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Old 12-28-02, 03:51 AM   #1
Evan Young
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Question first promo pack

I've got a couple student photographers commited to helping me with promo pics. I pay for film and prints and that's it! The first shoot is shortly after new year.
I got a hair cut, and I'm ordering new props with x-mas money. I'm thinking about a new outfit.
Do you guys have any tips for me? I'm not sure exactly what I should go for. I want to look like a real pro that costs a lot.
-thanks-
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Old 12-28-02, 12:24 PM   #2
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no vest
no bowler hat
no goofy ties


You're a young guy, so wear a costume that is very modern / pop culture in fashion. BUT don't wear something that "expresses you", wear a costume that expresses your show. Make it extreme. Don't buy your costume at the mall (don't go to 'hot topic') because nothing is worse than seeing someone in the audience wearing the shirt you thought "was different."

Don't choose something for a costume that you would wear in public if you were not performing.

good luck,

etienne


p.s. make sure your costume is the SAME in all the photos in your press kit.

[ 12-28-2002: Message edited by: le pire ]</p>
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Old 12-29-02, 02:55 PM   #3
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Heh, word yo.

a desighner friend of mine in LA sent me this url as an example of how not to dress
http://www.streetentertainers.co.uk/
I'm inclined to agree. Too bad I'm not in LA anymore so I could have her just desighn somthing really cool for me on the spot.
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Old 12-30-02, 02:19 AM   #4
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Hat

Ethan,
Don't wear a vest -- like this. Wear colors that aren't predomadlfily white or black. Buy a bright blue shirt and some dark blue silkscreen ink and pain a big "E" on the front. Someone might try to call you a letter person, but no one remembers what the "E" guy is named.

Hot Topic Rocks!
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Old 12-30-02, 04:12 AM   #5
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Try black leather motorcycle boots and a trenchcoat.
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Old 12-30-02, 10:42 AM   #6
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Evan,

Choose your "look" to exemplify how you wish to be perceived. Promotional material needs to communicate so much more than simply provide and archival representation of what you do. Decide on what you want the viewer to think about you, and how you want them to feel when they look at the images.

Also project what market you are selling to. Kids shows have a different look than corporate gigs, so create your image accordingly.

Rather than drone on about all of the possibilities, here is a bulleted list off the top of my head of some things you may wish (or not) to consider:

Look at everyone else's promo, then don't do anything like it.

Look at everyone else's promo, then do exactly what they do.

Make strong choices - hopefully good ones, but even a strong bad choice is better than a weak good choice.

Sell your perceived value. It's theater - nobody really cares about the "real" Evan and all of his deficiencies. Pretend you are really great.

Less is more. If you have to scream "look at me!" you probably don't have anything to say.

Select one or two elements of your show and feature them. Don't try to be a "jack-of-all-trades", because the second part of that phrase is "master of none."

Don't try to reproduce your show in photos - reproduce the emotional quality that you think your show has.

Keep the viewer curious about your images. I like a picture that makes me ask some sort of question rather than giving me only literal information.

Don't expect your first try to get you the perfect look. Keep rediscovering yourself and your image.

Do a classic actor's head shot - black and white, 8 by 10.

For what it's worth...

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Old 12-30-02, 10:51 AM   #7
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Here's a quick thought...

Get your friends to schedule two shoots a couple of weeks apart. Take the best images from the first shoot and post them to get feedback from the P.Net folks. I'm sure that the experienced P.Net performers would have lots to say on the matter if they had something to look at. Then, take what critique you want, or none at all, and do the final images at the second shoot.

The feedback system at MotionFest doesn't have to happen only twice a year. Jim has provided us a very valuable resource with this site. Open yourself to honest critique and see what happens. When you ask someone for help, you help them as well.

