We are honored to say that this will be our 5th year hosting the Florida Pole Fitness Championships. With the constantly increasing number of potential competitors, and limited amount of event time, it is often necessary to have an initial entry round or qualification process, which for the sake of logistics and cost; is often done via video.
So how does one stand out from the crowd of applicants? How do you shoot a successful entry video that leaves the judges amazed?
After judging many entry videos over the years, we have decided to share a list of helpful tips and do’s and don’ts to creating a successful video entry for the FPFC.
READ THE RULES
Although this may sound simple, we have seen many videos making avoidable mistakes by not following the rules for online entry. There are required compulsory moves for each specific division, as well as some prohibited movement (i.e. Semi-Pro must maintain 3 points of contact in all aerial inverts), that will disqualify applicants if they are performed/not performed. Be sure the title of your video meets the requirements for the division you are submitting, so the judges know who you are and what you’re applying for. Each competition is different so take the time to have a good read through the rules/requirements and check that it is the right competition for you and that you can fulfil all the requirements.
PLAN IT OUT
Consider all the things that will make your video perfect – GOOD lighting (the judges need to see ALL of you!), STEADY camera (use a tripod with a wide angle lens that shows the scene entirely and you don’t move out of frame), CLEAR music (this can be overlaid in the video to ensure quality sound and the judges can see your musicality), HIGH quality video (HD is best!), CHOREOGRAPHY including compulsory moves and judging elements – stage presence, good technique, artistry, musicality, flexibility, strength, stamina, etc.
Your video should be free of distractions (people or things moving around in the background, noises not associated with music – heavy breathing from videographer, people talking, etc.) so that the judges can just focus solely on you and your performance.
MAKE SURE YOUR CAMERA HAS ENOUGH MEMORY TO RECORD AND BATTERY POWER.
Music has a huge impact on how a performance is received. Be sure to pick a song that really MOVES you, and one that has highs and lows, instead of a monotonous song. Interesting music makes for more interesting routines, and more opportunities for musicality, story telling, and interpretation. You can find a lot of interesting and new music from places online like Spotify, iTunes Radio, Pandora, iHeartRadio, YouTube, etc. If you are wanting to cut and edit your own track, there is some great free music editing software out there, such as Audacity which is great for cropping songs: http://audacity.sourceforge.net Take the time to cut or fade your song out – it will help your video look more professional and put together.
PRACTICE YOUR ROUTINE
Practice your routine a lot before you get ready to film. You want the movement to practically be second nature when you perform, so the more your practice, the more your muscle memory will develop with it. The first few times you film your routine you might feel a bit strange – performing without an audience can feel empty and make it hard to be engaging. Try placing the camera in front of your mirrors or ask some fellow pole friends to sit behind the camera.
If you make a visible mistake within the first 30 seconds, START OVER AND FILM IT UNTIL IT’S RIGHT. Judges will forgive a mistake made towards the end of a routine more than in the very beginning. Online rounds provide the ability to keep filming until you have a good run through. As much as possible, try to engage the camera like the judges are sitting there. Make eye contact with it and check your angles so it captures your best view.
Another great way to stand out to the judges and earn easy points for artistry and interpretation, is to wear a costume for your submission video. Go big, go sparkly and avoid plain ‘workout’ type gear as it makes it look like a practice run through not a show. You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money or be a crazily ‘crafty’ person, just showing you’ve put thought into your presentation can go a long way.
Try to create a theme and match the look to your song choice and feel of your routine. Ebay is a classic for bargain finds, materials and hot fix crystals.
Don’t wait until the last minute to film and submit your application and video. The due date should not ideally be filming date as this can cause you to feel very pressured, stressed and you might run out of time or let’s face it – your body strength and skin! The video due date will creep up on you sooner than you think. Creating a timeline can help you plot your course of action. This will be different for everybody, but setting some clear goals will help you stay motivated and on track.
Give yourself a certain amount of time for choosing your combinations, polishing off new tricks and deciding on a theme and selecting your music. There needs to be a cut off point when any combos or tricks that you cannot perform cleanly or efficiently, get removed from the list. There is no point in putting in a trick for the sake of it – especially one that could bring the quality of your performance down, regardless of how advanced it is. Plus you could save it for the finals and blow everyones socks off!
Be sure to make time for your choreography and rehearsals – you will need to allow plenty of time for your creative juices to get flowing. Free styling to your song is a great place to start, and to see if you really like the music your picked. Film yourself trying things out to see how they look to the audience – you can often capture some great moments that you didn’t even know you had done.
You also need to make time to edit and post your video. 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 cuts. We need to know that you can pull off an entire performance in one go. You don’t have to be a tech whiz to have access to the kind of ‘editing’ that is required. Most mobile phones will let you cut, chop and basic edit a video, as well as some pretty nifty apps. Clean up the edges and check your sound, lighting, framing and video length before you submit.
As soon you hit play – your performance has begun.
Remember to to check the correct privacy setting when uploading to YouTube – best one to use is the ‘Unlisted’ option as only those who you send the link to can view it – in this case the judges. You can always go back and change these settings later. The video can not be listed as Private or the judges won’t be able to access your video.
The great thing about online video rounds is that there is nothing to lose! It’s just you and a camera, you can re-shoot until you’re happy and if you choose, only you and the selected judges will ever see it. The FPFC offers feedback regardless of whether you got through or not, which will help you work on the areas you need to improve.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get through this time. Sometimes just the process of preparing your video is a great push forward for your training and you’ll always have a video of your accomplishment – even if it’s to see how much you’ve improved!
I encourage anyone to get involved with pole competitions – They are a fantastic way for the community to come together, support each other and to showcase the extraordinary talent that pole creates. It’s scary to submit a video but remember – the judges are looking for the good in your videos and want you to succeed! You can make it easier for them to see what you’re capable of by submitting high-quality entries. Respect the process and plan your submission well, and with some of luck you’ll be seeing your name on the finalists list!