Using Video to Promote your Show

businessyRebecca is a contributing columnist and founder of Rebecca Coleman Marketing and Media Relations, a Vancouver PR company. She blogs at artofthebiz.com and twitters under @rebeccacoleman.

Over the last few months, I’ve been doing guest posts on the topic of visuals to accompany your publicity campaign. We talked about the two photo shoots you need for your show, the publicity shot, and the production photo.

Today, I want to talk about moving pictures. While it’s true that theatre does not translate well on video, many companies are taking advantage of new, and more accessable technology to help get the word out about their shows.

If you haven’t taken advantage of Simon’s video listing services yet, you should. It’s free, easy, and fast. He will meet with you, and then he shoots you, speaking directly to camera, about why the  audience should come see your show. Within the day, it’s up on The Next Stage Video Listings page, and available to you through YouTube. You can embed it to your Facebook event page. This kind of video works because people are very passionate about their shows, and your passion while speaking about it can be very contagious.

If you want to try to get your play featured on the evening news, you need b-roll. B-roll is, essentially, footage of your show that you supply to TV news stations, in hopes that they will do a story on it. Because the quality of your footage needs to be high, this is not something you can just do yourself, unless you are a professional cameraman or director. You need to hire a professional.

The key to B-roll is to keep it short–I recommend under 3 minutes. Chances are, if you are lucky enough to actually get your footage on the air, only about 10-30 seconds will air. You may want to supplement your footage with short interview segments by directors or stars.

Here are some examples of how you can use video to promote your show:

Bard on the Beach
Stuff 2 Do
The Ash Girl
(this is a show I worked on last year–we shot a couple of video trailers for it)
If you are doing a lot of videos online, you can set up your own ‘channel’. Check out this example from the National Arts Centre.


Hey Vancouver Fringe performers! Throw us your best pitch!

Selling your show at the Fringe is tough. It’s a buyer’s market, and the competition is relentless. And the little blurb and photo in the Fringe guide…how much can it possibly communicate about your play? If only you could connect with your potential audience directly, just grab their attention for one minute to tell them how wrong, how utterly crazy it would be for them to miss this chance to see your work.

We’d like to give you that chance.

(Note the new location for out of town pitches below)

If you’re a local Vancouver Fringe company, show up next Tuesday, August 26 to the Carousel Theatre on Granville Island (1411 Cartwright St., just past the G.I. Brewery) anytime between 1 and 4 pm. If you’re an out of town company, show up the following Tuesday, September 2, at the Fringe Volunteer Centre: 1620 Durenleau St., Granville Island. Have a general idea of what you consider the essential selling point – the elevator pitch, if you will – of your production to be. Don’t worry about a lot of slick prep for this, nobody wants to feel like they’re watching an infomercial on their computer, and it’s just too easy to click away. What we want to see is the wonderful charm of you shining through, and the passion for your piece that’s going to compel us to make time for it, come hell or high water.

You’ll have one minute max of tape time, so really distill your wonderfulness down to its core greatness. Each shoot (with retakes, if necessary) usually takes about 5 minutes altogether. Click right here for scads of examples of what you’re aiming for.

All of your production deets will be included as copy in your dedicated ad, so please don’t worry about throwing in times, locations etc. Just tell us why you rock.

Vancouver companies can stop by anytime between 1-4 this Tuesday the 26th, and the out-of-town companies are welcome the following Tuesday, September 2. We will shoot on a first come, first serve basis, so there may be some short wait times if everyone shows up at once.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me at vanstage(at)gmail(dot)com. We’re looking forward to your pitch!

New Feature Alert – Video Listings Now Available

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Marketing a play? Looking for some exposure? The Next Stage is pleased to offer a new section of video listings, free for a limited time to Victoria independent theatre companies. Features of your listing include: all your production and contact information, a brief write-up or synopsis of the play itself, embedded links to your company site or blog, and a 30-60 second video clip of a company member of your choice telling us, the citizens of Vancouver, just exactly why we need to come out and see your play.

These clips are not “trailers” for your play, they are your chance to publicize the ‘elevator pitch’, or essential selling point of your production. The style of your pitch is entirely up to you, and the more creative and engaging the better. Each clip is shot and edited by us at The Next Stage, and will be available on YouTube for use on your own site.

This service is being offered free of charge, so click here to see what we’re talking about, and then contact us at vanstage(at)gmail(dot)com to arrange for your very own video listings shoot.