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Old 12-30-02, 02:56 PM   #8
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All good points - Something else that I found from working both sides of the fence is to bear in mind that when you're submitting promo is that your gear should be directed as much at the prospective client's marketing person, as it is at the booker. Assuming that your promo and your creds alone are enough to get you the gig - then the org. has to use your promo to sell you to the public and make their event/festival look interesting. Hence promo that is designed to be easily transformed into brochure/advertising compatibility is a must. Your written promo should contain sample three line blurbs so that the lazy marketing person doesn't have to read ALL of your promo to write up your show. I used to offer sample blurbs for each of - adult shows/street festivals/kids shows/sidewalk screaming which would invariably show up verbatim in festival programs. This also allows you to control to some extent how you're marketed at the gig and how much information you want prospective audiences to have about your character when they're deciding which shows to go see.

In terms of photos - when you look at an 8 x 10, even a bad one gives you an idea of who the character is. Most orgs produce ads and brochures that shrink that same puppy down to about an inch square, maybe two inches tops. Your producer guy will look at the big crowd action shot and go "HO! Big unicycle and LOOK at that crowd!" Your marketing person goes "That will look like hell when we shrink it down - you can't even tell he's on a unicycle!" That's why I've always preferred studio shots. You take a staged shot that shows clearly the artist character and one identifiable action - boom, it's in the brochure and dear Mrs. Punter picks it up and goes "c'mon kid, let's go see the guy on the tall unicycle" (to which the kid replies - "But he's wearing a VEST! no way!")
And as a final note, and I'd be interested in what Lynneski et al think, I think most producers hire based on one of four things - in no particular order...

- a strong recommendation from someone they respect in the business
- seeing you perform live
- a kickass (and short) video
- you have polaroids of them in compromising positions with animals

good luck
(and the pony and i are doing quite nicely thank you)
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Old 12-30-02, 05:14 PM   #9
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OK, YR, I'll bite. Very few people in the world have access to those pictures, so I'll confine myself to the other criteria.

First and foremost, I want to be able to see your work for myself, ideally, on a number of occasions and under different conditions (weather, crowd, time of day, etc). For this, I ususally go to other festivals, occasionally travel to take in the day-to-day scene at standing pitches.

If I can't see you live and large, then next on the list is getting a strong ref from a producer who's opinion I respect, who's work I know. Yup, there's a number of festival cred's out there you can list on your resume that I look at and just shrug "so what, they'll take anyone". That tells me nothing. Hearing from a colleague, I can get the brief of your work, how it compares/stands out from others working in a similar art form, and hear one person's version of how high the "pita" factor is (ie - "pain in the ass"), recognizing that each producer and fest has to make their own relationship and experience with the artist work. Then I'll check all that out with someone else you've worked for.

If I've got nothing but a cold call - snail or email with your promo - then it best be kick-ass. For me, that mean's showing your work (close-up, long shot), your expression and character, your audience's reactions. Ideally, I want to see you working in a variety of locations - that shows me that you can play for audiences of different backgrounds, and in different physical conditions and sites. I'll recognize most of the festival sites you use, even if you don't label them. But I'll also know if you're only using one festival's experience or footage to pitch me. If your work involves lengthy prep or tech requirements, like rigging, counterweights, specific floor surfacing or tethers, I'd like to see shots of the set-up worked in, so I get an intro sense of what's involved and can ask more detailed questions, decide if my sites are suitable. If you can and like to work corporate environments, show me. I've got a few needs like that to fill as well. It's a lot to ask from one 5-7 minute tape.

I'm a little odd when in comes to photos. I like to get a good full or head shot, in character, in addition to action shots. I've got a bunch of different print spots to fill (posters, programmes, advance news, etc etc) that aren't always suitable for static headshots. The more selection you send me, the more likely you're going to win the unofficial media slut award.

A little process info, too? I'm down with the notion that it costs a whack of money to send out vids and prints. Got it. I get it, too, that many folks have moved to simply mailing out a "check out my site" URL invitation. But please, please, please ... once we've had our "I'd like to invite you to my festie" conversation, DROP THOSE SHOTS IN THE MAIL RIGHT AWAY!!!!!!!! Nothing wrecks my day faster than having to chase you down with repeated reminders to submit your promo. And it's only good enough to say "just download something from my website" if those shots are high enough resolution to suit the purpose. Aren't you concerned with what shots I might use, don't you want to know how you're being presented? Baffles me...

