Video Entries for Pole Competitions

So you've finally worked up the courage to enter a big competition. You've got your routine choreographed, you've chosen your music, and now you're ready to film it. It's your one shot to make an impression on the judges, to show them that you have what it takes to dance up there on the big stage... You know you can do it.

So how do you put your application forward in the best possible light, to convince the judges that you can?

I have judged a LOT of Pole Theatre videos over the past three years and I'm always surprised at the number of avoidable mistakes people make when submitting their videos. First impressions count, and these little errors are annoying distractions that can make you seem less polished and professional, which is not what you want.

Here's the thing: judges WANT you to succeed. We want to watch your video, and see a well-presented entry that has clearly had a lot of thought put into the planning and execution. We don't want to have to struggle to see what's happening, and to try to understand what's going on in the video. We want you to put forward the best representation of what you can do, so that we can reward you if you are among the best.

All of this might seem obvious. But I have seen the same mistakes made over and over again that I'm starting to think it might not be so obvious - and so I thought I'd put together a little blog on how to create a good video entry.

Some Do's

- DO take the time to plan your submission. Think about the lighting in the studio, your costume, your hair - all the things that go into making a video stand out. You might be filming in an empty studio, but the judges want to see you perform - so try to dance like you are performing, not rehearsing.

- DO film in HD if you can. Make your video memorable for the right reasons!

- DO make sure your music is loud enough so that we can hear it in the video

- DO read the criteria - make sure you are submitting in the correct category and have fulfilled all the requirements.

- If you are entering Pole Comedy, don't submit a video of a performance you did about heartbreak and loss. We need to see that you're capable of being funny!

- If you're submitting for Pole Classique, wear heels and remove an item of clothing - BUT

Some Don'ts

Here are some actual, real examples of things that have happened in videos I've watched as submissions for Pole Theatre competitions. I promise I'm not making it up. If you recognise your entry described in this, don't worry, your secret is safe with me - I won't name names!

- DON'T have someone sweeping or vacuuming the studio in the background while you perform your routine (unless of course it's a part of your show!)

- DON'T ask a heavy-breather to record your submission. Hearing someone breathing into the video camera is incredibly distracting (and a little creepy)

- DON'T have children screaming or babies crying in the background. I once watched an entry that was a video of a pole dancer performing at a studio party. A lady in the audience had a baby in her arms, and the baby started crying halfway through. It was so distracting!

- DON'T ask someone to film who isn't capable of filming your entire body at once. I've seen so many heads/feet/arms chopped off in videos. Similarly, DON'T set your camera up on the floor to film you and then move out of view - how can we judge your performance if we can only see part of you?

- DON'T submit videos that have been edited and spliced together. It should all be one continuous take. Likewise, don't have your video end suddenly - it makes us suspicious as to what is happening in between edits. We need to know that you can pull off an entire performance in one go.

- DON'T keep going if you make a mistake in the first 30 seconds! Re-record it. Judges will be a lot more understanding about a mistake made towards the end of a video than one made right at the start.

- DON'T submit a video with poor lighting, or that is poor quality. We need to be able to see you.

- DON'T submit a video of a group show with five people in it and say "I'm the one in the red top." You can't expect the judges to identify you in a crowd, and if you haven't taken the time to film a submission then it shows that you aren't really taking the process very seriously.

Good luck with your creating your video entry!

Michelle Shimmy xx


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