Indian function, or there's the third blue moon in a row that month. And that's just generally a good rule to follow, don't pick on races that aren't there. Except for the English, because so many of them look like you could sharpen a rake on their face.

Doctor Eric 02-24-10 06:01 PM

I second Stephon on the balloon thing, kinda. I kept wanting to say that, but both of those jokes are really funny, some of the best stuff in your video. (The swan joke is funnier though) The koala one is more stock. If there was footage of you actually doing something with the balloon, or the bit going a different direction after those, it'd be okay to use both, but right now, I agree with Stephon.

Evan Young 02-24-10 11:07 PM

Video Quality:

It's weird about the video quality, it kind of looks like the camera focused on the back curtain, because everything except you looks pretty good. When I look at your face I see soft edges with bleeding colors, but the back curtain and you prop case looks better. I can also tell that the camera was taking exposure off the back curtain, because you were over exposed, which will make colors bleed in facial details. To get proper exposure you kind of need to hire a pro.

HD doesn't really mean that much. My duo show's promo video was filmed with an older camera that was NOT HD, and the footage looks better than yours... it just had a pro behind it who knew how to use it*

Use what you have for now, nobody would be critical of the video quality if we thought you sucked and were only good for retirement homes and kiddie parties.

*(my showoff show promo video is not what I wanted it to be and I am not submitting it as an example of a good promo vid, just reasonably good image quality)

everything else has already been said.

P.S. There is no need to defend yourself against any critiques posted here, take what you want and leave the rest with a smile.

P.P.S. I used to hang out with you at the juggling festival in Columbia MO.

Doctor Eric 02-25-10 12:20 AM

He's gotten quite a few compliments, comparatively.

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