The earlier I have your pix, the better quality they are, the more variety you provide, the more I can make sure people see them.

A wee note on videos I've posted here before - please make sure your name/act name is on the spine of the case and the tape. It's a minor thing, I know, but when there's scores and scores of tapes lining the walls, floors and shelves, don't you want yours to be easy to find?

Oh, and another thing (oops, the genii's out of the bottle)... Please don't send me your swag unless we're negotiating selling rights and fees and I ask to see a sample. Flat pack things are ok (magnets, stickers and the like), but keep the juggling kits, stuffies, life-sized cardboard cutouts to yourself for now. Particularly, shipping that kind of stuff from the US to CDA will incur border taxes. If you haven't figured for them in advance (which rarely happens), then I have to pay to get the package out of hock when it arrives, before I even know what it is. If this happens to you, you can gratiously offer to reimburse me to get yourself outta the &^#^#&&&! pile. Previous experience being a guide, I'll decline your offer with a grumble about how you coulda done your homework in advance and saved us both the trouble.

I'll add a fifth thing - a recommendation from a fellow artist. This has to be qualified a little, because I don't trust everyone's ability to assess what suits *my* aesthetic and programming direction. But there's a reasonable number of folks who I've worked with often enough, who are familiar enough with my work to know pretty well what I like or what I might be missing, who have brought some real gems to my attention, for which I'm really grateful.

(OK, every time I try to sign this off, I think up another note or two. I promise I'll be done soon.)

Try not to get frosty or frustrated if you don't hear anything for a while. Once January starts, I've got oodles (where oodles=&gt;20) of applications coming in each and every day. So does every other fest producer. And I try to exercise that common courtesy of letting you know I've got your stuff, but can't always let you know one way or the other right away. The way it plays lots of times is that I've made offers that I have to know if they're accepted (to know what the balance of art forms, pace, gender, etc, etc, etc is starting to come together for the show overall) before I can consider who or what else I want to include. I know sometimes you're trying to build a tour, waiting to accept some offers until you've heard from others. It's a delicate dance we each have to do, and sometimes have to take a risk and commit.

Don't give up if you don't get in the year you first apply to me. I hire between 15-30 acts for any one fest. I only get to choose so many duo acts, so many solo acts, so many skill acts, etc to keep my shows in balance. I'll find my way to presenting those artist and exemplary works eventually. There are folks I've wanted to present for years who, for one reason or another, we haven't been able to work things out. A new year is coming, I'll try again.

Whew! That was cathartic. Thanks for letting me get that said. And particularly timely, as the trickle has started and the true deluge of applications for 2003 summer fests in CDA will come any day now. Hope some of this helps, Ta.
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Old 12-30-02, 09:23 PM   #10
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[quote]Originally posted by scot:
<strong>Buy a bright blue shirt and some dark blue silkscreen ink and pain a big "E" on the front.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I found the perfect "E". What do you guys think?

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Old 12-30-02, 09:45 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice guys. I'm gonna have pics taken in several outfits, and we're gonna play around a bit with it. I went shopping today and actually found a cool outfit for only $26 and I sure nobody else has the exact same thing. (I'm so cool). Tomorrow I will see about having it altered a little to look ultra cool. it's gonna suck if a torch touches any of it but, hey!
I have to help the photographers get somthing they can use as well and stuff, and they really aren't pros, they're students and don't have studios, but we'll see what happens. I have faith in them to come up with somthing to get me on my way to affording the really dope stuff. I'll post up pics someplace as soon as I have them.

