Forums > Help! > Making and submitting audition tapes

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Whiffle Squeekaddict
416 posts
Location: Hartford, CT USA

So, Im going to have a lot of free time this summer and Im going to need a lot of money for the coming school year...

I was planning on sending tapes and letters to various clubs in the area asking if they need a performer (either fire or glo)

So my question to everyone here is, is this even a feasible idea?

will it be worth the money and time of sending the tapes and letters?

do clubs hire like that?

if they do, what should be the length of the tape?

should i send a cd/dvd rather than a vhs?

anyting important to include in the letters?

jeez, thats a lot of questions, but i want to do this right

any help is greatly appreciated...

(also, if the mods think this topic is better suited somewhere else, feel free to move it)

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

onewheeldaveGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,252 posts
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Written by: Whiffle Squeek

anyting important to include in the letters?

Your fire insurance details.

"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Gnarly CraniumSILVER Member
186 posts
Location: San Francisco, USA

I'm more familiar with the format of artistic demo tapes, and I have no idea how clubs usually hire people... but I'm sure a lot of the same rules apply.

Make it vhs, since hardly anybody wants to bother with dvds just yet and cds have all sorts of compatibility issues.

Be sure the contact information is written on the vhs tape, and displayed in the tape too, and on whatever letter goes with the tape, so they don't have to look far to find out how to get ahold of you.

Keep it down to like 5 minutes. For an artist applying to places that get a lot of tapes, 3-5 is the ideal length-- but you could probably get by with something a bit longer, though people still have short attention spans.

Make sure any information in the tape is very clearly displayed-- text is more reliable than voiceover, since sometimes the viewer may not bother with sound.

If there's a starting logo sequence, keep it down to about 10 seconds. Leave your contact info and stuff up for about the same length of time (at the beginning -and- the end) and don't push it much past that or the audience will start to wonder if the tape is gonna go anywhere.

Don't use music that's been played to death (that propellorheads song that was in the Matrix, Massive Attack's Angel, etc)

Make sure every shot counts. Include only the best stuff you can. Keep the mediocre filler stuff out. BUT... from the poi stuff I've seen, I think a couple longish shots of some well-executed moves could be much more effective than some kind of high-speed sequence of fragmented individual shots, which may be cool by itself but really tells nobody how good you actually are.

Start with the best stuff, then have one last almost as best thing at the end. Possibly list with text on the video as it goes along the different things you're capable of doing (fire, glow, etc)

It would probably be good to have some shots of yourself performing at a few different locations, with text to indicate it in the tape, and a list at the end (and in the letter) that serves as a sort of resume of places you've been.

If you're serious about it, it would be worthwhile to find someone to edit/produce and/or even film the thing and possibly design you some slick logos/intros and whatnot. If you can find a starving freelancer the price will be pretty reasonable (heck if you lived in my town, I know some guys who could do it), don't bother with bigger firms that are used to heavy duty advertising and documentaries, as that would be more expensive. A professional polish to a demo, even though it has nothing to do with your actual skill, goes a long, long way.

"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

Whiffle Squeekaddict
416 posts
Location: Hartford, CT USA

thanks a lot for that gnarly, thats exactly the type of info i was looking for, i hadnt even thought to put contact info in the video...

as for the production i have acess to pretty decent editing and producing equipment at school, so i was going to do that myself...

thanks again

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

PeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

And..let's see....I have been performing for years and now I work booking entertainment so I am going to give it to you straight and honest.

Have you performed before?
Do you know how to work an audience and do more than spinning moves? How do you do that?
What are you going to do for my club? How will us shelling out money to you make us more money?

(If you can not answer this for me, or answer no, right off the bat, I would not hire you).

In addition to a video, there will need to be some professional promo shots for potential advertising (after all if I am paying for you, I would want to advertise to draw more people in)
Resume of performances
References (preferably of promoters/producers)
General Liability Performance Insurance Info (Fire or not fire, you need it)
A formal write up of what your services will do for the club.

Then, speaking as another performer, for the interview you will need to do market research to see how much other area performers make and offer a compatible price so that you are not left undercutting others in the area and pissing people off.

It takes alot to be a performer, even in a club, and a video of you spinning will only get interest for a possible interview. BTW, the video should be of at least two performances, no more than 10 minutes long, and include audience reaction shots.

Do not focus on moves because it means little to these people. They want to pay people who will entertain, not just spin, and half the time they don't want to pay. They are in it to make money, not spend money unless they will be garunteed a return.

Don't put alot of text on the tape. When someone goes to review your material, they don't want to play a tape to see it everytime. Locations don't need to be listed unless it is on the performance resume (and make it legitimate).

If you intend to do fire, you will also need to come up with a burn plan and get in with the fire marshal (who, in many areas, btw will need to be paid anywhere from $50/hr on up during the length of the performance), and keep in mind that you will also need to pay your safety, if fire is allowed in the club at all.

And all of that needs to be covered in a contract so you don't get screwed.

I know a few professional performers in Conneticut, several of which do more than poi and fire, who have been trying to make a good buck in clubs for years and they have not been able to do it exclusively. They mostly work special events for clubs (like many of us) and then work other venues. Most also still hold down day jobs. The U.S., especially in the North East, has some extreme laws when it comes to indoor fire. And if you need *alot* of money for school next year, this is not the way to do it.

I don't mean to be a killjoy, but since I have been peforming for years and the phrase "alot of money" came up (that made me laugh) you are going to need more than spinning glo or fire in clubs for that.

Whatever you choose to do, best of luck to you and do it safely and professionally.

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

Whiffle Squeekaddict
416 posts
Location: Hartford, CT USA

Thank you Pele, and i dont consider you a killjoy, i asked straight out if this was feasible and i appreciate the straightforwardness

I have performed before, mostly for local events free of charge, and only once ever for pay

i like to think that i know how to work a crowd, and i never focus on moves when im performing for an audience, only when im spinning with spinning friends

ive watched a lot of videos of myself and stay away from moves that are too difficult with no added visual effect

i fully understand the difficulties involved with spinning fire at places like these, especially in light of the horrific incident at the Station a few years ago. I was well connected with the fire marshall and fire stations at my home town, and planned on using them as references, in addition to the people who have produced the shows ive performed at

as about my money, this wouldn't be my main source of income,
im doing full time research at my college over the summer in hartford, and my nights will always be free, so i was merely looking for additional income, not a way to pay my food bills...

i hope i didnt offend by making it seem like this was going to be a frivolous effort for me. i posted this thread with the intent of learning from a community with members who have based their lives around this, and would never have gone further without picking a few minds from HoP smile

so thank you again, its much appreciated

Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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