Man, I really have been freaking out about this stuff tho, staring at the online prop catolougs deciding if I want to switch to renagade clubs, and in what colour, etc. I'm not buying anything else until after new years so that I can start the tab for next years tax deductions, as this years deductions have allready gone WAY past what I actually earned.
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Old 12-30-02, 11:22 PM   #12
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[quote]Originally posted by Evan Young:
<strong> I'm not buying anything else until after new years so that I can start the tab for next years tax deductions, as this years deductions have allready gone WAY past what I actually earned.</strong><hr></blockquote>


Just make sure you make a profit 3 years out of five. At least that is the way I remember it for the states.
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Old 12-31-02, 01:38 AM   #13
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I've been thinking.
Here is something Iíve decided about my future pics, tell me if Iím stupid for thinking this. I should try to look ďcuteĒ.
For my first month or so as a full time street performer this last summer my only saving grace was being ďcuteĒ. My audience members were girls and kids. I guess fire torches helped too.
Later in the summer when I was getting big crowds I would look at the people and see guys standing there with confused grins on their faces as their girlfriends or wives cried with laughter, and then she would make him give me cash. My girlfriend would occasionally wander through my audiences and report back about how groups of girls would spend the entire show talking to each other about how cute I was. I noticed a lot of guys came to my shows just to see the girls. A lot of girls came to my show over and over, girls of all ages (some over twice my age and some less than half). I got a lot of phone numbers in my hat. Some chick flashed me once on Venice Beach. Some lady came up to me and started stuffing dollars down my shorts once in Boulder. If there is one thing that has made things easy for me as a street performer itís the ďcute factorĒ. I do think that Iíve developed other strengths as a performer, like humor, but the bigest percentage of the money I've made has been from girls.
I should capitalize on this right? Goofy grins and cute poses have become a cornerstone of my solo show (comic attitude that I know is gonna limit me in the future). Is sex appeal a viable marketing tool in the variety performers world?
Iíve also noticed that every single event organizer that has called me about booking shows has been a woman.

What do you guys think? I personally donít like the fact it helps me so much, it feels like cheating; but if itís gonna help me make the big $ I am willing to cheat.
Regardless of what you think I do have to get some pics to please that commercial/modeling agent back in LA.
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Old 12-31-02, 11:41 AM   #14
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Always
Liked
A
Killer
Audience
Zany
About
Me

Zany for whatever reason, be it physical attraction or skill. When you break it down into the specific reasons that people like you it always seems superficial but I like to believe that once I have gotten and kept there attention using whatever means it is a relationship between two people that makes them enjoy the show... and pay.

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Old 12-31-02, 01:34 PM   #15
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If you try to play the cute-- you will lose it. The 'cuteness' is peripheral, and if it's real will come through anyway.

If you are talking about pics for you personally, fine, go ahead and be cute.

If you are talking about promo pics-- then they should be representative of WHAT YOU ARE SELLING. Are you selling cute?

Do you want the person who see's your pics to say "he's cute!" or "This looks like the kind of show I'd pay $X,XXX for."


etienne
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Old 12-31-02, 02:57 PM   #16
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Good call Etienne.
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Old 01-02-03, 02:17 AM   #17
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The adorability worked for joey from New Kids.
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Old 01-02-03, 10:09 AM   #18
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Yeah, it worked on GUYS.


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Old 01-07-03, 01:41 AM   #19
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the beginings of my web page are up. As of yet it still has allmost nothing to do with my show, but the desighn is kind of cool. My friend jim helped me with it.
www.globalevan.com

ok, none of the links work cuz I don't have a real host yet, so don't bother telling me about it

[ 01-07-2003: Message edited by: Evan Young ]</p>
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Old 01-20-03, 11:37 PM   #20
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Here we go. My first attempt at promo pics. Three rolls of film and I got six pics I kind of like. I scaned them into two jpg files which are huge, sorry. The scans aren't real great quality, I don't know why they suck so much, and scaning them was a big pain in the ass. I can't wait until I can afford a mac.
http://www.angelfire.com/comics/globalevan/evanset1.jpg
http://www.angelfire.com/comics/globalevan/evanset2.jpg
if you have any feedback. I'm getting another hair cut tomorrow, and we are gonna shoot another roll or two next week. I'm also gonna have a couple other photographers do a shoot.
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